GEOList Summary: Evaluation Contract Language
We are interested in updating language in our evaluation contracts related to ownership of the knowledge generated through that evaluation work. Many of the entities who partner with us to evaluate our work are researchers on the topic we are evaluating (for instance, the evaluation partner for our Healthy Schools Healthy Communities work has a robust portfolio of experience publishing on conditions for promoting healthy behaviors in communities). As such, we view the evaluation as mutually beneficial, giving the Foundation information on the effectiveness of our work but also allowing our work to contribute to the broader field of knowledge and research on a particular topic. We recently realized that standard language in our contracts is at odds with the idea that our evaluations are not simply contracts for services for the Foundation but contributing to the broader field of research. Specifically, our contract language states that the evaluator must get permission and approval from the Foundation prior to publishing or presenting on our work. There are certain scenarios where this makes sense but, more and more, we are coming across scenarios where we want to give other entities freedom to work with our information.
As a Foundation we are committed to sharing what has and hasn’t been effective in our work, contributing knowledge gained to the broader field. That said, there is concern from a legal perspective of handing over all permissions to publish using data and information generated from our work. I am interested to know if anyone has created contract language that acknowledges the mutually beneficial nature of this work, protecting the Foundation’s interest and giving research partners the freedom necessary to pursue their work.