UQ Law researchers prompt a new way to recognise Indigenous knowledge

29 Sep 2020

Following efforts by UQ Law researchers, The Conversation has made changes to ensure authors who are contributing Indigenous knowledge are acknowledged. 

Our researchers were contributing an article about changes to biodiscovery laws in Queensland. Queensland's laws are being updated to better reflect Indigenous knowledge, and one of the co-authors of the article was contributing Indigenous knowledge. Without having a university affiliation, the Indigenous contributor was unable to be acknowledged under The Conversation's existing policies. So what did our researchers do to create change? 

One of the unique things about our article was that the author list included a Traditional Owner who did not have a university affiliation (David Claudie, Kuuku I’yu Northern Kaanju Traditional Owner). This was possible because we pushed back against The Conversation’s previous policy, which was to exclude non-university researchers from authorship and list them at the bottom of the article as ‘contributors’.

Our pushback helped to motivate a major re-evaluation at The Conversation, and they have announced several measures today to better recognise Indigenous knowledge: (and have noted on the website and in the announcement that it was our article that prompted the change).

This is a really exciting development, and we’d love for people to be aware of the changes, especially researchers who are collaborating with Indigenous people, or doing research that may use Indigenous knowledge.

- Jocelyn Bosse and David Jefferson


We look forward to an increasing presence for Indigenous people and knowledge arising from this new way to recognise Indigenous knowledge.

Read the announcement in The Conversation.

Read the article by our researchers about law governing biodiscovery that started the change.