This article provides a conceptual discussion of ‘ownership’ in various forms of participatory research. The discussion is grounded in our experiences from three research projects in science education. We seek to understand how and why ownership may be distributed between teachers and researchers at different stages in the research process. Looking at our projects in retrospect, we see that ownership was differently distributed at the initial stages. Then ownership distribution followed a similar pathway, as teachers gained ownership of implementation, whereas researchers reclaimed ownership of analyzing and disseminating the work. Our discussion departs from the idea that ownership relates to both ‘risks’ and ‘benefits’ as well as to both ‘rights and obligations. Thereby, we can make visible some of the circumstances that steer ownership towards the teachers or researchers. For example, we highlight that ownership distribution may be influenced by guidelines for research ethics and inequalities in terms of administrative support structures available to researchers and teachers. Based on our discussion, we suggest a number of questions to initiate and support a continuous dialogue between teachers and researchers who plan to engage in participatory research.