The following comment refers to this/these guideline(s)
Legal and ethical frameworks, usage rights
Researchers adopt a responsible approach to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of research. They comply with rights and obligations, particularly those arising from legal requirements and contracts with third parties, and where necessary seek approvals and ethics statements and present these when required. With regard to research projects, the potential consequences of the research should be evaluated in detail and the ethical aspects should be assessed. The legal framework of a research project includes documented agreements on usage rights relating to data and results generated by the project.
Researchers maintain a continual awareness of the risks associated with the misuse of research results. Their responsibility is not limited to compliance with legal requirements but also includes an obligation to use their knowledge, experience and skills such that risks can be recognised, assessed and evaluated. They pay particular attention to the aspects associated with security-relevant research (dual use). HEIs and non-HEI research institutions are responsible for ensuring that their members’ and employees’ actions comply with regulations and promote this through suitable organisational structures. They develop binding ethical guidance and policies and define procedures to assess ethical issues relating to research projects.
Where possible and practicable, researchers conclude documented agreements on usage rights at the earliest possible point in a research project. Documented agreements are especially useful when multiple academic and/or non-academic institutions are involved in a research project or when it is likely that a researcher will move to a different institution and continue using the data he or she generated for his or her own research purposes. In particular, the researcher who collected the data is entitled to use them. During a research project, those entitled to use the data decide whether third parties should have access to them (subject to data protection regulations).
Contracts with third parties and usage rights
Exploitation of intellectual property is an important element of application-oriented research. Contracts with third parties are usually drawn up based on the iterative adaptation of model contracts by the legal office at the research institution concerned and the cooperation partners. When drafting this type of cooperation agreement, usage rights relevant to the research project should be clearly agreed on from the outset. In any form of research cooperation, the recommendation is to start the dialogue on usage rights as early as possible and set everything down in writing so as to prevent uncertainties at a later stage.
Ideally, research institutions should provide handouts on how to deal with usage rights in general. Support can also be provided by the research institutions by offering training courses.
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