Copyright

citing softwareBy Will Usher, Senior Researcher: Infrastructure Systems Modeller, University of Oxford

Plagiarism is a serious issue, and we are all familiar with the horror stories of students unceremoniously ejected from courses for copying essays. Any undergraduate degree worth its salt teaches students how to cite work correctly, acceptable bounds on quotation and how to attribute ideas and concepts to their sources. But in the growing world of open-source research software, best practices have yet to be universally understood, as I recently found out.

During my PhD at University College London, I became involved in the heady enthusiasm of the Research Software Programming group, attending and then helping out at Software Carpentry workshops. As a consequence, I was keen to apply my new knowledge of Python, version control and software development to my research. As luck would have it, I discovered an existing Python library on Github, which implemented several Global Sensitivity Analysis routines I could make use of. As I used the library, I started adding bits and pieces, and so by the end of the PhD I had made a considerable contribution to the package.

It's probably safe to say that SALib (sensitivity analysis library) is the go-to Python library for the unfortunately still-far-too-niche use of global sensitivity analysis in modelling, and our…

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By Shoaib Sufi, Community Leader.

Issues around IP are the cause of some of the most contentious and persistent problems that affect researchers. Who owns IP? How do you license it? Can you share information with collaborators? Who can help you understand IP issues at your university? The Institute’s Intellectual Property (IP), copyright, licensing and commercialisation workshop (IPCLC) will be held on 11 December 2014 in Oxford at the Oxford e-Research Centre from 10.00 to 17.00. It’s free to attend.

A good understanding of IP, Copyright, Licensing and Commercialisation is an invaluable tool for anyone embarking on a research career. It can help you prepare your work so that the majority of IP-related problems are solved before they arise, and if you do run into problems, a grounding in IP can help you resolve problems before they become serious.

As you progress through your research career, new problems are likely to appear: writing collaboration agreements, understanding if a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is necessary, or simply understanding how you can exploit your IP. Resolving these more complex problems will require negotiations with IP departments at your own institution and possibly with others too. Picking your way through these negotiations is much easier if you understand the terminology…

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