All Harvard Medical School Faculty, students, researchers, staff and collaborators have an obligation to manage, store and protect all research data, research materials, intellectual property and information.

Harvard Medical School supports and encourages research collaborations and academic exchange in the pursuit of scientific excellence. As part of that mission, we expect that labs and departments will routinely host domestic and foreign visitors and collaborators. Visitors include but are not limited to: collaborators, vendors, trainees, and speakers.

HMS requires that each visitor and collaborator be vetted prior to their gaining access to HMS facilities, data, or resources. All labs should implement the following precautions when hosting visitors and collaborators:

  1. Define, in writing, the purpose and goals of the visit before an invitation is extended.
  2. If sponsoring a visa, contact HR or the Harvard International Office for onboarding paperwork. All individuals sponsored under an H1B visa must go through Restricted Party Screening as part of the visa approval process.
  3. If a visitor from abroad does not require a visa sponsored by Harvard (here on a travel visa, business visa, or from a country that is part of the visa-waiver program), request a Restricted Party Screening from your department’s Visual Compliance user or the HMS Export Control Administrator PRIOR to issuing an invitation.  A license from the Federal government may be required for individuals to access certain data or materials in the lab or for Harvard to pay that individual for their services. Licenses from the U.S. government can take 12 weeks or longer. Plan your timeline accordingly.
  4. Agree, in writing, on what materials and data the visiting individual will access before the collaboration begins. Update written agreement as project needs evolve.
  5. Agree, in writing, on what materials and data visiting individuals may take with them when their visit ends. Update as project and collaboration evolves. Visiting Scientists and Collaborators should be familiar with Harvard’s IP policy and understand the limits on use of Harvard owned IP. If the visiting Scientists or Collaborators are foreign nationals, remember to request an export control review from the HMS Export Control Administrator prior to any materials or data being taken overseas to determine whether they will require an export license.
  6. Have the visitor sign a Harvard Visitor Participation Agreement
  7. If a publication is expected as a result of the collaboration, follow the HMS Authorship Guidelines.
  8. Limit the individual’s access to facilities, data and materials to only the minimum necessary for them to complete their defined goals.
  9. Limit Information Security access to only the data, servers and email that is needed for the individual to complete their project/goals.
  10. Be mindful of giving tours of your lab. Make sure that no proprietary, confidential, high-risk, unpatented or unpublished data is accessible.
  11. Visitors on tours should be escorted by a lab member or HMS staff person at all times while on HMS property.
  12. Do not allow visitors to insert thumb drives into or attach portable media devices to Harvard owned computers or equipment.

HMS Export Control Review

Harvard International Office (visa sponsorship)

Harvard Research Data Ownership Policy

Harvard Research Data Security Policy

Harvard Information Security Policy

Harvard University Department of Information Security

Visitor Participation Agreement(s)

Participation Agreement and Visitor Participation Agreement Guidance

Harvard University Intellectual Property Policy