Information for researchers
In the research world it is often the copyright situation that can be confusing. To re-use other people’s material (e.g. figures or tables) in your own article you must have the permission of the copyright holder (as well as referencing the source, i.e. referencing alone is often not enough). To re-use your own previously published figures and tables, you often also need to get the permission of the copyright holder. The latter being true because it is still standard practice in the academic world to sign the copyright for an article over to the publisher. Some publishers give authors “retained rights” (read the Copyright Transfer Agreement) which allow re-use of one’s own material in a subsequent publication for teaching or research use. The latter is not standard and must be checked on a publisher-by-publisher basis.
With the growing trend towards open access publishing the situation can be seen as more confusing. Whether one is referring to an open access publication or anything on the internet, just because it is free to download does not mean that one can re-use that material in a subsequent publication (even if one references the source). The copyright holder’s permission must be obtained. For many of the larger open access publishers, there is a common licensing arrangement, Creative Commons. In these cases one can make use of other’s figures etc. by giving attribution and following the rules of the license.
The plagiarism group is happy to answer questions about copyright issues as they pertain to articles, chapters, books and theses either individually or in seminar format. We can also provide some guidance if your work has been used by others without your permission.
Questions and Answers
We have put together a Q & A page about copyright and plagiarism.
We would also be more than happy to come and talk to your course/department/research group (20-30 minutes usually works well) – our experience is that most people from research leaders to students do not really understand copyright and plagiarism and a refresher can be rather useful.
Last updated: 2013-04-08