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Fair Attribution

We recognise the importance of technical staff in conducting research within the University, and that this is strengthened not only through the equipment and services available, but also by our teams of talented research support staff. Users of facilities and services will interact with technical staff either during the development of items related to experiments, the preparation of materials, training on equipment, running of routine samples, or during experimental design and analysis of results. It is only fair that the contribution that these staff and facilities make to a user’s research is attributed in the appropriate manner.

We expect that PDRAs and PhD students agree to the fair attribution guidelines below, with their supervisors, in advance of conducting their experiments.

We see five distinct use cases of facilities or services:
(1) User led experiments within the facility, with initial training by the facility staff.
(2) Facility/technical staff supported experimental design and/or data acquisition and/or data interpretation and analysis.
(3) Collaboration with external users in which the facility/technical staff support experimental design and/or data acquisition, and/or data interpretation.
(4) Occasional use, to obtain data for a simple experiment, where the facility staff performed routine characterisation sending data to the user to analyse.
(5) The preparation of items or materials used during experiments.

For all five cases, we anticipate that publications and reports will include the following acknowledgement statement:
“The Authors acknowledge use of [insert equipment or service used] supplied by/within the [team/facility name and department if appropriate], University of Warwick.”

In cases (2) and (3) the research has required intellectual contributions from one or more technical staff. These researchers should be included within the author list of the resultant publication or report and included in discussions during drafting and publication.

In case (4) the technical staff assisting with the experiment should be acknowledged by name: “The Authors would like to acknowledge the help of << name>> and the use of <<service or characterisation facilities>> within the <<name of team/facility and department if relevant>>, at the University of Warwick.”

In situations where the technical staff member feels that they have contributed to the work or a researcher wishes to engage the support of a staff member, a discussion should be initiated with the researcher on what would be fair attribution in this instance. If the work is published and fair attribution is not followed, please raise this with your line manager.