Copyright & Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

Research data is: "the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings, but not any of the following: preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, or communications with colleagues." (OMB Circular 110)

Your primary asset as a researcher is your intellectual work, it is important to understand and maintain your intellectual property rights.  You will need to articulate how you are providing permissions or licenses in your Data Management Plan.  This may or may not involve intellectual property rights depending on the type of data. 

As set forth in the ABOR Intellectual Property Policy, most intellectual property produced by University employees is owned by ABOR (and includes non-copyrightable material and material produced by student employees)

The board owns all intellectual property in each of the following categories:

  1. Any intellectual property created by an employee in the course and scope of employment; and
  2. Any intellectual property created with the significant use of board or university resources.

Board-owned IP extends to all property created with the use of research funding under a sponsorship or funding agreement (i.e., grant-funded research).

Additional resources


When considering sharing your data, consider the following

  • In the United States, data is not copyrightable (although a particular expression can be, such as a table or chart).
  • Data can be licensed.  E.g., some data providers license data to limit how the data can be used (to protect the privacy of study participants or guide downstream use of data)
  • If you want to promote sharing and unlimited use of your data, you can make you data available under a CC0 Declaration to make it explicit.  There are other Creative Commons licenses with additional protection.

Unlike data, software is copyrightable. UA supports the release of software under open source licenses but Tech Launch Arizona will make a determination if such release is appropriate (to protect commercial potential for instance)

For more information on copyright law and campus policy, contact Ellen Dubinsky.