2.9 Conflicts of interests; collaborative research

University research increasingly involves funds from private and federal granting agencies. These joint ventures are often complex and raise the potential for conflicts of interests. Sometimes graduate students find themselves tugged between various competing interests, such as their own interest in publishing their research and a private sponsor's interest in keeping their results quiet, as proprietary knowledge.

Conflicts of interest are probably inevitable. By understanding and anticipating them, however, institutions can manage the risks. In general, the answer involves disclosure. Transparency and openness goes a long way toward reducing the possibility of abuse and misunderstanding.

A good introduction to the issue and survey of the principles is the document produced in 2005 by the Federation of American Socieites for Experimental Biology (FASEB). Pay particular attention to the 19 Guiding Principles (pp. 2-3).

Author: Comstock
Maintained By: Gary Comstock
Last Updated: 2008-07-12