Collaboration and Publication protocol

Emerging Technologies Lab Collaboration and Publication protocol 

Version 26.02.20

Why do we need this?

  • To determine author order, rights and acknowledgments in team research projects
  • To enable individual researchers to know how and when they can write single authored papers or monographs based on team research
  • To enable us to share and publish from our shared research materials effectively, making the most of the materials while respecting the ideas and practical work of colleagues and the ethical boundaries of the project.
  • To recognise the differences that might occur between authorship in academic publications, reports and public scholarship pieces
  • To understand our responsibilities to other colleagues, research partners and participants
  • To stimulate wider awareness of and discussion about authorship and acknowledgment in collaborative works.

Please note that views regarding the below can vary. We have found it useful to consider possible scenarios as examples and encourage others to do so.

Academic publications and authorship

Generally we follow the British Sociological Association Guidelines

These guidelines can help us to determine appropriate authorship and acknowledgment within projects which have particular outcomes and goals.

However we can also consider variations on a case by case basis: Researcher A designed the project and participated in the ethnographic research, producing 10 video recorded interviews. Researcher B is a research fellow who produced 10 video recorded interviews. Researchers A and B, analysed these together and wrote two co-authored papers which corresponded with the proposed project outcomes, following the BSA guidelines. Both researchers also wanted to write separate single-author books which drew on these materials in combination with other ethnography they had undertaken independently of each other (possibly in other project teams) and based on their own ideas. Researcher A is happy to agree to this as long as Researcher B acknowledges her contribution, analyses the materials to develop B’s own original ideas independently. Any disagreements in analysis and ideas could also be politely acknowledged if necessary.

Guiding principle:  To allow all researchers who have participated substantially in the research design or in producing the ethnographic materials the right to analyse them for independent publications.

Acknowledgments:  All contributors to the design of the project, research methods and research process must be acknowledged.

In some of our projects, approval may be required from our project partners, and certain acknowledgements must be made to our funding bodies. It may also be appropriate or collegial/ considerate to acknowledge the contributions of partner investigators or collaborators.

Consent: In projects that involve research participants, approval may need to be sought from them to use their materials, and an acknowledgement should always be included in accordance with their consent requirements/ preferences. This should be documented in the ethical approval forms.

Negotiations: Before using shared materials researchers should notify the team and outline what their intentions are. This is a ‘light touch’ (but necessary) approval process, in case conflicts of interest arise, or objections are raised and so that consensus can be reached. The form of negotiations and team decisions about the use of materials might change over the course of a project. For example, co-authored publications might be more likely in the earlier stages, while at the end of the project more single author publications could be likely.

Other considerations: When do ethics agreements prevent us from analysing and publishing from materials in ways that go too far beyond the purposes for which they were produced? This should be checked.

How to acknowledge the contributions of other researchers (examples): The research design and methodology frames what we can learn and know in a research project and therefore shapes the possible outcomes. Therefore we need to acknowledge the roles of others, both ethically and reflexively, to understand the trajectories of knowledge that this produces. We offer the following as suggested wording:

To acknowledge colleagues who developed the research design and methodology: “The research materials that this article is based on were produced by xxxx and xxxx, through a research design and methodology designed and developed by xxxx, and refined during the research process by xxxx ...”

To acknowledge the intellectual and practical work already undertaken with colleagues that precedes the authors’ independent development of it further/ in a new direction: “The arguments developed in this article draw on an earlier analysis developed by xxxx (ref to article where it is published), but advance this further through …”

Please be explicit about your role in the project - when is it appropriate to use the term “we” and when not? When is using it assuming credit for work you haven’t done yourself, and when is it the right term of use to refer to the work done across an entire project to represent the work of a team.

Citing colleagues’ work: Sometimes we use ideas and approaches developed by colleagues, in our co-authored texts with them. Please be polite when referring to these ideas - so for example: A develops a new concept in a single author publication (1) and then writes about it with B in publication (2) which B is first author of. B then writes about and uses the concept again, but instead of citing A’s publication (1) to refer to the development of the concept, B cites publication (2). When and how might B be justified in citing publication (1) or (2)?


Reports may require different authoring conventions to academic publications. In some cases it is advisable to attribute lead authorship in industry reports to the author who will be the lead spokesperson and media advocate for the work. Thus authorship may not only be based on contributions to the work itself, but also contributions to its dissemination. The same can apply to authoring position pieces, like Conversation articles.

Public Scholarship

Position pieces written for public outlets (eg The Conversation, or some of Monash’s own platforms) are often intended to make a shared statement. They are often short and represent a collective view rather than the combinations of writing contributions that are cited in the BSA guidelines for academic publications. In these cases authorship is strategic as well as practical and can range from writing the whole piece, endorsing the piece and participating in its dissemination, with the other authors. Here authorship should be agreed on a case by case basis.

Status of shared research materials:


In team research, materials are produced, shared and analysed across the research team. They are owned by the project rather than by the individual researcher who produced them. All members of the project team have the continued right to use those materials that they produced or that were part of a project they designed. Use of materials produced by other project team members will depend on context.

In some cases this ownership will extend to the non-academic partners. But normally in an ethnographic project it would be the ethnographic research team who are the gatekeepers to the ethnographic materials, rather than all CIs.

Exceptions might be agreed when a particular part of a project is strongly associated with the intellectual, practical or artistic work of one researcher without input from others (that is in research design, research process or analysis).

Credits and copyright: 

In some projects the visual or audio materials might be copyrighted to the project. This means that when we use them we would use the copyright line eg:  ©Digital Energy Futures. An existing example is the LEEDR project, in which instead of attributing copyright to the people who had taken the photographs and videos we used the ©LEEDR copyright line. Where appropriate the line Photograph or video by xxxx can be added.

When appropriate, copyright can be attributed to  individual researchers. For example if in a project, a PhD student undertakes an original project alongside the main project the materials she produced for her PhD would use her own name in the copyright line.

Other exceptions might be agreed when materials represent part of a body of practical artistic or other work associated with a particular researcher.


The same guidance applies to presentations. Here we should be careful with terminology used, and ensure that verbal credits are given as due: for example, when is it right to use “a methodology I developed” and “a methodology we developed”.

A credit slide at the end of a presentation which notes the roles played by the different researchers can be used. Research team photos also bring this to life to show many people’s work went into the wider project being discussed

Data sharing outside the project team

Here are some resources for thinking about wider data sharing via repositories etc. This does not apply to what we are doing directly in the Lab but offer some things to think with regarding data sharing outside project teams

Monash University authorship policy and procedure.