CIARD Virtual Fair - Pathway
Ownership (copyright) of research outputs may reside with an individual, with his or her institution, or with other third parties. A copyright owner can allow other individuals or organizations various uses of the copyright material through licensing. Licensing is of great importance as a tool which encourages and extends the use and reuse of research outputs.
By following this Pathway you will learn how to manage the rights of your institution’s digital content in order to stimulate its’ use and reuse.
What do you need to know?
Copyright is a property right which authors have in relation to the works they create. It is a right to stop (or control) others from copying or exploiting the author’s works without permission. The individual author, or his or her institution, will often own copyright in their research outputs. Copyright may however be owned instead by the research funder, or a publisher who is publishing the work, or, for instance, an individual who created images used in the work.
A licence is an agreement, or a statement for users generally, that defines what a user (as an individual or an institution) is allowed to do with the copyrighted materials.
What do you need to do?
There are many benefits from allowing your institution’s research outputs to be used and reused as widely as possible. However, in some cases, you may need to control access to certain items, for instance research articles where the publisher imposes an embargo period after publication, or theses covered by an embargo for a period after the award of a degree.
First of all, be clear about whether your institution or individuals within it own your research outputs (i.e. hold copyright in them). There may be reasons why you do not – see below under Restrictions. Then you can create a licence which states what users are allowed to do with the outputs (see, for instance, Creative Commons and Science Commons in Examples). Policies governing use and re-use should always be defined explicitly on your repository and web sites. Your licence should cover all types of content, including metadata (metadata is data that describes the content of the repository. See the CIARD Pathway on ‘Develop a Repository for Digital Content’ for more information on this). Without an explicit licence, people should assume that they do not have permission to re-use content.
Your licence can place heavy restrictions on users limiting them to only looking at and reading content, or you may allow complete freedom to use and re-use in any way that is legal (this is called ‘putting into the public domain’). There are many possibilities between these two extremes.
It tends to be an accepted principle that metadata may be re-used for not-for-profit (non-commercial) purposes without prior permission in any medium. Usually a link to the original item or an acknowledgement of the source is requested. You may even allow your metadata to be re-used commercially - there are benefits from the additional exposure of your material. For other content, it is helpful to allow multiple copies to be made - for instance, for lecturers' handouts. Generally speaking, repository licences do not allow commercial re-use of full items without prior permission of the copyright holder.
Conditions for use and re-use do not necessarily have to apply to your content as a whole. Individual items can be assigned differing rights permissions and conditions if required.
Some Usage Restrictions
You may be creating licences governing your institution’s content. Alternatively, you may need to be licensed by a third party who is in fact the copyright holder of your content, or who has imposed certain conditions on certain research outputs. Some examples of this are:
2. Books and book chapters – this will have been defined in the agreement signed between the author and publisher. For new agreements a flexible arrangement on copyright and/or licensing of usage may be negotiated.
3. Images - ideally, permission should be obtained when an image is taken for it to be used in other ways than that for which it was initially intended. Trying to obtain permission at a later date can be time-consuming.
4. Funding agency mandates - a number of research funders now have rules in place which make deposit in an open access repository a requirement of any grant. Other funders make a strong recommendation for deposit, or may make additional funds available for publication in an open access journal, or in one of the hybrid journals set up by some publishers. See JULIET in Examples.
It is now more common to be able to negotiate with publishers and other bodies to retain copyright in your works, or at least to be licensed by the copyright holder to be able to work flexibly with your outputs.
There are many sources of advice on the internet and elsewhere on copyright and licensing – for instance see www.copyrightanswers.blogspot.com for a useful resource where you can ask questions. Another useful site is the JISC-SURF Copyright Toolbox – http://copyrighttoolbox.surf.nl/copyrighttoolbox/. However, if you have any doubts or uncertainties it is always safest to seek legal advice directly from practitioners you know.
Creative Commons has developed licences and other legal advice to help authors keep their copyright while allowing use and reuse of materials. Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators mark their work with the flexibility they want it to have. (http://creativecommons.org)
Science Commons is working to extend many of the Creative Commons principles specifically into the scientific world. (http://sciencecommons.org)
SHERPA (including RoMEO and JULIET) is a project, and several associated web sites, providing information on copyright, licensing, and associated legal issues for those developing digital repositories and opening up their content to wider usage. (http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/)