Another idea that you may not be familiar with is confidentiality. If your research project is funded by private industry, your institution and your advisor may have signed some sort of written, legally binding agreement called a confidentiality agreement that may limit or prohibit some or any oral and/or written communication with others outside the financial/research relationship concerning the project. These agreements also often limit presentation and/or publication of project findings to those outside of the confidentiality agreement. Thus, you may not be able to present your findings at professional conferences or publish your findings in the peer-reviewed literature. Consequently, it is important to inquire about any restrictive requirements that could affect your project and/or your ability to discuss your work at the beginning of your research project.

Advice:

  • Make sure that you understand what your advisor’s policies are regarding confidentiality.
  • Do not share information about your research with anyone outside your research group without first obtaining permission to do so from your research advisor.
  • If someone shares a research grant application, unpublished manuscript, or unpublished research results, be sure to keep this information confidential unless the person gives you permission otherwise.