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Tim Carter
Ball State University
Dept of Biology

Dept of Biology



  1. Publication and authorship rules - I expect that the design of your research is such that if all goes well it should lead to a publication.  I also expect that you will work to get that research into a publishable form and submitted it to a journal.  I see these as important parts of your learning process.  This is not to say that you can’t graduate without a publication. Publication is not a requirement of our masters program by any means.

As for authorship – I follow the idea that all authors should contribute to such a level that without them the publication would not have happened.  Some categories of contribution often used in this discussion include: 1) development of original question, 2) study design, 3) securing funding, 4) data collection, 5) data analysis, and 6) manuscript preparation.  Often you will hear that you must contribute to two or more of these areas to qualify for authorship.  Unfortunately that leaves much room for interpretation.  As a major contributor to at least 4-6 a graduate student should always be an author on publications resulting from your thesis research.  The order of authorship will depend on your level of commitment.  If I am the one that must take your thesis and rework it into a publishable unit – you will be a co-author.  If you take the lead on submitting the manuscript you will be lead author and I will be a co-author.  

Any type of publication (poster, oral presentation, or manuscript) that originates from work conducted in my lab or with resources from my lab (undergraduate or graduate level) must include me as an author and I must be given an opportunity to review the publication before its submission.  This includes any work where I provide equipment, financial support, or supervisory support.

Ownership of data - As a general rule the fact that you are gainfully employed by Ball State University makes all data gathered during that time the property of Ball State University.  As your advisor and an employee of Ball State University I am charged with the responsibility of maintaining those data.  Additionally, if the data were collected as part of a funded research project the funding agency has ultimate rights to those data.  Regardless, in this age of information technology, it is very simple for both student and professor to maintain copies of the data.  However, it is imperative that multiple copies of the data are stored in different locations with the originals ideally being stored at BSU.