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Project guide for researchers: Contracts and copyright

Contact persons

Research Services
Tiia Saarinen, Senior Research Funding Advisor
Phone: +358 40 860 9538

Merja Sagulin, Head of Research Services
Phone: +358 50 590 6797

Legal Services
Jlulia Niinimäki, Lawyer
Phone: +358 50 469 7277

Copyright matters
Maria Rehbinder, Copyright Attorney
maria.rehbinder@aalto.fi
Phone: +358 50 570 3396

The handling of contractual matters

Contracts related to the project and any amendments to them must be handled together with the Uniarts Helsinki legal services. Researchers may not sign any contracts that conflict with the financier’s instructions.

On this page, you can find information on the following types of contracts:

  • funding agreement
  • consortium agreement
  • cooperation agreement
  • agreement on the assignment of rights
  • research data ownership agreement
  • authorship agreements between researchers
  • economic and moral copyright

Funding agreement

The funding agreement is signed by Uniarts Helsinki. The party with the right of approval depends on the total project budget. The total budget is made up of the funding provided by the financier and any possible funding received from the university.

Contract approvers:

  • Head of the unit: 50 000 euros maximum
  • Dean of the academy: 100 000 euros maximum
  • Vice Rector of doctoral education and research: 1 000 000 euros maximum
  • Rector: over 1 000 000 euros

Uniarts Helsinki serves as the site of research, but the unit responsible for the project’s practical arrangements may be Uniarts Helsinki, the research centre, an academy or a doctoral program.

The parties signing the funding agreement check that its terms match the ones presented in the application and that the commitments to be made are proportional to the amount of funding granted.

Consortium agreements

The rules and responsibilities between partners in a consortium project should be agreed upon in the funding application phase. When signing a contract with an external party, Uniarts Helsinki always acts as the contracting party in place of the individual researcher, although the researcher often represents the university in the contract negotiations. That is why it is advisable to get in contact with the university’s lawyer in contract matters from the very start.

The consortium or partnership agreement should only be entered into after the funding has been secured. Projects funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme use the DESCA 2020 Model Consortium Agreement.

Cooperation agreements

If the project involves cooperation with companies, the Academy of Finland requires signing a written agreement specifying the division of expenses, risks and results; distribution of the results; and the use and distribution of intellectual property rights. This is to be done before the start of the project.

The results of research projects funded by the Academy of Finland must be made public and open. The openness of the results may not be limited with any contracts signed with cooperation partners or any other contracting parties.

Agreement on the assignment of rights

Uniarts Helsinki has various obligations arising from legislation, the terms of external funding and responsibilities towards contractual partners. The university may only fulfill its obligations towards the use of research results by signing a contract on the reuse of data with the project participants.

In projects where Uniarts Helsinki receives external funding (e.g. the Academy of Finland, the EU, a company), an agreement must be signed stating that the employees and students working on the project agree to transfer the project results’ ownership rights or rights to use (including rights of transfer and adaptation) to Uniarts Helsinki.

The necessary rights are transferred to Uniarts Helsinki with an agreement on the assignment of rights, which is drawn up together with research and legal services. The agreement transfers the ownership rights, financial copyright and other possible intellectual rights to Uniarts Helsinki in the capacity defined in the agreement. The agreement on the assignment of rights is signed at the same time as the employment contract.

Research data ownership agreement

As a part of making a data management plan, the project participants should also agree upon their duties, responsibilities and rights regarding the research data. Recommended things to go over include, for example, the ownership of the research data and who has the right to determine the terms of reuse and decide on the sharing and destroying of the data.

The research data’s financial copyright or the right to use them (including rights of transfer and adaptation) are transferred to Uniarts Helsinki with an agreement on the assignment of rights.

Economic and moral copyright

Copyright is granted directly by law and does not require separate registration. It covers the results of the project, such as written materials, photographs, original drawings and other works.

The use of copyrighted works in a research project may only be agreed on with a formal contract, and the rights must be transferred with an agreement on the assignment of rights.

Authorship agreements between researchers: the right to be acknowledged as the author

At the beginning of the project, the members of the research team must agree on the practical arrangements for fulfilling moral copyright, i.e. an author’s right to be acknowledged as the author.

Different fields of research have different practices regarding who is named as an author or other contributor of an academic publication. With research data, articles or other publications, it is necessary to agree on the naming of the authors, i.e. what level of contribution is required for the author status.

It is advised to draw up a written agreement on the principles of work distribution and authorship before commencing the project. Topics to consider include what kind of contributions are required for author status; who are the authors and how their naming order is determined; and on what basis are people credited in the publication.

The Finnish National Board of Research Integrity TENK has published guidelines for agreeing on authorship. The appendix section provides various templates that can be used when defining authorship roles and agreeing on authorship.

Authorship

In academic publishing, an author is a person who has contributed to the writing of a scientific article or other publication in such a major way that they need to be mentioned in the publication’s list of authors. Different fields have differing practices on who is mentioned in the list of authors of a collective publication.

According to the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK), the researchers taking part in research projects and other authors of collective publications should discuss authorship when planning research and make a written agreement. The authorship of doctoral dissertations should also be agreed upon early on.

The ethics committee of Uniarts Helsinki also recommends discussing beforehand and, if necessary, making agreements on the authorship of artistic productions.

Copyright and Copyright Act

Copyright is legislated in the Copyright Act (404/1961). According to the law, copyright comes automatically into existence when a work is produced. According to the Copyright Act, the person who has created an artistic work has the exclusive right to it. Copyright protects the economic and moral rights of the author.

Further information on copyright and agreements between researchers: Data Management Guidelines of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive.