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HHMI believes that integrity, responsibility, and accountability are essential to the search for truth that lies at the heart of the scientific enterprise.

The Institute’s policies governing research by its scientists establish high standards for scientific and ethical conduct. The policies also are intended to ensure that our research furthers the public good and thus set forth guidelines for making research materials, tools, and publications widely accessible within the scientific community and beyond. 

Research Policies

HHMI's scientific research is governed by policies that address the conduct of research, the sharing of data and materials, collaborations, and intellectual property.

The Conduct of Science

Guidelines for Scientific Research
These guidelines describe general standards for conduct in research and scholarship. They are intended to establish a common understanding of expectations and responsibilities relating to research in HHMI's laboratories, thereby promoting the quality and integrity of the work and interactions in the laboratories and helping to prevent scientific misconduct.

Scientific Misconduct
As an organization dedicated to biomedical research in the public interest, HHMI expects that its scientists will conduct research and engage in related academic activities in accordance with the highest scientific and ethical standards. HHMI’s commitment to these standards embraces the belief that integrity, responsibility, and accountability are part of the fabric of science. Scientific research is, ultimately, a cooperative endeavor based on the central principle of truth.

Sharing Research Tools, Data, Software, and Other Materials

Sharing Published Materials/Responsibilities of HHMI Authors
This policy establishes HHMI’s expectations that all HHMI laboratory heads, whether based at host institutions or at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus, will include in their publications sufficient information about their experimental methods and procedures, and make available data, software, and tangible research materials, to enable other scientists to reproduce and extend the results of all publications on which the HHMI laboratory head is an author.

Research Tools
HHMI recognizes the importance of making research tools, also called research resources, available to the scientific community. For this reason, HHMI supports the National Institutes of Health guidelines on research resources and will adhere to the following policy with respect to unique research resources arising in HHMI laboratories (“HHMI research tools”). This policy applies to HHMI laboratories at host institutions (“host-based laboratories”) and to laboratories at HHMI's Janelia Research Campus (“Janelia”).

Public Access Publishing
This policy establishes HHMI's expectations relating to public accessibility of publications resulting from research in HHMI laboratories. This policy applies to all HHMI laboratory heads (i.e., investigators and, at Janelia Research Campus, group leaders and fellows).

Materials Transfers
The sharing of biological and other research materials among laboratories is an essential aspect of scientific citizenship. In that spirit, HHMI expects its laboratory heads, and all members of the academic research community, to make such materials freely available for research use by other scientists and to handle related requests expeditiously.

Research Collaborations

Research Collaborations
HHMI recognizes the importance of scientific collaborations between its laboratories and other scientists and strongly encourages such collaborations as an essential part of scientific research.

Funding from Companies

Company Funding Arrangements—Host-Based Sites
HHMI’s host institutions may accept funding from companies to support research in the laboratories of HHMI investigators under the circumstances described in this policy.

Confidentiality Agreements

Confidential Disclosure Agreements
A confidential disclosure agreement (CDA) is an agreement in which one or both parties agree to maintain certain information in confidence and use it only for specified purposes. CDAs may also be called nondisclosure agreements, secrecy agreements, or confidentiality agreements.


Consulting for Companies – General Policy (SC-500)
This policy provides general rules applicable to any service by HHMI laboratory heads as consultants to companies.

Company Talks, Conferences, and Seminars 

This policy applies to consulting that involves giving a talk to company employees or participating in a one- or two-day conference or seminar convened by a company.

Consulting for and Equity Ownership in Start-Up and other Private Companies
This policy describes the special rules applicable to consulting for, and equity ownership in, start-up and other private companies.

Service as a Member of a Company's Board of Directors
This policy applies to service by HHMI laboratory heads as members of a company's board of directors.

Consulting in Connection with Litigation  
This policy applies to consulting by HHMI laboratory heads in connection with litigation, such as service as an expert witness.

Service to Nonprofit Organizations and Government Agencies
This policy describes special rules for consulting arrangements between HHMI laboratory heads and nonprofit entities or government organizations.

Intellectual Property and Licensing

Intellectual Property
As a medical research organization, HHMI conducts scientific research in the public interest. HHMI has adopted this intellectual property policy to help ensure that inventions, discoveries, and other results of HHMI's research are made available for the benefit of the public, and that the associated financial costs and rewards are fairly allocated.

Licensing by Host Institutions to Companies
This policy applies to the licensing to companies of intellectual property developed in HHMI laboratories at host institutions. Under HHMI's collaborative arrangements with its host institutions, the host institution is responsible for efforts to commercialize intellectual property developed in HHMI laboratories at the site.

Human Subjects Research

Human Subjects Research
This policy applies to all HHMI investigators and all HHMI employees in their laboratories, who are engaged in, or are contemplating engaging in, human subjects research.

Other Policies for HHMI Investigators

The policies in this group apply to HHMI investigators only. The scientists at the Janelia Research Campus are not subject to these policies.

Investigator Administrative Service to Host and Salary Supplementation
This policy describes the circumstances under which an HHMI investigator can receive compensation for administrative services provided to his or her host institution.

Investigator Transfers
HHMI's expectation is that investigators will remain at the host institution at which they were initially appointed. However, any HHMI investigator who has completed a full initial term of employment with HHMI and has been reviewed and reappointed for a full renewal term is eligible to request a transfer of an HHMI appointment.

Research at Institutions Other Than the Host Institution
HHMI believes that an investigator's scientific program is generally aided by concentration of the investigator's research activities in a single location, where these activities can be better managed and are, as a consequence, more effective. Similarly, concentration in a single location benefits an investigator's non-research activities, including mentoring students and postdoctoral fellows as well as fulfilling responsibilities to the host institution. Accordingly, HHMI generally prefers that investigators conduct their research program at a single host institution.

Sabbatical Leave for Investigators

This policy applies to HHMI investigators at host-based sites who would like to take sabbatical leave from their host institution. It does not apply to group leaders at HHMI's Janelia Research Campus.

Non-Renewal of Investigator Appointments
Under HHMI's standard procedures, an investigator with an unsuccessful HHMI scientific review will have a phase-out period of approximately two years after that review before his or her HHMI appointment ends. The phase-out period is intended to allow investigators to achieve an orderly adjustment of laboratory operations to the scheduled cessation of HHMI research funding, including seeking new sources of research support.

Other Policies for Janelia Laboratories

Janelia Research Campus Policy on Acceptance of Grants and Awards
Researchers who are visiting Janelia and who have an affiliation with another research institution may have grant funding through their other institution, outside of the restrictions of this policy.