Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Gem on Data "Ownership"

You may think that you own your data.  You don't, technically.  In an academic setting, the university has legal title to the data (that gives them the legal authority that they need to adjudicate disputes about access to data, including those that arise in the rare but unfortunate cases of research misconduct), while investigators are shepherds or custodians of the data.  Both have their own responsibilities and rights.  Some of those responsibilities are inherent in good science and engineering (e.g., the duty to do your best to make sure that the published results are accurate and correct, as much as possible), and others are imposed externally (e.g., federal funding agencies require preservation of data for some number of years beyond the end of an award).


This is just too good to ignore. The university has legal title to the data! Good thing I don't belong to a university! Can you imagine? A professor taking credit for the ideas/objects I think up/discover? Hell no! For those who do not know, that has actually happened before, a professor took credit for the woman who discovered pulsars. Jocelyn Bell Burnell made the discovery and her professor received the Nobel Prize for it, Antony Hewish.


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