Research Data Management
  • Print


Copyright is an intellectual property right assigned automatically to the creator that prevents unauthorised copying and publishing of an original work.


There are a number of important points for researchers in the above sentence from the UK Data Archive:  

Copyright is assigned automatically

There is no requirement to register or claim copyright.


Copyright is assigned to the creator

A PhD student owns copyright in their research, but copyright for work created during the course of employment would usually be owned by the employer.

The University waives this right in the case of collaborative research, either with other academic institutions or with commercial partners, then copyright may be jointly held.


Copyright prevents unauthorised copying and publishing

This is to protect the intellectual or financial interests of the creator.

Researchers wishing to re-use the work should seek permission from the rights holder unless the re-use is covered by the fair dealing concept.


Copyright in data

The UK Data Archive also states:

"Copyright applies to research data and plays a role when creating, sharing and re-using data". 

  • copyright applies to research data, as databases are considered as a literary work. This would also apply to spreadsheets, publications, reports and computer programmes.   

    It is a requirement that the data is original and that there has been intellectual effort involved in obtaining, verifying and presenting the content.
  • copyright plays a role when creating data. For example if data is derived via interviews, then the interviewees would hold copyright in a transcript or recording of their words. It is therefore advisable to seek a signed transfer of copyright permission at the time.
  • copyright plays a role when sharing and re-using data. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 includes provision for the use of copyright material under conditions regarded as "fair dealing".  

  • This means that content can be reproduced or re-used for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study, for criticism or review or for the reporting of current events, provided that it is accompanied by an acknowledgement of the source of the data. For other purposes, permission of the rights holder must be obtained. 



Copyright regulations in the UK are defined by:

  • The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c.48)
And later revisions outlined in:

  • The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003.
  • The Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997.

Further information


Research @ The University of Nottingham

King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

email: Email Us