Protecting Ideas: Ethical and Legal Considerations When a Grant’s Principal Investigator Changes

Leonidas G. Koniaris, Mary I. Coombs, Eric M. Meslin, Teresa A. Zimmers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ethical issues related the responsible conduct of research involve questions concerning the rights and obligations of investigators to propose, design, implement, and publish research. When a principal investigator (PI) transfers institutions during a grant cycle, financial and recognition issues need to be addressed to preserve all parties’ obligations and best interests in a mutually beneficial way. Although grants often transfer with the PI, sometimes they do not. Maintaining a grant at an institution after the PI leaves does not negate the grantee institution’s obligation to recognize the PI’s original ideas, contributions, and potential rights to some forms of expression and compensation. Issues include maintaining a role for the PI in determining how to take credit for, share and publish results that involve his or her original ideas. Ascribing proper credit can become a thorny issue. This paper provides a framework for addressing situations and disagreements that may occur when a new PI continues the work after the original PI transfers. Included are suggestions for proactively developing institutional mechanisms that address such issues. Considerations include how to develop solutions that comply with the responsible conduct of research, equitably resolve claims regarding reporting of results, and avoid the possibility of plagiarism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1061
Number of pages11
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Keywords

  • Authorship
  • Grant awards
  • Grant stipulations
  • Grant transfers
  • PI transfer
  • Plagiarism
  • Principal investigator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Health Policy

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