November 22, 2011

Thing 13: Copyright, Creative Commons and You

With the rise of open access and the increasingly ubiquitous nature of the Internet has come a heightened awareness of copyright in relation to digital content. Journal publishers have introduced a range of additional permissions to allow author’s to make versions available and the Creative Commons (CC) licenses have been introduced to allow scholars more protection and more flexibility to collaborate.

For research postgraduates copyright is an important consideration when considering electronic availability of their thesis. Since the introduction of the University policy in 2008 requiring that all students submit an electronic version of their thesis, copyright of both the students own material and material they have used has been a concern to postgraduate researchers. This has been the first experience of formal publication for some students and should be approached in this way.

To complete this thing please read the advice on the WRAP pages and blog about what areas of your research you might have to take special care over when considering the electronic availability of your thesis.

CC logo

Creative Commons is a system of licenses that people can use to tell people what rights they reserve and which rights they have waived for users of their electronic content. For example many people who use Flickr to host their photos will give them a CC license to show that they are happy with people reusing their images but not with them selling the images to others. This photo on Flickr shows the license in the owner settings at the bottom right hand side. If, when you submit your thesis, you decide you would like to use a CC license for your content, please get in touch with the WRAP team and we can discuss what options are available.

CC logo bar

You may also see CC licenses (represented by logos like the one above) on whole journals or on individual journal articles. CC licenses are a growing alternative to the traditional Copyright Transfer Agreements (CTA) signed by researchers that often give complete rights over the researchers’ work to the publisher. Which is one of the main reasons to carefully read any CTA you are asked to sign, so you are aware of what rights you retain and how this affects what you can do with your publication in future. The Directory of Open Access Journals list over 7000 open access journals covering all fields many of which use a CC license.

Additional Things:

Investigate one of the best known open access journals, PLoS ONE, which covers reports on primary research in any scientific discipline. All the articles published by PLoS ONE are available under the Creative Commons Attribution License and also incorporate social collaboration tools such as comments and sharing options.

Further information:

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