Federally Funded Research at Institutions of Higher Education, an E-supplement to GAO-04-31

GAO-04-223SP: Published: Nov 14, 2003. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 2003.

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Robin M. Nazzaro
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This document presents the results of GAO's survey of federal higher education grant recipients. To obtain data about the policies of universities and colleges concerning (1) making the results of federally funded research available to the public without delays, and (2) managing financial conflicts of interest, we surveyed these universities and colleges via a web-based survey. In addition, we asked whether access to data from federally funded research has been requested through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The survey covered (1) policies and procedures for ensuring that federally funded research results are made available to the public, (2) views on the advantages and disadvantages of posting final technical reports to an agency's Web site, (3) FOIA requests for research data, (4) conflict of interest and financial disclosure policies, and (5) research funding. We identified the 200 universities and colleges that received the highest amounts of federal research funding in fiscal year 2000. The survey was activated on January 29, 2003 and was available until May 31, 2003. To ensure security and data integrity, we provided each contact person with a password to access and complete a questionnaire. From the 200 survey participants, we obtained 171 useable responses for an overall response rate of 86 percent. A more detailed discussion of our scope and methodology and a discussion of the survey results are contained in our report entitled "University Research: Federal Agencies Need to Better Protect Against Financial Conflicts of Interest" GAO-04-31. We conducted our survey work from August 2002 through September 2003 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

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