Skip to main content
National Cancer Institute

Preempting Discord: Prenuptial Agreements for Scientists

Edit resource

This brief, but extremely helpful, document was prepared by the National Institutes of Health Office of the Ombudsman. It offers many useful guiding questions to help craft a "prenuptial agreement" among scientists who are embarking on, or involved in, a team science collaboration. These agreements can help establish mutual understanding around issues such as length of collaboration, expected contributions, anticipated products, and authorship, among others. Examples of questions provided to help investigators discuss a potential collaboration include -- What are the expected contributions of each participant? Who will write any progress reports and final reports? How will you decide about redirecting the research agenda as discoveries are made? What will be your mechanism for routine communications among members of the research team (to ensure that all appropriate members of the team are kept fully informed of relevant issues)? What will be the criteria and the process for assigning authorship and credit? When and how will you handle intellectual property and patent applications? How and by whom will data be managed? How will access to data be managed? How will you handle long-term storage and access to data after the project is complete?

Howard Gadlin, PhD, National Institutes of Health Ombudsman, Office of the NIH Ombudsman

Is this tool available publicly? Yes - free

  • Pub Med ID (PMID):
  • Scopus ID:
  • DOI:



Tool Type:

Communication Tool


memorandum of understanding, prenuptial agreement, ownership, rights, conflict, conflict prevention

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Establish or maintain effective team science endeavors

Comments (3 comments)

Add Comments

Helpful contract sample, Monday, January 31, 2011

Good document to use with others. Nice template.

Great resource, Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I've used this before and it was very useful.

Loved this!, Thursday, February 3, 2011

This was a great prenuptual agreement - I would recommend it for people getting married

Resource created by on 10/25/2010 8:32:25 PM.

Narrow your search by
resource type or goal:

Advanced Search



Email this page