To enable universities to freely engage in research and allow foreign researchers to participate in basic research without requiring licenses, the federal government has identified the "fundamental research exclusion."
The exclusion applies to all research information that could be publicly disseminated; unclassified research. If an institution or researcher has accepted restrictions on publication of results other than ordinary pre-publication review, the research is no longer considered fundamental and might require a license for export. It is the policy of the University of California to not accept any restrictions on publication or access to the research. The fundamental research exclusion does not apply to items or materials intended for shipment or transfer internationally, including chemical and biological items and materials.
Information is 'published" (and therefore not subject to export controls) when it becomes accessible to the interested public in any form, including:
- Publication in periodicals, books, print, electronic, or other media available for general distribution (including websites that provide free uncontrolled access) or to a community of persons interested in the subject matter, such as those in a scientific or engineering discipline, either free or at a price that does not exceed the cost of reproduction and distribution;
- Readily available at libraries open to the public or university libraries;
- Patents and published patent applications available at any patent office;
- Release at an open conference, meeting, seminar, trade show, or other open gathering held in the U.S. (ITAR) or anywhere (EAR). Note, a conference or gathering is "open" if all technically qualified members of the public are eligible to attend and attendees are permitted to take notes or otherwise make a personal record of the proceedings and presentations. A conference is considered open notwithstanding a registration fee reasonably related to cost, and there may be a limit on actual attendance as long as the selection is either 'first come' or selection based on relevant scientific or technical competence.