Today, it is unlikely that a single researcher’s work will answer the “big questions” in his or her field. The increase in collaboration across disciplines, institutions and industries presents several advantages. By combining unique expertise, resources and technology, investigators are able to address issues that are multifaceted and cannot be adequately addressed using one single approach. While these collaborations are often beneficial to all concerned, there are also problems that arise in the course of collaboration. Therefore, the rules of engagement in collaborative endeavors must always be clearly stated and understood.
Items to consider when collaborations end
Collaborations end for a variety of reasons. Ethical issues in these situations include:
- Who will maintain any common research records?
- Can co-authors use materials from joint papers for future independent publications?
- How will promising follow-up research be divided among former collaborators?
- Collaborative Research, by The Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science at Case Western Reserve University
- Collaborative Science, by Columbia University
- Preempting Discord: Prenuptial Agreements for Scientists, by Howard Gadlin, NIH Ombudsman, and Kevin Jessar, NIH Associate Ombudsman
- Silence is Not Golden: Making Collaborations Work, by John P. Schwartz, Ph.D., NINDS
- Template for Creating a Collaboration Agreement, National Institutes of Health