Two scenarios in which a compromise must be found that protects the research agenda for future publications but also provides some measure of recognition that student expertise and creativity were demonstrated. What would you do as the research leader (Faculty)?
Scenario 1: A student is applying for graduate school in Chemistry, and would like to include in the ISU ReD institutional repository a summary of their contributions to the lab work over the recent two years. This would include one major discovery - the significant impact of a new agent that acts as an enzyme for a potentially important commercial process. The student would like to submit a pre-print into ISU ReD describing their very important contribution toward this novel technique. The final work has not yet been accepted for publication in a leading peer reviewed journal, as there is one supplemental lab test that has not been completely documented. The Faculty members involved would like to wait for final acceptance of the paper before promoting the work, as they fear some key ideas may be stolen or potential patent rights might be at risk. How can you, as the lead investiagtor, balance the wishes of the student for reasonable and timely recognition with the concerns of pre-publication release of novel information?
Even though most universities and funding agencies want their results published as widely as possible, these two scenarios demonstrate that there are legitimate reasons to consider an embargo on certain materials ... for protection of ideas, credit, confidentiality, or even funding requirements. Whenever student work is involved, it is desirable to have clear guidelines and understandings in place about such pre-publication releases before research is begun. The ability for institutional repositories and e-print servers to provide immediate and world-wide distribution of ideas may influence policies and procedures in unintended ways. Funding agencies and research organizations need to develop standards for such expectations, but still recognize that unique concerns and circumstances may need to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students should be aware of their roles and responsibilities throughout the entire scholarly information lifecycle.