Protected Data in Datasets and Open Access: what you need to know

When it comes to making your dataset open-access, it’s all pretty simple isn’t it? Collect and collate the data you need to present, then make it available in an institutional or subject repository under an open licence and that’s it. Well, not quite!

You need to be aware of how copyright and other types of legal protection work in respect of datasets, and of any steps you will need to take to ensure that your datasets can be made freely available to others whilst respecting any rights  that apply to individual components or types of information contained in your dataset.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Protection of different types of data takes many forms. Researchers need to be aware of the legal landscape within which they produce and use research data and how this affects the way in which datasets can be made available for re-use by other researchers.  The University recommend using the Open Data Commons Open Database Licence  as a means of making your data open. This licence allows users to use, copy and distribute the database, to create other works based on the contents of the database and to modify, adapt or build on the database. (N.B. the terms datasets and databases in this context are used interchangeably). These are activities which are often regulated by other legal forms of protection such as copyright, database rights and General Data Protection Register,  so before applying an open licence to a dataset, a researcher needs to know whether any of the elements in their dataset attract protection, and if so, how it could affect the ability to make the dataset open access and what if anything needs to be done to ensure the rights and protections applying to the contents of the dataset are not infringed.

HOW CAN I TELL WHAT IS PROTECTED? 

Research data comes in many forms; depending on the type of project, the dataset containing the evidence underpinning the research could comprise  amongst others, observational data such as temperature measurements, body-weight recordings,  computer code or software, survey data, collections of digital images, collections of newspaper articles, collections of private correspondence,  transcripts or recordings of interviews or physical artefacts such as artworks or musical compositions.  Individual data elements within a dataset may enjoy protection, and collections of data can also enjoy Sui Generis database protection.  Personal data are protected under the GDPR (General Data Protection Register).

Copyright

Copyright law grants the rightsowner a number of exclusive rights including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work and to sell or licence the copyright for use by others. Facts in themselves are not protected by copyright, rather, it is the original expression which is protected by copyright, and the work in question must demonstrate “the author’s own intellectual creation”.

A wide range of outputs enjoy copyright protection including:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works;
  • Computer programs and software code;
  • Databases (in addition to the separate Database Right). This only applies where the selection or arrangement is original, and the protection only applies to the structure of the database and not the contents.
  • Sound recordings, films or broadcasts; and
  • Typographical arrangements of published editions.

Datasets comprising third-party copyright material, for example collections of newspaper articles, posts from social media sites cannot be made open access without first obtaining the permission of the rightsholders.  Similarly, where a researcher wants to include recorded interviews in a dataset, that is intended to be made available to others on an open-access basis, they would need to obtain the permission of the participants in order to do this.  Data obtained from archived datasets hosted in  subject or other repositories  is often made available for personal use, but if the datasets are intended to be further disseminated, then the permission of the rightsholder(s) of the dataset will need to be obtained.

Database Rights

In the European Union, the SGDR (Sui Generis Database Right) protects original and non-original databases.  Database rights can only apply where there has been substantial investment in the collection, verification and presentation of data obtained from independent sources. Efforts expended in creating the data populating the database does not automatically confer a database right. Database rights are protected for 15 years from the date of creation or publication. Once a database has been made available to the public, the Database Right allows authorised users to extract and re-use a substantial portion of the content for specific non-commercial purposes under “fair dealing”.  For some complex databases, the structure itself can be categorised as a literary work (even if its contents are of a visual nature) and attract 70 years’ copyright similar to other literary material.

General Data Protection Register (GDPR)

Datasets pertaining to research in any discipline which uses personal data such as medical science, social sciences and the humanities are required to comply with the provisions of the GDPR.  Datasets containing personal data cannot be made open access, even those where the data has been pseudo-anonymised.  Datasets containing fully anonymised data may be made available.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

Before you start your research, you should be aware of any requirements to make your dataset open.  This may be as a result of a mandate from your funding body, or in response to the University’s Research Data Management Policy. The best time to consider whether you need to obtain permission to make data available is when creating your data management plan. The plan should outline what data will be created and how, and should include details on how the data will be shared, paying attention to any rights, protections and restrictions that may need to be taken into consideration.

Mary Mowat, Copyright Officer, University of Aberdeen
October 2020

Returning Books and Planning for the Restart of Library Services

Library books can now be returned by using the external book drop slot at The Sir Duncan Rice Library, following the move to Phase 2 of the Scottish route map. Please use this facility for any of your University Library books, irrespective of which of our Library sites you borrowed the book from.

