Ecological field researchers mostly work on other people's lands. Agreements to do this work are standard practice, but the way that researchers must approach and determine agreements is changing rapidly. The rise in agency of Indigenous peoples and the massive increase in Indigenous-owned and managed lands, coupled with the rise in other private- and corporate-owned conservation lands, have had direct impacts on researchers. Most of these impacts are beneficial to researchers, and benefit sharing has now become the norm wherein Indigenous people and private conservation landholders expect equitable beneficial returns from the research. Likewise, research questions are more frequently driven by landholders. New rules about engaging with Indigenous people and other private landholders need to be understood by researchers, because these rules can determine the outcomes of applications to work on other people's lands and the research conducted. This article presents some experience and observations from Indigenous landholders who have worked with research protocols and other people who have worked on Indigenous lands. Some learned principles that can benefit researchers are presented. Implications for managers Research protocols determine if and how research is to be conducted, how landholders are to be engaged and acknowledged and what and how research outcomes are to be published and reported Agreements must be reached between researchers and landholders before research is conducted Agreements are becoming more legally binding Joint authorship is becoming more common, and this may influence how the scientific methods and process are understood Cultural and social matters are core to research protocol negotiation in many instances and may require researchers to think differently from the ways in which they have been educated.