Collaboration Priciples

In the interest of advancing science and creating new knowledge, we are happy to share the X-Culture© data with external researchers.

Basic principles

  • The overarching goal of the X-Culture project is a sustained creation of new knowledge.
  • We deliberately keep the rules flexible. Each research project is different and the different approaches may work best for different research teams.
  • As projects progress, changes in research team composition, workload distribution, and relative contributions of the different team members change. We act in good faith, give credit to those who deserve it and don’t claim credit when it is not deserved.

We recognize that:

  • Researchers, members of the X-Culture team or external, have certain preferences and need autonomy with respect to how they conduct their study, how the workload is distributed, and who is on their co-author team.
  • Researchers engage in research not only because they are genuinely interested in answering their research questions, but also because this is part of their job, and their research productivity, to a large extent, determines their job and promotion options and recognition in the field.
  • Researchers expect that their investment in a particular study will be properly recognized, including in a form of authorship of any resulting publications and presentations.
  • We also recognized that the authorship order matters, as well as that the general perception still is that the greater the number of co-authors, the less credit goes to the individual co-authors.
  • Researchers want protection of their intellectual property.
  • Thus, Researchers, internal or external to the X-Culture team, likely want to use X-Culture data as they see fit, receive help from the X-Culture team with paper development if further expertise is needed but not to be bothered otherwise, be listed as the first, and possibly sole author of any resulting publication, and be assured that the research ideas they put forth will not be “stolen” by others.

As much as we can, we will honor these wishes, not only for ethical reasons, but also because this is a foundation for interest and motivation to work with the X-Culture team. Nothing kills motivation more than free-riding and unfair treatment.

We hope you also recognize that:

  • Many members of the X-Culture team invest immense amounts of time and effort into making the X-Culture project possible, including in collecting the data. They too want their input to be recognized, both because it feels good to be recognized, but also because they too live in a publish-or-perish world.
  • Every data point in the X-Culture dataset is there because someone thought it could be used in future research, and took the time to design the survey, send out the invites and reminders, collect the data, build the database, prepare the supporting code books and other documentation, all while following proper data collection and management and research ethics guidelines. That is hundreds and even thousands of hours of work invested by some of the researchers on the X-Culture admin team to collect and make these data available for you.
  • There are many talented and experienced researchers on the X-Culture team who can make valuable contributions to many studies conducted based on the X-Culture data. Many of them will be genuinely interested and, most importantly, have the necessary skills and knowledge to make a truly valuable and meaningful contribution to a study proposed by external researchers. If not given an opportunity to participate, not only that may lead to reduced morale and motivation on our team, but also to beliefs, often justifiable, that the data should not be shared externally as the research ideas and expertise to conduct the study in question has been on the X-Culture team all along, we just didn’t have the time to get it yet.

Therefore, to provide motivation and mutually beneficial partnership for all concerned parties and ensure sustained creation of new knowledge, we follow the below-listed principles of open research collaboration:


Requesting Data for a New Study

To request the data, follow these guidelines:

Briefly, here is the rationale for the way we handle data requisition and sharing.

  • We ask for a study description first to determine that the idea is indeed new and nobody is working on the same study already. This is necessary to ensure that we do not end up with multiple people working on the same paper, one publishing the paper earlier thereby making it impossible for the others to submit their work as it will no longer be original.
  • We maintain a list of ongoing studies so that researchers interested in starting a new study could quickly check if their idea is indeed new.
  • Once a new study proposal is approved, the study description will be added to the list, thereby allowing the researcher to claim lead authorship on the project.
  • Once it is determined the study idea is new and the study is tentatively approved, we share the proposal with the X-Culture network. On the one hand, we want to make certain all people who are helping with the data collection are aware of how the data are used and can express their concerns and suggestions, if any.
  • On the other hand, if the Author of the new study feels he/she may need help with conducting the study, we encourage that the study proposal contains a general list of functions or task that must be performed to complete the study, preferably with notes as to what functions or tasks the researcher who is submitting the proposal has covered and where further help may be needed.
  • In response, members of the X-Culture team who have the necessary expertise and time to perform those functions can apply to co-author the study.
  • It is up to the researcher(s) who submit the study proposal to decide how to handle those applications: all or none of the applications can be accepted. That is, the researcher(s) who initiated the study can choose to work as the sole author and reject all applications for co-authorship, or if the applicant(s) seem to be able to make a valuable contribution to the proposed paper, they may be invited as co-authors.
  • It is recommended that if there is interest among the X-Culture team members to co-author the study, and the applicants have the necessary expertise, they be allowed to join the co-author team. The reason is not because we want a free ride, but because many members of the X-Culture team are indeed expert researchers, they know the X-Culture data and research design like no one else, have very strong work ethics and are likely to make a valuable and meaningful contribution and improve the quality of the final product.
  • The X-Culture project is uniquely positioned to provide peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities and we encourage mentorship and expertise sharing. While it is generally expected that co-authors are experts in the area of the study, when feasible, less experienced colleagues can be invited to perform routine task that do not require special skills or knowledge.


