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Guide to the Research Process: 5c. Alternatives to Copyright

This guide provides an introduction to the skills needed to conduct research.

Creative Commons

  • A non-profit organization created in 2001 by a group of scholars and activists
  • CC licences are a set of simple, easy-to-understand copyright licences
  • CC licences allow creators to choose how to make their works available and under what conditions
  • CC licences allow users to understand the conditions under which a work may be used
  • CC licences have been translated to the laws of 52 countries
  • Many million pages of web content now use CC licences

For information on Creative Commons, you can visit the Creative Commons website.

The following video, Creative Commons Kiwi by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.01 New Zealand (CC BY) licence. It explains the CC licences.

Institutional Repositories

These are publicly accessible archives where the work published by authors affiliated with a particular university or institution is posted online.

Example: UWISpace, The University of the West Indies Institutional Repository for Research and Scholarship, which aims to collect together in one place the research and scholarship of members of The UWI Community

Public Domain

The public domain is considered to be part of the common cultural and intellectual heritage of humanity. Works in the public domain are not subject to any restrictions; they may be freely used without permission, for both commercial and non-commercial uses. There are three main categories:

  1. Works that automatically enter the public domain when they are created because they are not copyrightable, e.g., names, numbers, ideas, facts
  2. Works that have been assigned to the public domain by their creators
  3. Works that have entered the public domain because the copyright on them has expired

Open Access Movement

Open Access refers to the free availabiligy of peer-reviewed literature to the public on the Internet, permitting any user to read, download, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of the articles. This can be done in two ways:

  • through open access (OA) journals
  • through institutional or subject-based repositories

 Open Access Journals

  • freely available online and do not rely on traditional subscription-based business models to generate income
  • often use very open online licences, such as the CC Attribution licence
  • some journals are not OA journals but authorize the authors of the articles they publish to archive versions of their articles in institutional repositories set up by their universities