Two scenarios in which a compromise must be found that protects the research agenda for future publications but also provides some measure of recognition that student expertise and creativity were demonstrated. What would you do as the research leader (Faculty)?
Scenario 2: A student is applying for a job with the government that involves GIS (geospatial mapping) work, and would like to include in the ISU ReD institutional repository an electronic copy of their recent poster which highlights their contributions to their reseach group work over the recent two years. The final work has been submitted, but has not yet been accepted for publication in a leading peer reviewed journal. The Faculty members involved would like to wait for final acceptance of the paper before promoting their work, as they fear some of the key findings and novel techniques might be used by others before they receive credit or have a chance to utilize this information in other ways. The poster presentation was safe, as it had a limited local audience - but placing this material in ISU ReD would mean it would be discoverable by people immediately across the entire research community. How can you balance the wishes of the student for timely recognition with the concerns of pre-publication release of novel information?
Even though most universities and funding agencies want their results published as widely as possible, these two scenarios demonstrate that there are legitimate reasons to consider an embargo on certain materials ... for protection of ideas, credit, confidentiality, or even funding requirements. Whenever student work is involved, it is desirable to have clear guidelines and understandings in place about such pre-publication releases before research is begun. The ability for institutional repositories and e-print servers to provide immediate and world-wide distribution of ideas may influence policies and procedures in unintended ways. Funding agencies and research organizations need to develop standards for such expectations, but still recognize that unique concerns and circumstances may need to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students should be aware of their roles and responsibilities throughout the entire scholarly information lifecycle.