Oil companies conduct large numbers of studies and interpretations internally and through paid services. It could be a special seismic processing or a high-resolution 3-D model; a detailed sequence stratigraphic framework, high-resolution petrophysical interpretation, fault architecture, petroleum system models, seismic reservoir characterization are all some examples of such internal work.
Most such studies are not published in any open forum.
Frequently, academic or open research is conducted in collaboration with external agencies on specific topics. These could be on depositional models, laboratory studies on core or regional constructions. Such studies are exposed to voluminous unpublished internal study material for the purpose of correct and complete assimilation of available data and information.
Publications are normally encouraged from these research pursuits. In such publications, the authors are limited to the team that conducted the open study – however, they can and often do use high value data, interpretations and inferences that came from earlier unpublished material of the company.
Situations where the results of openstudy are directly impacted by and dependent on the internal material is quite normal. The portions of unpublished data (from the various internal studies) per se are screened and approved for disclosure by the company. There is no issue of confidentiality.
The question is about intellectual ownership of the disclosed material.
Papers that use and disclose earlier unpublished work of noteworthy scientific value – in a substantive, technical sense in their work – are refraining from referring formally to the internal reports. Most journals (even AAPG) do not want such references.
However, once in print, the same material will be automatically assigned the ownership of the paper¹s authors.
Any number of examples can be conceived with such situations, where someone working on creating new organic geochemistry data gets credited for sequence stratigraphy!
Any answers out there? I need help and guidance!
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