Collaboration: pre-nuptial agreements for scientists

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A list of questions for scientific collaborators helps identify - before collaborating - core issues such as authorship, adding additional collaborators, and identification of who does what in the collaboration. The rationale is: “People often assume that since they share an interest in the same research area and have complementary skills and areas of expertise, things will just work out. But scientific collaborations, like other important relationships, take some forethought and some ongoing work to succeed… Most often, problems arise in scientific collaborations because the scientists failed to explicitly define their expectations of one another”.

Reference: Gadlin, Howard and Jessar, Kevin. (2002). Preempting Discord: Pre-nuptial Agreements for Scientists. The NIH Catalyst, May-June 2002. Full text online at:

Posted: November 2011
Last modified: March 2016

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