Research projects involving traditional knowledge are finding new ways of dealing with intellectual property rights and commercialisation. Influenced by calls for fair and equitable protocols involving access and benefit sharing regimes, researchers are developing new standards of practice. Here this paper aims to explore the process by which the CIHR Team in Aboriginal Antidiabetic Medicine (TAAM) came to address these issues within the scope of participatory action research.
A case study method is applied in order to highlight key events and topics. The legally binding research agreement developed for this project is used to illustrate examples of how the needs of First Nations stakeholders and of researchers are met.
The paper finds that strong research partnerships are characterized by accountability, adaptability, transparency, good and frequent communication and ultimately, trust. Researchers should be prepared to take a more “human” approach in their studies as the establishment of personal relationships are as important as the research itself. Proposals should include both monetary and intangible outcomes where possible, which reflect aboriginal culture and decision.
This paper can help others to understand the needs of aboriginal peoples with regard to research. It also provides links to protocols and the legal research agreement used by TAAM that can serve as an adaptable template for future work.
Publicising the research agreement and experiences herein is meant to contribute to a body of knowledge that will one day lead to new research norms when dealing with aboriginal peoples and traditional knowledge.
Cuerrier, A., Downing, A., Patterson, E. and Haddad, P. (2012), "Aboriginal antidiabetic plant project with the James Bay Cree of Québec: An insightful collaboration", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 251-270. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506201211258414
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