Copyright related to research


Publication – things to consider

  • King’s Research Publication Policy
  • Your funders’ Open Access Policies
  • Publishers contract terms
  • Research Data - Has the research yielded data that is re-useable by others? How is it being managed? Stored? Made accessible?
  • Inclusion of material on websites, blogs etc is considered publication 

Your Copyright

Kings Code of Practice for Intellectual Property, Commercial Exploitation and Financial Benefit applies to all staff and covers intellectual property rights - including copyright, in, amongst other things, works created using university equipment or facilities including manuscripts for publication in academic journals, monographs, book chapters and books. The university claims ownership of the IP in such works, including the copyright, but to enable scholarly publication the university typically waive its rights in such works.

When publishing with an academic publisher check what they are requiring you to sign. Be aware of the Open Access agenda. Utilise Creative Commons licenses or the equivalent.  

Publications and Copyright

Academic journal publishers typically require authors to sign a contract which incorporates a ‘Copyright Transfer Agreement’ (CTA) where the author assigns the copyright in the paper to the publisher in return for them publishing it within their journal. The publisher will licence back usage of the paper by the author and their institution in a way which does not conflict with their financial interest. It is possible for authors to negotiate the terms of these contracts and retain some of their copyright. Template forms have been developed to assist with this, see the SPARC Author Addendum

Research Data and Copyright

As with publications, copyright in the research data produced by researchers is typically owned by the institution. For more information visit our web page on research data and copyright

PhD Theses and Copyright

  • It is generally understood that a bound copy of a PhD theses held in a university library is not considered as being published/a publication, but an electronic etheses version hosted in a repository or web page and available online is considered to be published/a publication.
  • As such, it is important to ensure good academic practice on citation of incorporated 3rd party material within a thesis. This includes images, graphs, drawings, anything the author did not create.
  • Modest amounts of 3rd party material can be included in a PhD theses under the copyright exception of fair dealing for criticism or review. If more extensive amounts of material are included permission to include may need to be sought from the rights owner. If permission isn’t given a decision will need to be made about whether to risk keeping the content is it is, substituting other content, or redacting problematic material in the etheses version.
  • At King’s, electronic versions of PhD theses that have been awarded are made available online via the front end of King’s CRIS and institutional system Pure – the Research Portal  and are also surfaced in the British Library’s EThOS system, along with theses from the majority of UK universities.

Copyright Exceptions

In 2014 a number of copyright exceptions were introduced into UK law, modifying the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. They are intended to support greater usage of copyrighted materials for non-commercial purposes.

The law already permitted limited copying of some types of copyright material, such as books, for non-commercial research or genuine private study. The law was changed so that all types of copyright works are covered and if a researcher is carrying out non-commercial research they will not infringe copyright by copying material for text and data mining analysis.

This guide explains about the new exceptions related to Research and Private Study in more detail. It explains:  The amount of a copyrighted work that can be copied is restricted to “fair dealing”, which rules out unfair or unreasonable uses such as copying a whole film for “research” instead of buying the DVD. Use of a copy should be accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement e.g. in a reference or bibliography.

What is fair dealing?

“Fair dealing” is a legal term used to establish whether a use of copyright material is lawful or whether it infringes copyright. There is no statutory definition of fair dealing - it will always be a matter of fact, degree and impression in each case. The question to be asked is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have dealt with the work? Factors that have been identified by the courts as relevant in determining whether a particular dealing with a work is fair, include:

  • Does using the work affect the market for the original work? If a use of a work acts as a substitute for it, causing the owner to lose revenue, then it is not likely to be fair.
  • Is the amount of the work taken reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount that was taken? Usually only part of a work may be used.

The relative importance of any one factor will vary according to the case in hand and the type of dealing in question.

  • Last Updated Aug 24, 2022
  • Views 1896
  • Answered By Pete Garner

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