Academic Traditions

The Researchers' Responsibilities

In return for the rights and freedoms afforded to those in its community, UofTM holds its researchers responsible for the academic integrity of their work. Students, faculty, staff and others are expected to give appropriate recognition to those who make a genuine intellectual contribution to the research product, and to give credit only to those who make a significant or practical contribution to the work and who are able to share responsibility for its conclusions.

In academia, intellectual property is often the product of work accomplished with input from multiple individuals:

  • The concept for a research project or thesis may originate with a faculty member.
  • Research supervisors provide tutelage, guidance, and interpretation to graduate students and others involved in a research project or thesis.
  • Students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, and research technicians may each contribute to the creation and development of intellectual property under the supervision of a faculty member.

The subsequent rights to intellectual property developed in this collaborative way belong to the creators of the intellectual property (and the University, in accordance with the University's policies) and the onus lies with the research group to agree on the relative individual contributions.


Authorship & Inventorship

The criteria defining joint authorship vary among academic disciplines. As a guideline, co-authorship should be recognized where the individuals have participated in a significant way in at least two of the following aspects of the research:

  • conception of idea and design of research or scholarly inquiry;
  • actual collection of data collection, experiment or hands-on laboratory work; or
  • analysis and interpretation of data, and/or actual writing of the manuscript.

While the criteria defining co-authorship are relatively flexible, those defining inventorship are quite strict. Inventorship is restricted to those who make an original, inventive and substantive contribution to an invention. All members of a research team, regardless of position, who make an original, inventive and substantive contribution to the invention should be entitled to credit by being identified as a co-inventor.

Discipline-Specific Norms

Principles and policies may be consistent across a university, but practices rarely are. Generally speaking, in most humanities departments, scholars pursue their research work independently, while in many physical science departments, research is often undertaken in teams which may include students, research assistants and research technicians. Given the considerable variations in research practices that exist in the academic environment, the translation of principles into practice is not uniform across all academic disciplines.

For practical reasons this guide cannot delve into the customs or practices across the full range of disciplines at UofTM. As such, all faculty, students and staff are encouraged to observe, discuss and question the research norms in their field of study. UTM's Research Office welcomes such enquiries and discussion.