Copyright is an internationally recognised form of intellectual property right, which arises automatically as a result of original work such as research. It does not need to be registered to apply to a piece of work.
Copyrighted output from research could include spreadsheets (and other forms of originally selected and organised data), publications, reports and computer programs. Copyright will not cover the underlying facts, ideas or concepts, but only the particular way in which they have been expressed. The right will lie with the author of the work, or with their relevant institution—different universities will have different policies on intellectual property.
A copyrighted work cannot usually be published, reproduced, adapted or translated without the owner’s permission.
Whether you want to reuse someone else's data or if you are planning to archive and share your own, you should ask yourself who the copyright holder of the datasets is (also see 'Licensing your data'). Are you allowed to use them and in what way? Are you allowed to archive and publish them in a data repository? How do you answer the question who the copyright holder of a dataset is? Is it you, your employer, the data archive, fellow researchers? The answer depends on multiple factors, such as who had input into creating the research data, whether data were used from other datasets, and what the researcher’s contract of employment stipulates.
In the accordion key copyright considerations for researchers are highlighted:
In the case studies in the tabs, you can identify the potential copyright issues and state how you would address these in practice.