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Copyright: Information for Researchers

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg

Online Training for Researchers - Intellectual Property Office (IPO)

IP for Research Toolkit

Explore the library of materials available from IPO to find the guidance most relevant to you. Login or register to access

Who is this for? This toolkit has been created with Vitae - the professional body within the UK developing researchers - to enable UK institutions to develop the intellectual property (IP) knowledge of their own researchers.  This may be used by researcher developers, staff in technology transfer offices, academic supervisors, faculty or department heads and anyone else involved in UK research.It is important that all individuals involved in academia have an understanding of IP and are able to make informed decisions about the IP generated either by themselves or others.

Tools to help you with Plan S Rights Retention

Video Case Study (IPO) How do I protect the copyright in my book?

Open Access Book Chapters

External Guides

Copyright in Abstracts, Reports & Unpublished Conference Papers

Abstracts: copyright is normally applicable to published abstracts. However, it is permitted for scientific and technical abstracts to be copied under section 60 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. 

Section 60.     Abstracts of scientific or technical articles
(1)Where an article on a scientific or technical subject is published in a periodical accompanied by an abstract indicating the contents of the article, it is not  an infringement of copyright in the abstract, or in the article, to copy the abstract or issue copies of it to the public.
(2)This section does not apply if or to the extent that there is a licensing scheme certified for the purposes of this section under section 143 providing for the grant of licences.

You will need to obtain permission from the publisher to re-use published abstracts for the Arts & Humanities. Alternatively, create your own abstract.

Unpublished conference paper: where no publisher agreement has been signed for an unpublished conference paper you will hold the copyright and may self-archive in a repository. Please ensure that you have not included any third party content without permission.  If you intend to publish in a journal, ensure that self-deposit in a repository is not regarded as prior publication with any prospective publisher.

Reports written for a third party organisation may have very specific author re-use rights assigned to the project. Where permission is required, contact the commissioning organisation.

Open Government Licence (OGL) - Crown Body employees e.g. from the National Archives, Welsh Government etc. (full list here) are subject to Crown Copyright under section 163 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.

However, in order to facilitate the re-use of a wide range of public sector information free of charge in accordance with the 2015 Regulations on the Re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI), the OGL has been introduced. When Crown bodies are involved in publicly funded research collaborations with HEIs, the research output should be made available using the OGL which allows a re-user, free of charge, to copy, publish, distribute, transmit, adapt and exploit information both commercially and non-commercial for the life of the work, providing the source of the information is acknowledged by including or linking to an attribution statement. Visit the National Archives 'copyright notices and attribution statements' page for good attribution examples for a wide variety of output types.

Text and Data Mining - Research Data Support Services

Research Data Support Services for Researchers

Please visit our Research Data Support Services for Researchers research guide for extensive information on data management planning, working with data, archiving data and text and data mining. You can contact the Research Data Manager at

Commercially Developing Your IP

Scholarly Works - Author Agreements With Publishers

Authors are strongly encouraged to retain specific rights to self-archive published works. As the creator of a work, copyright is normally your own property unless you transfer it to another party or it is owned by your employer. However, despite the fact that you are not obliged to transfer exclusive copyright, most academic publishers of traditional subscription journals expect you to do so as a condition of publication.

It is accepted that normally you will own the copyright in the first draft; upon acceptance for publication you will be required to assign copyright in subsequent versions to the publisher by signing a copyright transfer agreement. Sometimes, you may have retained the copyright by signing an exclusive licence to publish; it is important to check carefully what you are allowed to do. If the agreement you signed does not cover your intended use then you must obtain permission. Most publishers now give details of their specific rules in the 'Author Right's section of their websites.


The SHERPA/RoMEO database provides clear summaries of standard copyright agreements for publishers and links to detailed policies on publisher websites.

Use Creative Commons Licensing
By using the Creative Commons suite of licenses you can retain control of the terms under which your work is distributed and re-used.  Increasingly the CC-BY license is required to meet funding body requirements in the UK. This license permits users to share and re-use published works provided the original author is attributed.

Plan S Infographic - What Do I have to Do?


Rights Retention - add a Creative Commons license to your work

Creative Commons (CCL) are pre-prepared licences that are intended to help copyright holders distribute their work; they define how it can be used by others without the need to grant permission each time someone wants to use it.            

Creative Commons, has a number of model licences which authors can apply ‘as given’ or adapted to their requirements.  The licences contain four main elements:

  • Attribution (BY)- You must credit the licensor of the work.                 
  • Non Commercial (NC)- You can only use the work for non-commercial purposes                 
  • No Derivatives (ND)- You may not create adaptations of the work.                 
  • Share alike (SA)- You may create adaptations of the work, but these must be under the same licence as this work.                 

These elements then combine to form six licences plus a final CC Zero or public domain licence which purports to waive all rights to the material it is applied to.               

  • Attribution-Only (CC-BY)              
  • Attribution-No-Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)               
  • Attribution-Non-Commercial No–Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)                 
  • Attribution-Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC)                 
  • Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)                 
  • Attribution-Share Alike (CC-BY-SA)                 
  • Public Domain (CC-0)

Author Services

Society of Authors 
The SoA is a trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. They provide legal and copyright advice to members.

Library Research Support

Please visit our Research Support webpage for information on RIS & Cronfa, Open Access, Article Processing Charges, Research Data Management, Getting Published, Promoting Research and Postgraduate Training