Researchers will often need to include copyright materials from third parties in their theses or research outputs.
Copying in the library for research
Under the terms of fair dealing you are permitted to make single copies for private study or research of a non-commercial nature. Copies must not exceed 5% of a work or:
This exception is covered in section 29 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Using e-resources provided by the library for research
Electronic resources (such as e-books, articles from e-journals or other e-resources) are licensed by the library for your use in study or research, but you are not allowed to distribute or share them online.
Using material found on the internet for research
Copyright protection applies to material found on the internet in the same way as published books or journal articles. Just because material is freely available online does not mean that there it is free to use in any way you like.
When developing your research and gathering data, you may decide to use a methodology that has previously been used. Keep in mind that research methodologies (such as survey materials) may be copyright restricted.
Data and databases
When using data or a dataset produced by someone else it is important to remember that while facts cannot be copyright protected, databases can be protected by copyright or database rights. When using any database or dataset produced by someone else in your research you should check its license and its conditions.
Text and data mining
Text or data mining is a research method used for analysing large bodies or collections of text or data. Copyright law has been amended to allow this mining for research purposes. This exception applies provided your research is non-commercial, you have lawful access to the content/database (for example through a library subscription), you attribute the sources and do not use copies made under this exception for any other purpose.
The Intellectual Property Office has developed a guide to help understand the key issues when using copyright material in research.
Using copyright material in your thesis
You will almost certainly include work by third parties in your theses. A copyright exception allows you to do so under the principle of fair dealing which includes quotation, criticism or review. For example, you may quote from and discuss extracts from a book, journal article, photograph or other image.
When using any 3rd party material in your thesis you should apply the ‘fair dealing’ test. The third party work must have been made publicly available, you must acknowledge the creator of the work, and your use must be fair and reasonable.
In order to check whether your use is fair and reasonable, you should ask:
If you think the answer to either of those questions may be ‘yes’ then you should consider seeking permission.
Aberystwyth Research Portal
Successful PhD candidates are expected to submit an electronic version of their works for inclusion within the Aberystwyth Research Portal, and this subsequent publication of their work is not covered.
Therefore, those submitting PhDs are, in any case, expected to seek appropriate permission for inclusion of third party copyright material in their work, or otherwise highlight those instances where permission has not been sought or granted so that relevant action can be taken (e.g. an embargo placed on that work). Short quotes, small tables etc would not normally require permission, but clear and accurate acknowledgement of the source should always be included.
Sharing your own work
A copyright owner has exclusive rights over a copyright work. This means that their permission is needed before using their work in certain ways.
Only copyright owners have the right to authorise activities known as restricted acts. These include:
In undertaking any of these activities, you should ensure that you are covered by an appropriate license to do so, or that a copyright exception applies to your activity. To see what this means for your work at the university, see the Copyright for Students, Lecturers and Research tabs for practical guidance on using copyright materials in your work in a legally compliant way.
Many of the copyright exceptions which apply in higher education depend on the concept of fair dealing
There is no precise definition of what is fair, but it depends on:
This means you should:
If you need assistance with library collections or services, contact the Subject Librarian for your department
Further information on services and resources for your studies can be found at the Library Guide for your subject.
For details on library service, collections and support for researchers visit our Researchers Library Guide