Research Pages on University Websites : CC BY licences?

With my  Scibella  hat on, one aim in 2013 is to  campaign for CC-BY “open”  licencing terms for research pages on university websites. It’s time to drag whoever writes their website T&Cs  away from a vision of university research as a “club for gentlemen & scholars “.    So have just commented on Guardian article

“Where are university websites hiding all their research?”

Mainly a cut and paste job from section 2 of my BIS select committee submission

with added Gateway to Research OGL licence (hooray,hooray) angle.

I would agree with Ian Carter of the University of Sussex that “presenting research and knowledge exchange information online is important as the university’s website is an entry point for potential funders, customers, partners and researchers themselves.”

A 2010 NESTA-RIN report characterised these research outputs as the “translating and engaging” part of the research cycle :

“involving the envisaged users of the research in actual or potential applications of it, in other research fields, commercialisation or policy” means of “General articles, web pages, briefings, public exhibits, presentations”

Source: Open to All? Case studies of openness in research,

It would seem obvious that the widest dissemination, within and beyond the UK, of this “translate & engage” information would be of great economic value. However, at present, nearly all of this information is only available under university website copyright terms & conditions which limit its use to non-commercial private research & study. Re-use for any other purpose is forbidden without “express written consent”—even if you are a non-commercial academic researcher.

Recently RCUK set up Gateway to Research, a portal for research grants, “aimed at those that wish to access UK research information, with a particular focus on innovation intensive SMEs, who wish to understand the UK research base”- ( ) using the Open Government Licence (more or less equivalent to a CC-BY licence). Under “Intellectual Property” ( ) they say:

“If an individual or a company wishes to learn more about a research project or gain access to IP, they should contact the host Research Organisation. Research Councils expect both the host Research Organisation and interested parties to take effective decisions about intellectual asset management that deliver the most benefit to society and the economy. This will include recognising circumstances where the publication of research outcomes or free dissemination to users might be the most effective approach.”

At present a innovative SME going from Gateway to Research to a university website to learn more about a research project,or a researcher,infringes the terms of use for that website if they make any copy of that information without “prior written permission”! Not quite the best way to deliver the most benefit to society and the economy.

Time for university website managers and others responsible for website T&Cs to get in line with the RCUK and change to a CC-BY or OGL licence for university website research pages?   “

This entry was posted in Intellectual Property and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s