  • To (co)author a paper, one can either propose a new paper (and lead-author it), or respond to a call for co-authors from other researchers.
  • Signing up to co-author a project does not guarantee co-authorship on any of the resulting publications.
    The lead author has the right to reject applications if there is a doubt the applicant can make a truly meaningful contribution to the paper.
  • Only researchers who actively participate in development of a particular paper can be co-authors of that paper.
    Limited input such as providing occasional advice or reading the paper draft and providing comments on it is not sufficient to be listed as a co-author of the paper.
    However, researchers who provide substantial input with theory development, data preparation and management for this particular study, data analysis, paper write up, or provide valuable insights and help otherwise are expected to be listed as co-authors.
  • Generally, the researcher who submits the original proposal for a paper gets to be the first author, provided that the researcher takes on the leading role, coordinates efforts of the co-author team, and does otherwise most of the work or makes the most significant contribution to the study. Other lead-author arrangements are possible, and the decision is up to the co-authors of that particular paper.
  • The co-authors will be listed in the order of their individual contributions or alphabetically if the contribution level is approximately equal.
  • Unless otherwise agreed by the team of co-authors, it is the right and responsibility of the lead author to coordinate task and workload distribution among the participating co-authors, make certain that the tasks are completed on schedule, facilitate discussion among the members of the co-author team, and make other important decisions related to coordination and management of paper development.
  • The lead author must consult the co-authors on all important issues, such as adding or excluding co-authors, author order, and the like, but in the interest of efficiency, the lead author can make unilateral decisions about routine issues such as workload distribution and the like.
  • While these decisions are often not easy, in the interest of the success of the research efforts of the co-author team, it is the obligation of the lead author to not only keep track of performance of the co-authors, but also to initiate exclusion from the co-author team of the individuals who are not meeting the input expectations.

Study/Paper Ownership

  • As long as a research proposal for a study that uses X-Culture data has been approved, any researchers interested in conducting the same or similar studies can only work in collaboration with the original research team. The original research team and any new researchers are expected to work together to ensure that intellectual rights of the researcher(s) who originally came up with the idea are protected, as well as that all researchers who can make a valuable contribution to the study are given a chance.
  • To ensure that no research ideas are dropped due to inability of the lead author or co-author team to complete the study, the X-Culture team, and not individual internal or external researchers, retains ownership of any study or paper being developed using X-Culture data, from the moment the research proposal is approved. That means that in the cases when a researcher or a team of researchers suggest a study idea and start working on a paper, but for any reason cannot complete it in a reasonable time, the X-Culture team has the right to recompose the co-author team, finish the study and publish the paper. The new co-author team may not contain any or all of the original co-authors, including the researcher who originally came with the idea for the study.
  • Given the sensitivity of the issue, any decisions of this nature must be made in good faith and as much as possible in consultation with the members of the X-Culture team. As long as there is evidence that the original co-author team is actively working on the study, the team should be given no less than two years to produce the first complete draft of the paper, and no less than another two years to try to publish the paper.
  • However, if there is evidence that the co-author team is making no progress on the study, inquiry into the feasibility of allowing a new team of researchers to work on it is recommended even if the team has been working on the study for less than two years. The original members of the co-author team should be encouraged and allowed to continue working on the study, provided they are interested and capable of making a contribution to the study.
  • If it is determined that the original co-author team is incapable of publishing the study in a reasonable amount time and a new co-author team starts working on the study, the original and new co-authors are expected to work out the authorship issues so that the final list of co-authors on any resulting publications reflects individual contributions of all involved parties.

Data Ownership

  • While we believe in open data sharing, we must impose certain restrictions on ownership and sharing of our data.
  • X-Culture is team effort and it is our obligation to ensure that the X-Culture team members who directly contribute to data collection are given priority to develop papers based on the data. Also, we must protect intellectual rights of the internal and external researchers who approach us first with their research ideas. Finally, we must ensure that data are handled in accordance with the Research Ethics guidelines.
  • Therefore, the X-Culture team remains the sole owner and manager of the X-Culture data and retains the right to deny access to data or revoke access to the data at any time.
  • The data will be shared only after the research proposal is reviewed and approved by the X-Culture team and only a portion of the data pertaining to a given study will be shared with the research team.
  • When a new paper development proposal is approved and the author(s) obtained the data, they can only use the data for developing the approved paper and not use or share the data otherwise.
  • The X-Culture data can only be used for studies or purposes approved in advance and in writing by the X-Culture admin.
    That is: if you want to use the X-Culture data, you must send in a study/paper proposal. If it is approved, you can use the data only for this study/paper. If you see more possibly studies/papers based on the data you already have must submit a new study/paper proposal.
    This is extremely important. A failure to inform the X-Culture admin about any new studies can create duplicate research streams and conflicts.
    X-Culture reserves the right to revoke the data and inform the editors of the journals that the study was conducted without the permission for the data use. 

Conflict Resolution

  • In the publish-or-perish environment, research is a high-stakes game with a lot to gain and a lot to lose.
  • Although we haven’t had conflicts within the X-Culture team before, have no illusions – in a project of this scale and complexity, conflicts will happen.
  • When they do, the X-Culture team reserves the right to be the final authority in any disputes that may arise.
  • We don’t have the time or interest to compose long legal contracts and then fight about specific wording of the contact points. We simply do our best and act in good faith.
  • Join us only if you accept that if an argument cannot be resolved to a satisfaction of all involved parties, the X-Culture team, as represented by the Project Coordinator who consults all members of the X-Culture team, makes the final decision.
  • By joining us (using our data, writing papers with us, etc.) you agree, in a case of a dispute, to accept our decision as the final one.

We welcome comments and suggestions for further improvement of these principles

For more information: