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often raised issues. Of particular concern have been information exchanges that could be viewed as impinging on (a) state secrets, (b) protection of IP, or (c) rights of individual researchers to claim credit in publications for their scientific findings. At other times, uneasiness has arisen over the possible embarrassment of managers if outsiders visited deteriorated facilities that had not been refurbished due to lack of financial resources. Generally, these problems are now of less importance than in years past, as collaborating scientists have become accustomed to a new style of openness.


Difficulty may arise when researchers attempt to send biological materials or chemicals used in biological experiments into countries where collaborators reside and to receive materials from these collaborators under exchange commitments. Each country has limitations on shipments of certain types of material, with these limitations often linked to international export control obligations. In addition, individual ministries and departments may have their own restrictions. But at times, there is some flexibility in administering these limitations.

Details are important, particularly when dealing with dangerous pathogens. Institutions that send or receive materials may have even more stringent requirements than formally required and complicated approval processes. Shipping companies may be constrained in their activities, by national laws and by their own internal procedures. There may be requirements as to shipping containers.

A particularly contentious issue during the early 2000s was the insistence of the Department of Defense (DOD) on shipment of strains of sensitive biological pathogens from Russian research centers to the United States as a condition of providing support for U.S.-financed activities in Russia. The Russian side contended that its export controls had been imposed in response to pressure from the United States to limit the shipping of strains abroad. Also, DOD was not prepared to send other strains of interest to Russia in exchange. This issue was never adequately resolved, and the discussions delayed implementation of several projects.

Finally, it is important to note that not all difficulties with exchanges of biological materials have involved sensitive strains. For example, the U.S. National Park Service has encountered difficulties in transferring biological samples involving marine mammals and Beringian flora and fauna to the United States. Also, scientists supported by the National Science Foundation have had difficulties obtaining botanical samples from the Tiksi research station in the northern area of Russia.


Against this panorama of technical barriers to cooperation, the impediment to bioengagement that is most commonly cited by program participants is the

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