Credit due where credit deserved

The brilliance and dedication of University technicians and skilled specialists delivering breakthroughs in research are to be fully acknowledged under new guidelines.

A researcher in a lab coat looks at a computer in a lab

We may use a plethora of ‘technical’ job titles yet this community provides the University and its partners with expertise that is vital for the research community to function and deliver high-quality, high-impact research and innovation. 

Our Research Culture Strategy emphasises the need to recognise and value everyone involved in research and our commitment to promote a more supportive, inclusive, and collaborative environment.  

It is, therefore, vital that contributions to research need to be appropriately recognised, whether this is through authorship or acknowledgement, and that the approach applied is fair and consistent. 

New Fair Attribution guidelines have been agreed. These were developed by a Technician Commitment Steering Group, in close consultation with the technical and specialist skills community, and with colleagues across our entire University.   

The guidelines apply to all individuals, groups and facilities that contribute to our world leading research and innovation, underlining the need for research and innovation colleagues to foster a culture of collaboration, focused on teamwork. 

Elaine Martin, Professor of Chemical and Process Engineering, led the development of the guidelines, alongside Jennie Hibbard, the lead technician in the School of Biology, and Claire Knowles, Associate Director: Research and Digital Futures.  

Jennie said: “It is fantastic to see this Fair Attribution Policy endorsed at every level of the University. For technicians working in research, it is important to know that their contribution is not only valued locally, but that there is a public record of the contribution they make. For those not on an academic pathway it can be hard to evidence the impact your work has, and authorship or acknowledgement on research papers is used increasingly as a metric for all categories of staff and students.” 

Elaine said: “The commitment shown by implementing these guidelines will help to deliver a collaborative change in culture and influence how we can increase the visibility, recognise excellence, and establish career pathways and sustainability for our excellent technical community.”

Claire Knowles said: “The support for the Fair Attribution Policy from the University is wonderful. The policy will enable the contribution of all skills specialists, from across the institution, towards research to be recognised and acknowledged. Thank you to the Technician Commitment Steering Group and wider community for leading on this important cultural change.” 

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation praised the technicians and skilled specialists across the University. 

“We are rightly proud of our transformational fundamental and applied research. Much of it would not be possible without the knowledge, experience and dedication of our technicians, technologists, and specialist skills staff. For very good reasons, our Research Culture Strategy emphasises collaboration and partnership, and the need to value every single member of our research endeavours. I hope these guidelines go some way in recognising the contributions made by these colleagues and our entire staff community who contribute to our world leading impactful research. These guidelines will further emphasise the need that all the people whose work contributes to research and innovation are recognised, valued and celebrated.” 

Posted in: