Researchers frequently collaborate with colleagues both within the University and externally. Clear communication is essential to effective collaborations.
Issues for collaborators to discuss at an early stage include:
- research roles and responsibilities (eg the goals of the project, the role each partner will play, how changes in the research design will be made)
- disclosure of conflicts of interest
- how research data will be collected, stored and shared
- authorship, including the process and criteria by which authorship and credit will be assigned
- financial management
- how intellectual property rights and ownership issues will be addressed
- training and supervision
- compliance with all funder and regulatory matters relevant to the project
- estimating an initial time frame for the collaboration
Ideally, collaborative projects should have effective management plans agreed at the outset which cover the above points. For larger collaborative projects, it may be advisable to form a project management group to review and update plans at regular intervals.
Attention to these issues at the outset of a collaboration can help to ensure that such projects run smoothly and potentially avoid problems downstream.