Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

September 15, 2016

Revised IP/copyright policy being readied

A proposed new intellectual property and copyright policy is expected to be ready for faculty review next month.

Jennifer E. Woodward, associate vice provost for research operations, told the University Senate research committee last week that an IP/copyright policy would be in the hands of the chancellor and provost this week.

“Unless they have an issue with it, we anticipate it going very soon then through the faculty review process,” she said, adding that it’s possible that the draft policy could be on the Senate research committee’s Oct. 7 agenda.

A provost’s committee headed by Vice Provost for Research Mark Redfern ( has been working for more than a year to revise University policies (see March 3 University Times) to help faculty work with outside partners and translate their research more effectively.

Woodward said that the draft policy covers both patent and copyright policy issues. “They’ve been woven in a way that one policy speaks appropriately to both,” she said.

The University’s conflict-of-interest policy remains under review by a policy review subcommittee. Pitt’s current COI policy is complex because policy and procedure are intertwined, said Woodward, a member of that subcommittee. The group is working to separate policy from procedure “so that the policy becomes very clear and clean,” before a new procedure is developed, she said.

When that is complete, the draft policy will move to the provost and chancellor. “If they have no major issues, then it’s ready for the faculty review process,” she said.

She acknowledged that the policy review is behind schedule. The committee’s stated timeline called for first drafts to be finished in May-July 2016, with finalized policies in place by late summer.

The committee prioritized taking time to obtain faculty input and develop a well-crafted policy over adhering to the timeline, she said.

“It’s important to make sure we go at the pace that’s appropriate to address all the concerns that the faculty have. Even though it took a long time, everybody thinks it was worth the delay because of the product that we’re going to get.”


Woodward invited the research committee to review changes to the University’s policy for academic and research visitors. A draft website features information for non-student visitors to campus as well as for faculty and staff.

It includes FAQs for faculty and staff and contains draft agreements and procedures for academic and research visitors to the University.

Woodward said she planned to begin soliciting feedback on the new processes this week in order to incorporate input into a final version. She said the visitor agreement committee expects to allow about 10 days for comments then will revise the draft based on the feedback that’s received.

Revisions to the visitors’ agreements have been in the works in attempt to streamline and simplify visitor processes. While the agreements will be paper-based initially, the long-term goal is to move to an electronic process, Woodward added.

A project is in the works to streamline and reduce administrative burdens for faculty who do research, Woodward said. An electronic system that will allow the Office of Research to go paperless is in process. The multi-phase project is expected to take 18-24 months, Woodward said.

The goal is to allow principal investigators to focus on their science rather than paperwork, she said, adding that input from users is being solicited.


In other business at its Sept. 9 meeting:

• The research committee agreed to the Staff Association Council’s request to appoint an additional non-voting staff representative to the research committee. Currently, one SAC representative sits on each Senate committee.

• The committee agreed to invite a representative of the Office of the Provost to discuss the administration’s desire to establish the position of senior vice chancellor for research, and the anticipated search process.

—Kimberly K. Barlow 

Filed under: Feature,Volume 49 Issue 2

Leave a Reply