USC Office of Compliance

Personnel and Publication Restrictions

The export control regulations do not apply to the results of “fundamental research” at universities and other institutions of higher learning.  Under the EAR and ITAR, fundamental research is defined to mean “basic and applied research” in science and engineering where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community.
However, research may not be considered to be “fundamental research” if the university or its researchers accept restrictions on publication of scientific and technical information resulting from the project or activity, or accept personnel restrictions on the basis of nationality.  If restrictions such as these are accepted, the research is covered by export controls regulations, and explicit authorization from the sponsor and federal government may be required before the results of the research are disclosed, or before foreign nationals are able to participate in the project.
There are certain scenarios where the university can accept limited restrictions on how research is conducted and disseminated:

  • The university is able to accept limited prepublication review requirements solely for the purpose of ensuring that proprietary information provided as “input” to enable the researcher to perform his or her research has not been inadvertently included in a publication, presentation, or other public disclosure.
  • The university is able to accept requirements to identify the nationality of project personnel, as long as the sponsor does not have the ability to approve personnel on the basis of nationality.

Even where the research qualifies as “fundamental research,” the export control regulations still may impose restrictions on equipment or software used in the course of the research.  For example, export licenses may be required to physically export such equipment or hardware to a foreign location, or to provide technical training or detailed technical data relating to such controlled hardware or software to a foreign person within the United States.  (See Overseas Shipments for additional detail on foreign shipments).
If you become aware that a sponsor intends to restrict personnel or publication on a research project, contact the Office of Compliance for assistance.