You will need a current student, or staff, ID card to use the book drop slot. If you have any difficulties in using this facility, please contact Library staff on libnotice@abdn.ac.uk.

Also, the Library is now in the process of planning how we can begin to restart some services for our students and the wider academic community. Details on this planning are available on our website.

Comet SWAN

 

Comet SWAN

Many thanks to Gerald Rehmann for picture of SWAN.

Comet-hunters and stargazers alike have had plenty to talk about this month. The brightest newcomer Comet SWAN has a tail of at least 18 million km long and was discovered by amateur astronomer Michael Mattiazzo from Australia. But he was not looking up at the time – Comet SWAN was spotted online, by studying images from the Solar Wind ANisotropies (SWAN) instrument aboard SOHO, ESA/NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

Comet SWAN is expected to reach perihelion (its closest point to the Sun) on 27 May. Look for it near the constellation Perseus as it may still be visible through binoculars.

You can still read about the comet’s performance and visibility in the UK. If you missed out on Comet SWAN, there are two more coming our way: Comet LEMMON and Comet NEOWISE will be visible by the naked eye in July. To learn more about these comets, http://astro.vanbuitenen.nl/comets is a good place to start.

If you’re frequently looking for the position of a group of Solar System objects, you can create a quick access page that updates just the data you need. Bookmark it or add it to your phone’s home screen and get fresh data with one click.

We also have access to some e-books that can help you with your observations:

  • ‘Comets and their origin: the tools to decipher a comet’ by Uwe Meierhenrich (2015)
  • ‘Make Time for the Stars: Fitting Astronomy into Your Busy Life’ by Antony Cooke (2009)

Access to these resources is via Primo; remember to sign in using your University of Aberdeen username and password.

For more information visit the following pages:

https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/
https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/advice/skills/comet-c-2020-f8-swan-visible-how-to-see-it/
https://theskylive.com/quickaccess-create

Jenna Storey,  jennifer.storey@abdn.ac.uk

Taught Postgraduates – online courses to help with your dissertations and projects: 25 & 26 May

Specially arranged for Taught Postgraduate students, IT services will deliver the following online sessions to support anyone writing and formatting their dissertation using Microsoft Word. The sessions will be delivered via MS Teams.

Adding Style to your Dissertation

  • 11:00 – 12:00 – Monday 25 May
  • 11:00 – 12:00 – Tuesday 26 May

Content:
Stress-free steps to Navigation, Table of Contents, Auto numbering and Styles.

  • What are Styles
  • Styles Launcher
  • Using Built-in Styles
  • Modifying Styles
  • Navigation Pane
  • Auto Numbering
  • Table of Content

The power of section breaks 

  • 14:00 – 15:00 – Monday 25 May
  • 14:00 – 15:00 – Tuesday 26 May
Content: 

How to stop unwanted page orientation continuing through the rest of your document, different page numbering for contents pages and the rest of a document. How to change and control page orientation throughout your document, set and change the page numbering options on different parts of your document and much more.

  • Page Setup
  • Cover Page
  • Section Breaks
  • Page Numbering
  • Orientation to landscape
  • Captions
You can book a place through the course booking system as normal. Please go to: www.abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking and select category ‘IT Services Training and Documentation Team’.
Details of how to join the session will be provided in advance of each training slot. If you cannot attend the timed virtual slots please do not book a place, but don’t worry we’ll make recordings available after the event.
****
Dissertation2
Details of other Refresher sessions to follow.

Did You Know…? – Managing exam stress

In this post we would like to make you aware of the services which are there to support you. The Student Channel also provides useful tips and advice on studying from home and to help you reduce exam stress.

More information:

Wishing all our students very best of luck with their exams. Please remember to contact Library staff if there is anything we can help with.

Did you know…? – routes for off-campus access to e-resources

computer

To access the databases and e-book collections that the University of Aberdeen subscribes to you must prove that you are a member of the university. Most resources require a Shibboleth/institutional login, while for others authentication is via IP address (the provider is looking at the physical location of the computer you are using).

Off-campus access information for databases requiring an institutional login (most databases)

To access these resources, use the Find Databases option in Primo. Remember to sign in to Primo before you do any searching. When working off-campus, you may be asked to sign in to a resource via your institution, in which case you must select ‘UK Access Management Federation’. Then select ‘University of Aberdeen’ and lastly, enter your computer username and password.

