Guidelines for research collaborations with external parties at Faculty of Technical Sciences

Freedom of research, arm's length and transparency in research collaboration with external parties for which AU publishes the product

Many researchers have requested a comprehensive outline of the rules for research collaboration at ST. Therefore, here is a number of specific guidelines for research collaboration with external parties such as special interest organisations and companies, where the product is published by AU.

The guidelines apply for projects in which AU has a research interest, and where the results of the project are published in the form of reports, synthesises, white papers and similar (hereinafter referred to as ‘the product’). The relevant head of department/centre director decides whether the project has a research interest for AU that justifies AU co-financing the project as grant-financed research.

These guidelines do not cover collaborative projects in which AU has a research interest in working with external parties on the performance of tasks and publishing peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals.

The guidelines do not apply to requisitioned research (IV, income-generating activities). Likewise, the guidelines do not apply to research-based public sector consultancy (consultancy for government agencies, businesses etc.). This consultancy has its own set of rules.

Principles must be practicable and useful

The principles on research integrity and responsible conduct of research, on freedom of research and arm's length, as well as on accountability and transparency are vitally important for AU. The principles are described in a number of documents on the AU website and on the internet (see links at the end of this document). The aim of this document is to make the principles practicable and useful in everyday work and to provide guidance on where you can seek help.

If you feel that your freedom of research is under pressure or feel challenged on the arm's length principle, do not hesitate to contact your superior or the advisers on research integrity. There is a list of contacts who can help you at the bottom of this document.

In a collaboration with external parties, the arm's length principle means that you stay independent of influence from the external parties in all research and communication: there must be no doubt that you have the final word. This independence must be unequivocal and clearly described, and this principle permeates these guidelines. Provided there is always open declaration and clarity about the collaboration, there is wide scope for collaboration with external parties, as long as your research integrity and freedom of research are intact.

If you are also employed by an external party alongside your employment as a researcher, or if you have your own company, it is your responsibility to ensure that there are no competency issues, and your dual role must be clearly described in the project.