Data and Collaboration


A scenario meant to stimulate discussion about data collaboration between labs and disciplines.


A company proposes to fund and collaborate with your university lab in designing and carrying out the testing of a new drug (or medical device). What needs to be specified between the university and the company about ownership of the data that will be generated? For example, what should be included about the rights of either party to publish the results of the study or to share any of the data with other investigators?

  1. How, if at all, would the points to agree upon be any different, if the collaborators were two laboratories in different disciplines?
  2. What if they were two laboratories in the same discipline but different institutions?
  3. How, if at all, would they be different, if the collaboration were between two individuals in the same discipline? In different disciplines?

Caroline Whitbeck introduced methods and modules for discussing numerous issues in responsible conduct of research at a Sigma Xi Forum in 2000. Partial funding for the development of this material came from an NIH grant.

You can find the entire sequence on the OEC at Scenarios for Ethics Modules in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Some information in these historical modules may be out-of-date; for instance, there may be a new edition of the professional society's code that is referred to in an item. If you have suggestions for updates, please contact the OEC.

Caroline Whitbeck. . Data and Collaboration. Online Ethics Center. DOI: