Legal responsibilities

Information on your legal responsibilities regarding intellectual property rights, copyright and data protection.

The UWE Research Governance team have produced a range of resources and guidelines to aid researchers with compliance throughout the lifecycle of their research projects.

The UWE Research Governance Checklist is a tool produced by the UWE Research Governance Team to help UWE Bristol researchers ensure that they have fully reviewed the research governance matters that may apply to their research project.

The Digital Curation Centre have also produced a Checklist on Legal Aspects of RDM

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights, or IPR, affect the way research outputs can be used. Failure to clarify rights at the start of the research process can lead to unexpected limitations that affect:

  • Your research.
  • Dissemination of your research.
  • Future related research projects.
  • Associated profit or credit.
  • Your reputation and that of the University.

UWE Bristol advice on intellectual property is available within the Code of Good Research Conduct and Policy. There is also some helpful advice on the government intellectual property office website.

Copyright and legal protection

Information regarding copyright is provided on the library's copyright webpages. The Code of Good Research Conduct and Policy should be consulted for advice on intellectual property and legal protection.

Mechanisms to permit the re-use of your research data and materials

If you wish to share and allow re-use of your data but with some restrictions, Creative Commons licences provide standard options to enable use of your data in selected ways and restrict other uses.

The Creative Commons website explains the licence options and provides a licence chooser tool to enable you to select the most appropriate license. Remember some funders and publishers may stipulate the type of licence that is required.

Research is governed by a broad range of legislative and regulatory frameworks. It is essential that the collection, storage and any eventual archiving and re-use is compliant with these requirements. Full guidance is provided in the UWE Bristol Code of Good Research Conduct.

Using online materials in your research

There are a number of issues when using online materials. This partly depends on how these materials are licensed. Even if there is no ‘©’ or ‘all rights reserved’ notice, intellectual property rights are still applicable. When in doubt, contact the website administrator or publisher directly. However it is also essential to ensure that the source of the online materials has the rights to use them, and to allow you to use them for your specific research purpose.

The University Research Ethics Committee has produced information on how to conduct and manage social media research within their guidance webpages.

Data protection

It is your and UWE Bristol's duty to ensure that any data you gather is handled correctly. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which governs the processing of personal data, must be adhered to. For more information about GDPR, staff should consult the General Data Protection Regulation pages on the staff intranet.

UWE Bristol provides guidelines to help staff undertaking research to comply with legal requirements for data protection within the secure storage area in the Information Security toolkit available on the staff intranet.

The Research Governance team have produced research data security guidance for researchers. Remember that researchers are personally responsible for any breach in data security arising from failures in relation to their data responsibilities.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is formally responsible for data protection and has produced useful guidance.


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