For users who are Boston University faculty, staff, or trainees, confidentiality is already required by existing University policy. The University Policies on intellectual property and on research misconduct establish that research and research data at Boston University is to be protected from intentional and unintentional disclosure. Thus, samples, products derived from samples, data obtained from the analysis of samples, and data and analyses obtained from a facility user shall be considered confidential, and shall not be shared, published, reanalyzed, reprocessed, or in any other way shared or used for additional analyses without the facility user’s expressed and written permission. The relevant Boston University policies may be found here.

For facility users from outside of Boston University, such as corporate partners, investigators from government, other universities or any other type of institution, the same confidential treatment of research and data shall be applied in the facility. In this case, confidentiality is assured through execution of a confidentiality agreement with Boston University upon request from the facility user. Assistance in establishing such agreements will be provided by facility personnel and/or the facility director.


Conflict Resolution

Disagreements and/or disputes over use of equipment or access to equipment, or for intellectual input and authorship will be raised with the NPC Operation Manager for resolution. The Center Operations Manager will present the disagreement to the NPC Director and NPC Deputy Director to identify a mutually agreeable solution. If invention rights or claims are involved, respective technology transfer managers will be consulted and included in the deliberation of the dispute. The Core Facility Advisory Committee will be convened to mediate the dispute if a mutually agreeable solution is not achieved within 30 days of the dispute notification to the liaison.

With due process and considering all sides in the dispute as presented by involved parties, the Director, or Facility Advisory Committee if it is involved in the dispute, will provide a reasonable and workable solution and will make available resources as possible to act on the recommended solution. If the solution is not accepted by any of the involved investigators, the matter will be referred to the respective University administrative structures for resolution. In this event, all facility projects that include the involved investigators will be suspended until the dispute is resolved.


The facilities are funded through a University-authorized chargeback system that includes recovery of expenses for equipment operating time and for activity from the research staff. Billing is sent out monthly for work completed in each facility. Users are responsible for providing a business office contact and account information before initiating a project or using instruments in the facilities.

Investigators may be financially responsible for instrument damages due to improper use by those users in their labs. Principal investigators may also be financially responsible for instrument reservations that are not canceled 24 hours prior to the reserved time.

Disagreements over payment should be raised with the NPC operations manager for resolution.

Prioritization of Work

All University researchers have equal access to the services and instruments provided by the NPC. Instruments are scheduled on a first-come basis. The following rules are necessary to maintain equipment in optimal operational conditions and avoid unnecessary downtime. We can only maintain the equipment properly if the users keep NPC staff informed of potential problems.

  1. All instrument users will be trained on the proper use and maintenance of instruments by facility staff only. For training, normal operator fees will apply.
  2. All instrument users must receive training certification from the facility manager prior to accessing any instruments unsupervised. Facility managers reserve the right to deny unsupervised usage until all levels of training have been successfully completed.
  3. Principal investigators may be financially responsible for damages due to improper use by those users in their labs. This includes cleaning any system due to samples containing contaminates that interfere with instrument performance.
  4. Users should not attempt to fix any equipment problems, regardless of how small or insignificant the problem may appear. Facility staff must be informed of any potential operational problems of instruments.
  5. Reservation cancellation is required on all instruments that are reserved through the Web-based system. Principal investigators may be financially responsible for reservations that are NOT canceled 24 hours prior to the reserved time. At least one hour of usage time may be charged for “no-shows.” Cancellation can be completed by contacting the individual facility manager.
  6. Instruments that are reserved through the Web-based system are reserved in the order in which reservations are received. Out of courtesy to other users, long-term experiments should be scheduled for overnight or weekend run times. Equipment must be vacated when the scheduled time has expired, if the next user has arrived.
  7. Users must leave all equipment and work areas in a clean and orderly state when work is complete. Microscopes in the Imaging Facility should be turned off if no other users are scheduled within the next hour. If another user is scheduled, the equipment can be left on.
  8. The facility managers reserve the right to suspend usage privileges if the users do not adhere to the outlined policies.

Users who have concerns or difficulties with the implementation of this policy should address the issues first with the individual facility manager. If a mutually accepted solution cannot be reached, then the NPC Center operations manager will be recruited to help implement an agreeable resolution.

First-time users, whether affiliated with Boston University, another university or a corporate partner, are asked to contact the facility director to schedule a meeting to discuss the user’s project and costs and facility policies. Once researchers have received training on the use of facility instrumentation, they may reserve instrument time.

Facility instruments are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Although the facility does serve multiple projects, adequate management of access to the instruments is in place to serve the needs of projects large and small and all users. This is facilitated by the initial required involvement of the facility director since users are not permitted to operate the instruments without specific training and authorization from the facility director. Users are notified if the requested facility is unavailable and of limitations for use, etc. In the event of a conflict or needed exception, the facility director suggests a mutually agreeable solution. If the scheduling conflict is not resolved at this level, it will be referred for conflict resolution as outlined in the Conflict Resolution section of this website. Requests for urgent attention are considered by facility personnel on an ad hoc basis.


Expectations for authorship for facility personnel will be discussed with initial facility contact. While authorship is not required and will often be inappropriate for facility personnel providing routine training services for a project, if there is intellectual and/or organizational effort of facility personnel to the work described in the manuscript, authorship is warranted and expected. For example, expert data analysis from facility personnel that is required in support of claims in a manuscript or patent warrants authorship. It will be made clear to investigators utilizing the facility that the recovery of facility expenses through the facility cost recovery system does not exclude the possibility for authorship for facility research personnel. Similarly, authorship does not substitute for payment of facility expenses for services rendered.

In publications that describe research that took place at the facility, authors will be required to include a statement acknowledging the use of the facility of the Boston University Neurophotonics Center: “The author(s) acknowledge the use of the facilities of the Boston University Neurophotonics Center.”