Administrators and the Responsible Conduct of Research
Collaborative Research:
Collaborative Situations (cont.)

Collaborative Situations (cont.)

Sometimes, two or more researchers at different institutions work separately and yet collaborate on the a project. This can occur in a variety of ways, but most frequently the researchers will be working on different aspects of the same project, exchanging data Data
In the context of sponsored projects, data includes all information or tangible materials collected or generated in the course of the project. Data is subdivided into research data, financial data, and administrative data.
, compiling data for the entire project, and then doing joint data analysis, reporting, and publication. Collaborations between or among researchers are particularly complicated when the researchers work at institutions in different countries. Not only can distance affect communication and project oversight, but cultural differences may further complicate communication and the overall conduct of the project.

Clinical trials Clinical Trials
A scientifically designed and executed investigation of the effects of a drug (or vaccine) administered to human volunteers. The goal is to define the safety, clinical efficacy, and pharmacological effects (including toxicity, side effects, incompatibilities, or interactions) of the drug. The US government, through the FDA, requires strict testing of all new drugs and vaccines prior to their approval for use as therapeutic agents. (Source: amFAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research)
are a particular type of collaboration that occur in the biomedical field. They involve the testing of experimental treatments, medications, or devices on human participants. Frequently, several sites and many researchers will be involved. This type of collaboration will often include a formal board that will develop criteria and procedures concerning such matters as the submission of publications. In this manner, the many researchers involved reach a consensus on how certain aspects of the project will be handled.

A potentially complicated form of collaboration is that between researchers at universities and companies. The interests of educational institutions and companies frequently diverge. Universities have a public mission to disseminate the results of their research. This may be in the form of public presentations, publications, and/or other formats by which information is distributed. Faculty are evaluated for promotion and tenure based, in part, on their publication record. Companies, on the other hand, have as their primary mission to make good business decisions that benefit the company and its owners/stockholders. The dissemination of information can be limited by companies claiming that information is proprietary Proprietary
Rights to intellectual property that are owned, possessed, or held exclusively by an entity or individual. Proprietary rights include the right to permit or prohibit others from using the intellectual property.
or subject to trade secrets Trade Secret
Something (as a formula) which has economic value to a business because it is not generally known or easily discoverable by observation and for which efforts have been made to maintain secrecy (Source: Merriam Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary).
. Their concerns are to protect their intellectual property and financial interests, and that frequently requires keeping information away from their competitors. Problems can arise between universities and companies, and the researchers at each, over whether and when to publish because of proprietary concerns and/or the ownership of intellectual property.

Another form of collaboration can occur when one researcher contributes something of value to a project. This may take any number of forms depending on the needs of project. For instance: While conducting a project, a researcher learns of a research method that would be useful, and could take the project in a new direction. The researcher then contacts a colleague who agrees to teach the method to him/her.

Sometimes the collaboration involves the transfer of some form of tangible material rather than a research method. The material might be a chemical compound, a cell line, or some other form of biological material. It could involve the sharing of research animals with specific genetic traits or physical conditions. The transfer of materials can be one-way from one researcher to another, or it could be mutual. It might involve an agreement that the recipient of the material will share the research results with the provider of the material.

A collaboration might also occur when a researcher uses, has access to, or contracts for testing that involves equipment, or other facilities at a different department or institution. Depending on the nature of the particular situation, this may or may not be considered a collaboration. It could involve the sharing of information such that both researchers make intellectual contributions to the project. On other occasions, however, the access to facilities may not involve a true collaboration, but rather just an agreement allowing one researcher to use the equipment/facilities in another’s laboratory.

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