The University must foster and protect an environment of openness and academic freedom to sustain and strengthen its research and higher education mission. Avenues of inquiry should be unlimited, participation in research and the academic community unrestricted, and dissemination of knowledge unfettered.
As policy, the University will not undertake research with restrictions on openness or academic freedom on its campus. Examples of unacceptable restrictions include classification, required external approval of research results before publication, or exclusion of members of the University’s community from participation in research. In particular, foreign faculty, students, or scholars should not be singled out for restriction in access to University’s educational and research activities. Most research can be conducted in accord with this policy and the ideals of freedom of inquiry and open exchange of knowledge.
The Vice Chancellor for Research may grant exceptions to this policy to the extent such exceptions are consistent with applicable laws and UW-System and Board of Regents’ policies. Exceptions will be rare and may be granted only where the research is critically important to the University’s mission and serves a demonstrable greater good or where the impact on open research is limited. For example, exceptions may include, but are not limited to, accepting export controlled information if it is tangential to the intellectually significant portions of the research and extending the length of time for publication review. If these conditions are not met, the University will decline or discontinue the research or, if an acceptable off-campus affiliate is available to conduct such research, consider whether a collaboration arrangement between the University or its researchers and the affiliate is appropriate.
Theses, whether undertaken by graduate or undergraduate students, are an integral part of the research program of the University and fall under this policy. No student may undertake a thesis project that, at its inception or at any point during its conduct, requires restrictions on openness or academic freedom, unless the Vice Chancellor for Research, who is also the Dean of the Graduate School, grants an exception to this policy.
Approved by the Research Policy Committee, May 2, 2008