Research contracts should generally allow the researcher a right to publish freely the results of the project. If intellectual property rights are owned by another party, the University will need to seek a licence if it wishes to publish any research results.


In some cases, a party may be unwilling to grant a publication licence, or may grant it subject to conditions. Reasonable restrictions may be necessary, for example to protect a party’s confidential information or intellectual property rights (e.g. patent protection).

If any limits on publication are proposed, researchers should consider:

  • whether any restrictions apply mutually or to only one party
  • if the proposed limits are reasonable
  • if the other party’s right to consent or refuse is absolute or limited
  • the period of time any restrictions can apply for.

Types of publication

‘Publication’ can include written or verbal publications, for example a journal publication or a conference paper, depending on how this is defined in the contract. Researchers should also be aware of any publicity and acknowledgment requirements that might affect publication (see: Publicity and Acknowledgments).

Note if any rights are granted to another party, this may affect the researcher’s ability to grant an exclusive licence to a prospective publisher.

Other parties

Publication restrictions may also apply to collaborators, sub-contractors or students involved in the project, and the University will need to ensure they can also comply (see: Student involvement). 

Further information

If you have any queries, please contact Legal Services for advice on 9479 2495.

This article provides general information only. It is not a complete or definitive statement of the law on the subject matter. Formal legal advice should be sought in relation to particular matters.