University hosts are encouraged to communicate personal conduct and research integrity expectations clearly to the Academic Visitor upon the Visitor's arrival, and to manage Visitor activities and expectations actively through open communication and regular feedback. As this occurs, University hosts also should be sensitive to interpersonal and intercultural differences that may lead to misperceptions. In rare cases, the Visitor may exhibit behavior that could indicate inappropriate or illegal activities, such as violating clear University IT or physical security protocols or misusing protected or unpublished research data.
Federal Government Expectations and Visitor Management
Academic Visitors may participate in government-funded research and training projects in most cases without prior approval from the funding agency. While federal government agencies encourage these exchanges, these agencies also expect that U.S. academic institutions will manage and protect the intellectual property (IP) created via these projects, particularly if the IP is considered valuable to U.S. national interests. These expectations are now more pronounced due to an increasing number of research integrity violations caused by undisclosed foreign engagements and unapproved transfers of data, technology, and materials to foreign countries. The University of Pittsburgh created the Managing International Research and Engagement website to address these concerns.
In the spirit of the University’s Guidance on Research Data Management (PDF), University hosts are, at their discretion, permitted to share unpublished research data with Academic Visitors. Hosts should understand their obligation to manage and appropriately safeguard a Visitor’s use of such data under the Visitor’s approved scope of work, and be aware of federal agency disclosure obligations when Visitors participate in federally funded projects. Greater care and security should be afforded to data and technology that is seen as more valuable, and in some cases, “irreplaceable.”
Some Academic Visitor students who are supported through scholarship programs in their home countries are obligated to report back through these scholarship programs on their progress at regular intervals. These reports may include unpublished data from a federally funded project. The University of Pittsburgh host should establish a process whereby the host reviews and approves the release of any unpublished University-owned data within a required report.