Fundamental Research Definitions Compared

Topic EAR (§734.8, 734.11) ITAR (§120.11(a)(8))
Core Principles “…it remains the type of research, and particularly the intent and freedom to publish, that identifies 'fundamental research…'”
  • US only
  • Universities/colleges only
  • Status before publication ambiguous
Type of Research Basic and applied research in science and engineering.

Not proprietary research or industrial development, design, production, or product utilization
Basic and applied research in science and engineering
Intent to Publish The resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community The resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community
Freedom to Publish Not restricted for proprietary reasons or specific national security reasons Not restricted for proprietary reasons or specific national security reasons
Specific Guidance    
Universities

Research conducted by scientists, engineers, or students at an accredited institution of higher learning in the U.S. normally will be considered fundamental.

No restrictions on publication of scientific and technical information resulting from the project activity, except:

  • Prepublication review to protect proprietary information
  • Brief prepublication review to protect patent rights

For research funded by the U.S.Government, there must be no specific national security controls:

  • Prepublication review with approval
  • Restrictions on pre-publication dissemination
  • Restrictions on participation by non-U.S. citizens or others
Accredited institutions of higher learning in the U.S.

For research funded by the U.S.Government, there must be no specific access and dissemination controls applicable
Federally Funded R&D Center Research may be designated as fundamental within an appropriate system == not applicable ==
Lincoln Laboratory, national labs, SLAC, JPL) or Federal Agency Devised by the FFRDC or agency. --
Corporate Similar to Universities (above), except:
Research conducted by scientists or engineers working for a business entity will be considered fundamental at such time and to the extent that the researchers are free to make scientific and technical information resulting from the research publicly available without restriction or delay based on proprietary concerns or specific national security controls.
== not applicable ==
Exception Encryption software classified under ECCN 5D002 remains subject to EAR export controls, except "publicly available encryption object code software classified under ECCN 5D002 when the corresponding source code meets the criteria specified in § 740.13(e) of the EAR...[for] License Exception TSU." == not applicable ==

The Department of Energy’s Assistance to Foreign Atomic Energy Activities (10 CFR Part 810) regulations don’t explicitly refer to fundamental research, but based on previous interpretations provided by DoE, they interpret fundamental research in line with the EAR’s core principle, focusing on intent and freedom to publish, with the additional guidance that full publication is expected (partial publication with some results withheld would not qualify).