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Research proposals and progress reports are privileged communications and must be kept confidential. ARF board members are only permitted to reveal information which the investigator included in his abstract for publicity purposes. Outside reviewers of grant applications are also advised to keep the information confidential. Discussions of grant applications are excluded from minutes.
According to the US Constitution authors and inventors have exclusive rights to their discoveries for limited times. These times are often not specified by funding agencies. ARF policy states that, in the event that the work is not published by the investigators, the data can not be made public until a year after submission of the final report. Until that time privileged information will not be disclosed without consent even if it would prevent wasting resources or have significant impact on animal health.
The Federal Animal Welfare Act, requires that all institutions which use warm blooded vertebrate animals for research, education or testing purposes register with the US Dept of Agriculture and be subject to annual inspections by the USDA. The law mandates that all institutions have an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to oversee the conduct of research at that institution. The IACUC reviews all proposals for the use of animals, inspects facilities twice a year and ensures conduct of animal use is in compliance with all legal statutes and ethical guidelines. Investigators must justify the number of animals proposed for use in any protocol, the lack of unnecessary duplication of work and the unsuitability of non-animal models or phylogenetically lower animals for this purpose. In the case of procedures which might include pain or discomfort, the investigator must discuss the procedures with the veterinarian and use analgesic and or anaesthetic procedures which avoid pain and discomfort unless it would compromise the results. The IACUC must then weigh the pros and cons of the proposal before allowing animals to be used in the research. The ARF board must have verification that IACUC approval has been obtained before any studies are begun.