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December 11, 1991

                                    Minutes

                            COMMISSION ON RESEARCH

                               December 11, 1991

                                206 Sandy Hall

                                   3:30 p.m.

 

 

  MEMBERS PRESENT:  V.  Bonomo,  T. Brandon, C. Burger, J. Cowles, M. Denbow,

                    G. Hooper, P. Knox, R. Olin, E. Stout

 

  MEMBERS ABSENT:   E. Henneke, M. Lambur, J. Lee, R.   Lytton, R.  Rich,  P.

                    Scanlon, A. Swiger, V. Wall, J. Wightman, T. Wildman

 

  INVITED GUESTS:   T. Hurd, D. Shelton, J. Tank, S. Trulove, J. Viers

 

 

 

  1.  ANNOUNCEMENTS.    a.    Interdisciplinary Centers policy and procedures

      document has been approved by University Council.  It has been sent  to

      Deans,  Directors and Department Heads and as Presidential Policy Memo-

      randum Number 118.

      b.  The Intellectual Property Policy has passed University Council.  It

      will be distributed soon.

      c.  The Conflict of Interest procedures have had first reading at  Uni-

      versity Council.

      d.  Special Faculty Appointments.  Dr. Stout stated that the Commission

      on  Faculty  Affairs  has the document.  It should arrive at University

      Council early in the new year.

 

  2.  AGENDA.  Dr. Olin requested an addition to the agenda -  research  sup-

      port  to  principal  investigators.   Dr. Knox motioned approval of the

      agenda.  Dr. Cowles seconded.  Agenda was approved.

 

  3.  MINUTES OF OCTOBER 23, 1991.   Dr. Burger  motioned  approval  and  Dr.

      Cowles seconded.  Motion carried.

 

  4.  OWNERSHIP  OF DATA.   Dr. Stout provided an overview of the ad hoc com-

      mittee.  Dr. Knox is chair and Dr. Olin serves as well.  The Commission

      for Graduate Studies representative is Dr. S. Boyle.  Dr. Knox provided

      a draft to the Commission members.   Dr. Knox stated that  we  want  to

      have  something in the Faculty Handbook and the Policies and Procedures

      for the Graduate School that addresses this issue.  He stated that  the

      committee wanted to keep it as brief and to the point as possible.  Dr.

      Stout  stated that the operative policy is basically the first sentence

      in the draft which states that the university asserts its right to own-

      ership of data, materials, etc. developed by faculty,  staff  and  stu-

      dents.    Item numbers 1-8 are an elaboration on procedures for dealing

      with that principle.

 

      Dr. Denbow asked if a principal investigator who has been working on  a

      project leaves the university what happens to that data.  Dr. Stout re-

      sponded  that  they will need to seek permission from the university to

      take the research results.  Dr. Burger asked if there  were  ever  con-

      tracts  where  the  grantor  owns.   Dr. Stout responded that they were

      rare.  It is not generally a problem for Sponsored Programs.  Dr. Stout

      stated that if we have a written policy and the departing faculty  mem-

      ber  takes the material with them we have a reason to take action.  Dr.

      Knox stated that there should be some kind of a record and that perhaps

      the responsibility should be referred to departments.  Dr. Cowles asked

      if he were talking about laboratory notebooks.  Dr. Knox responded yes,

      including those.  Dr. Stout stated that in the life  sciences  part  of

      that  original data might include specimens.  The storage problem could

      become a significant issue.  Dr. Hooper asked if this would be  a  com-

      panion piece to the intellectual property policy - an extension but not

      synonymous.  Dr. Knox responded affirmatively.

 

      Dr.  Burger  asked for elaboration of #6 which is embargoing theses and

      dissertations up to one year in order to protect patent applications or

      for other legitimate reasons.  Dr. Stout responded that such  a  policy

      is  in  place  in the Graduate School now.  The word they use is secure

      instead  of embargo.  It is primarily for the student's protection.  It

      is done for a specified period of time, with the agreement of the  stu-

      dent, and then they are free to publish.

 

      Dr. Denbow stated he could not imagine a principal investigator leaving

      and  not  taking his data with him.  Dr. Stout stated that by agreement

      with the department head a decision can best be made about whether that

      person should be allowed to take the data and in what form.  Dr. Cowles

      stated that perhaps a form could be generated at the  department  level

      documenting  what  has  been  taken as part of their departure from the

      university.  The original data should be preserved in some  form  until

      all issues about publications are settled.

 

      Dr.  Cowles  asked  if someone who is working on a Ph.D.  has a falling

      out with their major professor and they plan to  leave  and  take  what

      they  did  with  them.    Is it addressed somewhere who owns that?  Dr.

