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Case Study: Who owns the data?

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ORI Introduction to RCR: Chapter 6. Data Management Practices

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Dr. Marion W. long ago learned that good data management practices are essential to responsible research. She therefore carefully supervises the work of her assistants and students, checking notebooks, backing up computer files, and from time to time verifing results for herself.
As she is wrapping up work on one project before starting another, the technology transfer officer at her university calls. A graduate student who previously worked in her laboratory has moved to another university and filed a patent for work that may have been done in Dr. W.’s laboratory on her research funds? If this is the case, the graduate student may not be able to lay claim to the patent.
  • What records will Dr. W. need to prove that the work was done in her laboratory?
  • Who owns and controls the data collected in her laboratory?
  • Do computer records pose any unique problems in this case?