Chapter 20 - Thesis Copyright re Funded Research

Regulations Concerning Copyright of Thesis Work Attached to Funded Research

It is becoming a common practice in the School for graduate students to complete research projects that are part of externally funded research programs that may span several years. Students are expected to contribute in a reasonable manner to data collection and data analysis as part of their research training. They are expected to write up the results of particular parts of such on-going studies as their thesis projects. Students may or may not receive payment from the supervisor's research funding for data collection or analysis work.

Copyright of the thesis write-up implies that the thesis, including data collected by other researchers, becomes the exclusive property of the student, but, while the thesis itself is written by the student, under the supervision of a faculty member, it may include data collected by other researchers funded by external granting agencies. If the project is not promptly submitted for publication, then valuable research funded by outside agencies will not appear in peer-reviewed scientific journals. This presents a significant problem since such publication is expected by granting agencies. Failure to publish experimental results will certainly result in reluctance of such granting agencies to fund future work.

The following are regulations governing copyright and publication of thesis projects conducted as part of larger externally funded research studies:

  1. The thesis write-up itself (i.e. the student's scholarly contribution) is the property of the student and should not be published or utilized without his or her permission.
  2. Data from funded research projects, whether in analyzed or raw form, remains under the control of the principal investigator/graduate supervisor.
  3. A copy of the raw and/or individual data from funded research projects must be given to the supervisor by the student on completion of the work and prior to the thesis defense.
  4. If a student analyzes data from a funded research project as the basis for their thesis work, then the student has both the opportunity and obligation to submit this work for publication under the supervision of their graduate supervisor. If a reasonable first draft of the paper is completed by the student, then the student should be first author of the paper.
  5. If the student fails to write-up and submit a draft of the thesis work for publication within a reasonable time frame (9 months), then the principal investigator/graduate supervisor is free to do so. In such cases, the student should receive appropriate authorship credit in direct relation to his or her contribution to authorship of the publication.
  6. Assignment of authorship on all research papers from the School should reflect the relative contributions of those involved in scholarly tasks including the study design, scientific analysis and interpretation of results, writing and editing of the manuscript. This does not include paid technical work related to data collection or statistical analysis of data. Also, students are expected to be involved in data collection procedures as part of their practical graduate training. When a legitimate training/internship component exists, the student will not necessarily receive payment or authorship credit for this type of work.
  7. In the event of disagreement between the student and the principal investigator/graduate supervisor on authorship issues, appeals should be first directed to the School's Graduate Subcommittee.