Before Sept. 11, academic research managers could easily run labs without running afoul of export controls. Talking to foreign-born students, chatting with overseas colleagues, and publishing the results of research presented few regulatory obstacles. But managers now may be required to reassess their research styles when it comes to such diurnal tasks.

Regulations under consideration in Washington, DC, could narrow exemptions that allow free international information exchanges, experts on US science policy warn. "We face a real problem in terrorism that uses low technologies against us," says Eugene B. Skolnikoff, professor of political science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who writes on science policy. "At the same time, I have a sense that there is a different attitude ... within some [government] agencies, a sense of panic, or sense that we are at war. There is a level of overreaction that is likely to damage the very security that...

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