How understanding Copyright helps you open up your research
By Harry, on 14 March 2023
Guest post by Christine Daoutis, Copyright Support Officer
“Can use this image I found free online?”
“I’m not sure how much of a book or an article it’s OK to copy”.
“This is my article; surely I can post it anywhere I want?”
These questions, and quite a few others, often come up in everyday research practice. They are all related to copyright. Whether you are reusing others’ materials (documents, figures, photos, video, software, data) or creating and sharing your own, understanding copyright ensures not only that you can respect others’ rights and stay within the law, but also that you can open up your research.
But understanding copyright is much more than a legal compliance issue. It is also more than an academic integrity issue. In short, it’s not just about following the rules, but also about understanding your own rights and using the rules flexibly. You can use your copyright knowledge as a tool to open up, rather than restrict, your research. For example, relying on copyright exceptions, and knowing how to find, reuse and acknowledge openly licensed materials, can give you much more freedom in how you can reuse others’ works. Crucially, knowing your rights as authors also allows you to share your research openly and, through licensing, determine how others may reuse it. Open Science practices – open access to publications, open data, open source software and hardware, co-creation projects – rely on an understanding of copyright.
To help you increase your knowledge and confidence around copyright, you can do any of the following:
- Complete the 3-minute UCL copyright support survey to rate your confidence and tell us what support you need. If you are not sure what you need to know, the survey gives you some ideas to choose from. Currently open until 31 March 2023.
- Complete the 20-minute Copyright Essentials online module. You will learn the basics at your own pace, using quizzes, short videos and academic-based scenarios.
- Book a training session delivered the copyright support team. These can be in person or online, and offer you the chance to ask questions.
- Visit the UCL copyright website for guidance on specific copyright topics.
- Follow the copyright blog for topical articles and updates.
- Contact the UCL copyright support team if you have a specific question, or would like to arrange bespoke training.