      Stout responded that the university owns it.   Dr.  Burger  stated  the

      Ph.D. candidate would go to another person in the same department.  Dr.

      Stout  stated that he thought ownership is vested in the faculty member

      under whom the work was done.  Dr. Knox stated it is not  well  spelled

      out.   He stated that that was his allusion to ethics and the grievance

      procedure.  He stated that the means of resolution of various scenarios

      are covered but he did not feel that they covered each of  those  situ-

      ations diplomatically in such a way to deflect them from happening.

 

      Dr.  Denbow  asked  what happens if you are collaborating with someone,

      the other person is the principal investigator and they leave the  uni-

      versity  and  take all the data.  Dr. Stout responded that if we have a

      written policy we would have a reason to demand it be  returned.    Dr.

      Hooper stated we have done it before.

 

      Dr. Bonomo asked if he does research, leaves the university and doesn't

      own  the  data, is he precluded from publishing those results?  He said

      unless the university can preclude him from using the results  of  that

      data once he has left the university what does it mean that the univer-

      sity owns the data.  Dr. Stout stated he thought there were two issues.

      One  being  the  interpersonal  issues  talked about previously and the

      other one is the validity of the published work.  If there is  a  ques-

      tion  about  the  validity of the published work and the university has

      not maintained those records, the university would be  in  the  ethical

      position  of  having  either destroyed primary data or allowed it to be

      destroyed.  Dr. Knox stated that the situation Dr. Bonomo was  describ-

      ing  is  quite normal.  Dr. Knox said the normal practice is reasonable

      access.  He stated that the first case Dr. Bonomo asked about when  Co-

      Principal  Investigators  was not addressed.  Where contracts are drawn

      up with 2 or more principal investigators of equal stature  with  over-

      head going to both institutions.  Dr. Hooper stated that was the reason

      for  bringing  up the idea of this companion piece.  For example, under

      the intellectual property guidelines that now exist,  this  fundamental

      data  and  notebooks, etc. relate to intellectual properties.  But that

      policy says you can write a book, publish a scholarly paper  under  the

      policy.   But when the data is translated into the form of some commer-

      cial entity, then the data becomes sensitive in  another  way  and  the

      university  needs  to have the original notebooks somewhere.  Dr. Stout

      said that in a situation of truly joint work the university  could  as-

      sert  its  ownership  only  to that part of the study that was actually

      conducted with university resources.

 

      Dr. Brandon asked if 20 feet of computer  output  is  primary  research

      data or secondary.  Dr. Knox said he could not find concise enough lan-

      guage  to  describe all of the different things.  Dr. Knox stated there

      is not particular significance in the use of "primary".   He asked  Dr.

      Brandon  for  a suggestion.  Dr. Brandon responded by saying maybe data

      worth taking is what should be preserved.  Dr. Stout stated  that  with

      this  input the committee would bring back something for the Commission

      to act on sometime soon.

 

  5.  BUDGET.  Dr. Stout informed the membership that state agencies were re-

      quired to submit contingency plans on December 2 for a potential 3% re-

      duction  in general funds for this fiscal year and educational agencies

      were required to present plans for a 5% contingency plan for next  year

      and  other agencies between 6% and 9%.  For the Research Division 3% of

      this year's budget would be about $800,000 and 5% next  year  would  be

      about  $1.3M.  Dr. Stout stated he hopes to find that $800,000 required

      for the 3% reversion in cash.  Salary savings across the  Division  in-

      cluding  early retirements are projected at something in excess of $1M.

      This includes buy-outs, people on leave, all of the ways  you  generate

      salary savings.  Subtract out the early retirements and we have half in

      salary  savings.    The only other source of cash is the excess 30% ac-

      count.  We think we can do 3% this year without major  problems.    The

      Provost  said very early on in the discussions that for this year there

      won't be any layoffs and there won't be any furloughs.  Dr. Burger  and

      Dr.  Denbow  both  asked  what about next year.  Dr. Stout responded we

      don't know about next year.  The contingency plans that we sent forward

      were as general and non-specific with as much room to  maneuver  as  we

      could possibly be allowed.

 

  6.  RESEARCH SUPPORT TO PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS.  Dr. Olin relayed that Dr.

      A.  Snoke  in  Geology  was not happy with the Office of Sponsored Pro-

      grams.  He stated that because of a  change  of  policy  with  NSF,  he

      missed  or  was  not informed about an opportunity.  Dr. Olin stated he

      felt that every principal investigator in the Math Department has  said

      something not nice about OSP.  He stated he felt it was all a matter of

      perception  that the principal investigator views Sponsored Programs as

      an obstacle to deal with rather than someone to help them.  He said  he

      would like to see that perception changed.  Dr. Olin said he would like

      to  see  someone  in  Sponsored  Programs  send him a memo stating what

      needed to be done on his grant.  He stated that everyone  in  the  Math

      Department  complain about not being able to read the output from Spon-

      sored Programs.  They go to the department secretary to read  the  out-

      put.

