There are a few factors that need to be considered when you’re planning to publish research, including:
When publishing research that includes other people’s material, permission prior to publication is generally needed from the copyright owner. Accurately citing the source within your publication is required regardless of whether permission is also required.
Permission may not be required if:
Examples of materials for which you will need permission to reproduce include:
If using published material, the first point of contact is usually the publisher, who may be able grant permission or provide information about whom to contact. For unpublished material, the first point of contact is usually the author.
A publisher will generally expect that you secure these permissions yourself. To warrant that this has been done, publishers often require copies of the permissions. This process is often referred to by publishers as obtaining copyright clearance. When in doubt, check with your publisher.
Best practice is to get the permission in writing. Retain copies of permissions for your own records.
When requesting permission, it is important to be clear about your intended use of the material, the nature and purpose of the new work you are creating, the size and nature of the intended audience and how you intend to distribute it.
Many major publisher websites have detailed guidelines on how to ask for permission, with some providing online forms.
It is important to plan and allow plenty of time to obtain copyright permission.
For more information, check the Australian copyright council information sheet Permission: How to get it
When researchers are considering publishing their work, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration. These include:
Authors own the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute and modify their materials, unless copyright has been transferred to another person or organisation.
When submitting a work to a publisher, the author of the work may be asked to sign a publisher agreement (also known as an author agreement). A publisher author agreement is a legal contract between the author and the publisher. Amongst other things, a publisher agreement will determine:
Whilst publishers do require a licence to distribute your work, it is not necessary to transfer all your rights to the publisher. For this reason, it is important to read the agreement carefully and clearly understand the terms of the agreement, before signing.
An ideal publisher agreement is one that allows the author to keep copyright in the work and transfer limited rights to the publisher so that the publisher can distribute the author’s work. If this is not possible, then at a minimum the agreement should allow the author to keep some rights by providing the author with a non-exclusive licence to reuse their own work.
The following are some of the rights to consider retaining when negotiating a publisher agreement:
Publishing open access
It might be appropriate to make your research output or creative work available to others under an open licence, such as a Creative Commons licence. Benefits for making your work available open access include:
The UNSW open access policy has been in place since June 2017. UNSW supports open access to research outputs produced at UNSW and recognises that making outputs openly available maximises impact and exposure of the work.
In Australia, copyright material is subject to copyright as soon as it is created. The author or creator does not have to do anything to gain copyright and protection for their work but you might want to protect and effectively manage your rights.
In Australia, some copyright works are subject to legal deposit. The National library of Australia website provides more information about legal deposit and what kinds of works must be deposited.
If your work is subject to legal deposit in New South Wales see ISBNs and legal deposits for deposit locations.
While there is no requirement to put a copyright statement on your work, it is good practice. It alerts the world that it is copyright material and that you are the owner. It should include:
For example. © John Smith 2019 firstname.lastname@example.org All rights reserved.
Another example: © Copyright The University of New South Wales
Other steps which will help protect your work:
The Copyright Agency is the body that collects the remuneration from educational institutions and government departments for the copying and communication of published material. It is then responsible for distributing money to copyright owners whose works are copied, but only if they are members of the Copyright Agency. You can find out more about membership by visiting the Copyright Agency website.
There are copyright collecting societies for all kinds of copyright materials. More information about Australian copyright collecting societies for music, lyrics, sound recordings, music videos, visual arts, film and literature can be found on the Arts law centre of Australia’s information sheet on copyright collecting societies.
You may be considered a publisher if you make copyright works publicly available through managing a website, editing a journal or issuing conference proceedings. If you are responsible for making works publicly available, you should consider issues of copyright and moral rights in the works you publish.
The Copyright Act 1968 defines publication as follows:
As a publisher, it important that permission has been granted by the copyright owner to include each work (e.g. article, paper, thesis, book, photograph, map, video, sound file) that appears on the publisher’s website or in other publications.
Permissions should be obtained in writing and should be retained for future reference. Use reasonable measures to ensure that the permission is given by a party who is authorised to give it. The original creator of the work is not always the rights holder, and they may not have the authority to grant permission for use.
When requesting permission from a creator to use their work, you may want the creator to warrant that they have secured all necessary permissions for the copyright material in their own work and that the work does not include any data or information that is private, defamatory or confidential.
Using student content
Work produced by a student is protected by copyright, and as a general rule the owner is the student unless there is a written agreement transferring ownership. If you wish to showcase a student’s work on a website or in a publication, you will need permission from the student.
As a publisher, you also have an obligation to respect creators’ moral rights. Moral rights are personal rights that belong to an author even if the copyright in the work has been transferred to someone else.
Creators have the right to be identified as the creator of their works, the right to prevent others from being falsely named as the creators of their works and the right to ensure that their works are not subject to derogatory treatment.
UNSWorks is the UNSW Open Access institutional repository which enables UNSW researchers to make their research outputs freely available and accessible.
Unless otherwise stated, materials deposited in UNSWorks are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives Licence (CC BY-NC-ND). This licence permits the use of the material subject to the following conditions:
When depositing research output to UNSWorks via ROS, you will be prompted to select a licence agreement before you can submit the publication. For a copy of these licences or for more information, see UNSWorks.