Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ANU Open Access Policy

The Australian National University has released a new version of its Intellectual Property Policy and Guidelines to encourage open access to academic material, while staff still retain copyright on their material.

This is an issue which has been contentious at many universities. An example is Cambridge University, where I drawn into the discussion when I wrote an item about IP at Cambridge, which was cited in the internal debate.

Even where universities, such as ANU, have an open access policy, it can be difficult negotiating suitable arrangements at working level. One simple solution I use is to place a Creative Commons license on the courses and articles I write. I usually use the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia licence. With this licence I retain the right to be acknowledged as having created the material, but the ANU can make use of it and change it, without paying me any extra fee (as can anyone else). The only significant restriction is that if the university creates an improved version, they have to make it available to me, or anyone else, who wants to use it.

Use of a Creative Commons licence is acceptable to the ANU's lawyers, which comes as a surprise to many, who assume the university requires authors and course designers to sign away their intellectual property rights. Even so, it is a good idea to make sure you include the licence on every document you create for a course, or article, so that even if it is accidentally put into a template having a corporate copyright notice on it, your rights will be protected.

The licence I use allows the ANU to modify and use the course materials I have created. It also allows me to develop new versions of the material for use elsewhere. This allows me to draw on other open access material to use in courses. Using Open Access material save a lot of time negotiating licenses and arranging to pay fees for material used in courses (Google provide a special search for open access material).

Universities continually generate and transmit knowledge to society through research, education and academic publication. The ANU has a primary function of "advancing and transmitting knowledge, by research and teaching of the highest quality".[1]

Intellectual property rights ("IP") created from such activities give rise to the need for management through an IP policy. IP created in a university context usually (although not always) takes the form of copyright material or new inventions, and the knowledge embodied in IP offers additional opportunities for dissemination of knowledge for the benefit to society. Members of the university community have an interest in IP being managed to support the university mission outlined above, as well as a potential interest in equitable arrangements for the sharing of benefits from the commercialization of IP. The Intellectual Property Policy 2010 updates the University's 2002 framework for management of IP.

As in past policy, employees will generally own copyright in their scholarly works. Otherwise, (again as in past policy) the University will own IP created by employees. Students generally, and Higher Degree Research Students in particular, own all IP they solely create. Policies relating to the right of students to have their thesis examined and to copyright in their thesis remain in effect. The new policy permits the University to acquire the IP of a HDR Student. If such a situation arose, the student would be entitled to share in commercialisation benefits, in the same way as an employee.

A major aspect of the policy is its provisions relating to commercialization (Part 5). These provisions provide processes for effecting commercialisation and for sharing of benefits with originators. ...

From: Guidelines, ANU, Interllectual Property, 1 July 2010

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