 

      Dr.  Stout  responded  that he recognized three different problems.  In

      the case of Dr. Snoke, someone at Memphis  State  that  the  geologists

      know  called  up and said that he saw the Virginia Tech Seismology Net-

      work referenced in the Federal Register.  Dr. Snoke thought that  some-

      one  in  the  Research Division everyday meticulously reads the Federal

      Register and the Commerce Business Daily and informs  everyone  of  the

      opportunities.    We  never  have and probably never will do that.  The

      second one about notifying PI's as to when reports are due, we are  now

      and  have  been  for some time in the award letter from Jean VanKrey to

      the principal investigator pointing out due dates for all reports.   We

      have talked at various times about trying to get those dates put on the

      FRS  printout  somewhere.    We are still exploring that.   In terms of

      reading the FRS printouts, it is the Controller's Office program.   Mr.

      Hurd  stated that he would like to respond in defense of Sponsored Pro-

      grams.  The first thing we do when we get a new award in is  sit  down,

      go  through  the award and write a letter to the principal investigator

      telling the principal investigator the types of things they should look

      for.  It is not a Sponsored Programs requirement - it is a  requirement

      of  the granting agency.  We have to abide by certain guidelines in re-

      sponse to the granting agencies.  We try to tell you  these  things  up

      front.    We do not have the manpower to call up the principal investi-

      gators and tell them they have so many days to get a  report  in.    He

      stated  that he had talked with Dwight Shelton about the possibility of

      entering into the FRS system the dates that technical reports are  due.

      There are other things with the accounting system that we feel are more

      important  right now.   In terms of reading the report, anyone in Spon-

      sored Programs would be happy to sit down with the  principal  investi-

      gator  and walk them through the report.  Mr. Shelton asked if Dr. Olin

      just wanted to be able to access the information  or  if  he  wanted  a

      phone  call.    Dr. Olin agreed it would be a step forward in the right

      direction to have an ability to access the dates.    Mr.  Shelton  said

      that might be a possibility.

 

      Dr. Knox stated that Sponsored Programs can't be expected to do it all.

      Professors  need to be made aware of their responsibility.  If there is

      a need for that type of support, he suggested that  perhaps  it  should

      come  from associate deans in the colleges.  He said that he would pre-

      fer to see Sponsored Programs carry on what they do and do it better in

      terms of how people get money.  He stated that he agreed with the  idea

      of  the  difficulty of reading the reports.  Mr. Shelton asked if there

      was too much data, not enough data, not being able to understand what a

      specific number means, confusing, etc.  Dr. Burger stated it was set up

      for accountants and not for users.  Mr. Shelton said that is right.  At

      some point in time we are supposed to have a report  out  to  translate

      that  out  into something others can interpret.  Dr. Burger stated that

      she agreed with Dr. Knox 100%.  She stated Sponsored Programs has  tons

      of  other  things to do, and she did not feel they had the resources to

      tell each individual principal investigator when something is due.  She

      felt that that was part of the principal investigators grant.  Dr. Olin

      said that there are some Biology professors who have the  same  opinion

      that  in terms of the amount of overhead that they see being taken from

      their grant that they really don't see a lot of  return  for  it  other

      than  it helps the university.  Dr. Stout said we are looking for ideas

      here, but in terms of the value they are getting in terms of the  over-

      head generated they are getting total financial services.

 

      Dr. Hooper stated that he finds it reassuring and helpful that the fac-

      ulty  continue to come to us.  The overhead question and the perception

      is perpetual, but it is good for us to have it repeated and reminded to

      look at every single thing we do.  So we find it helpful to be reminded

      that these things are being perceived in certain ways.  Dr. Olin stated

      that you would make a lot of principal investigators happy  to  provide

      more  service.   Mr. Shelton stated that he may bring something back in

      January for the membership to look at.   He said  he  was  afraid  that

      there  may be some principal investigators who may be upset if he takes

      something away from the system.  Dr. Hooper said to Mr. Shelton that he

      might reach out to a select group of  principal  investigators  to  get

      them together to help him with it.  Mr. Shelton stated that he wanted a

      representative group of people.

 

  7.  ADJOURNMENT.  Meeting adjourned at 5:00PM.

 

 

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