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Open Research


Licences on publications, artworks, software and other intellectual property tell the user what they can and cannot do with a work. If you create a work you can share it with other people and choose the level of reuse, adaptation, commercialisation and so on you wish to be assigned to that item. Licences protect the originator and the user of a work. Below are some useful links to resources about licensing.

Legal guide to open access licences

The Publishing Research Consortium has produced a legal guide to open access licensing which is available via their website. This report covers copyright licensing, publishing agreements and open access and will of particular interest to those involved with the drafting and appraisal of licences and publishing agreements.

Copyright Licensing Agency

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) provides blanket licences to organisations in order for them to copy their licensed work. The CLA has a Higher Education Licence which provides permission to copy and scan books, journals and some digital material (within restrictions and strict CLA reporting procedures) and provide them for educational use in a restricted intranet such as Moodle to students on the course of study for which the copies are specifically prepared.

If you are not sure if the CLA Higher Education Licence covers the material you want to use you can make sure using their Check Permissions tool.

Creative Commons Licences

Creative Commons provides a simple way to license the content that you produce making it clear to the user what they can and cannot do with the work. It allows you as the creator to build a suitable licence and include it with the work that you share. Many open access policies require authors to use a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence. If you are unsure you can use the Creative Commons Choose a Licence tool. 

Text mining

In October 2014 the UK government changed the Copyright Act to allow text mining – the process of extracting high-quality information from text. Full details of this exception to copyright can be found here.

Who keeps records of data-licensing purchases with third-parties?

The University Library is the body responsible for licensing online databases, both citation and full-text, via subscription or outright purchase, for the University.  They are managed and paid for by the University Library although departments and faculties sometimes contribute.  In theory there is nothing to stop another organisation taking out a licence but publishers will normally license only to the whole university and not part of it so we would all enjoy access while the licensing organisation paid.  In practice it might be difficult for a department to subscribe because national pricing deals are available only to official representatives in the library and the publisher will often require the signature of the University Library representative on the licence rather than that of an academic department or research group.

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The Office of Scholarly Communication sends this Newsletter to its subscribers in order to disseminate information relevant to open access, research data management, scholarly communication and open research topics. For details on how the personal information you enter here is used, please see our privacy policy