at facilities and recommend changes in facility capabilities and funding levels and sources as needed.
Periodically appraise facility performance in meeting the needs of the scientific user communities.
Periodically investigate the need to shift stewardship of a facility either within or between agencies.
Develop guidelines for agency cost sharing based on usage.
Periodically examine user support and training levels to allow for changes in user demographics.
Finding: Each facility has implicit or explicit agreements with its users that address rights and responsibilities of both parties in such matters as safety, operations, logistics, proprietary research, and costs. These user agreements vary substantially in their complexity and requirements. Among facilities managed by the same steward—and even at the same site—there can be substantial differences that create difficulties for users and reduce the overall effectiveness of the facilities in promoting scientific excellence.
Recommendation: Steward agencies, facility management, and the facility user communities should reexamine and modify their user agreements to achieve maximum simplicity, uniformity, and portability.
Finding: Some users access the facilities as a relatively minor part of a more comprehensive research program intended to generate results of potential commercial value. Current intellectual property policies, which appear to be a mix of agency-specific legal requirements and facility-generated practices, are complex and uneven across stewards and facilities and may not be appropriate for effective facility use. These factors can inhibit or needlessly complicate participation at the facilities.
Recommendation: The current intellectual property policies and practices at the facilities should be carefully assessed by an independent commission composed of representatives of steward and partner agencies; university, private company, and research institute partners; and user groups. The commission should recommend changes to optimize the protection of researcher and taxpayer interests and facilitate development of scientific findings.