Off-campus access information for databases requiring an IP address authentication (e.g. OnePetro, Kluwer Arbitration)

To access these resources off-campus, you must use the university’s Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). This makes your device look as if it is a campus-based device. Via the VDI you can also access classroom software associated with your login details and your H: drive.

For Instructions on how to use the VDI see our Remote Access section on Toolkit – www.abdn.ac.uk/toolkit/

Useful information

  • To check the authentication route for a database, type its name into the Find Databases search box in Primo, then click on ‘Available Online’. This will take you to the database’s information page
  • A very small selection of academic databases require a special username and password. A list of usernames and passwords for those resources can be found on this password-protected page
  • Please see our Library guide QG DBS005: Accessing Electronic Information

Questions?

For subject-related enquiries, please get in touch with the Information Consultant for your subject. Details can be found at https://bit.ly/InfoConsultants  

For IT-related queries contact the IT Service Desk:
servicedesk@abdn.ac.uk
https://uoa.freshservice.com/support/home

 

Did you know…? – temporary access to additional e-resources: VitalSource Helps

Even though our libraries are physically closed, access to e-resources is unaffected and Library staff are here to help you make the most of our service.

SDRL April 20

Earlier this week we told you about our list of additional e-resources made available temporarily by publishers, in support of online teaching, learning and research during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In today’s post we would like to highlight VitalSource Helps, a scheme that provides online access to selected textbooks for users who are currently unable to borrow print materials.

VitalSource is an approved third-party e-book provider and the range of publishers taking part in the scheme includes the American Psychological Association, Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor and Francis and others.

Students can create a bookshelf within VitalSource and select up to 7 textbooks from the range of participating publishers. When creating a personal account with VitalSource, make sure to use your University of Aberdeen email address but not your University of Aberdeen password.

Please also note that some of the textbooks accessible via this scheme may also be available through existing Library subscriptions or via alternative temporary access providers. Check Primo and other temporary resource providers before selecting and saving your 7 titles to your VitalSource Bookshelf.

For further information on accessing and using VitalSource Helps, please see the relevant entry on our updates page: bit.ly/COVID-19LibraryUpdates

 

Did you know…? – Library FAQs are available to help during building closures

Library FAQs word cloud

As the Library buildings at the University of Aberdeen are currently closed during the Coronavirus lockdown, we would like to highlight a series of FAQs that we have compiled to help students and staff.

The FAQs answer questions you may have at this time, such as:

  • How can I access the Library’s digital resources when off-campus?
  • How can I contact Library staff?
  • There are items on my reading list that are only available in print. What can I do to access them?
  • Can I return books that I currently have on loan?

Visit our dedicated Coronavirus webpage to see the answers to these and other questions you might have about the Library. Our buildings might be closed, but Library staff are still working, to continue supporting study, teaching and research.

Wellcome seeks comments on implementing the principles of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

The University of Aberdeen Library invites members of our academic community to submit comments on Wellcome’s new Open Access Policy, to help in the development of guidance around this issue.

Wellcome has published draft guidance for funded research organisations on implementing the principles set out in the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

The requirement to publicly commit to the DORA principles is a key element of Wellcome’s new Open Access Policy which will come into force in January 2021.

To help them shape and refine the guidance, they are now inviting feedback. Simon Bains, University Librarian, is leading on a response for Aberdeen, and welcomes any comments by 5pm on Wednesday 19 February. Please send any comments to simon.bains@abdn.ac.uk.

New Primo launched Monday 13 January – support available

new primo now available - no url - onelan - landscape (002)

The Library launched a new version of Primo on Monday, January 13, and we want to let you know about the support available to help you use it to find materials for your studies and research. Library staff will be available to help with any questions you might have on using it. See below for information on further help available.

Reset your PIN to use our self-service machines

Following the move to the new version of Primo, you will need to reset your PIN number to use our self-service machines. Please see the guide below on the simple steps required to reset your PIN.

UoA Staff and Students – reset your PIN.

Drop-in Sessions on using Primo

There are drop-in sessions on the new Primo available in The Sir Duncan Rice Library. These take place in the co-labs on Floor 4 of The Sir Duncan Rice Library, at the following times:

  • 11.00
  • 11.30
  • 15.00
  • 15.30

These drop-in sessions will run on weekdays until Friday, January 24.

Bookable sessions on using Primo

In addition to these drop-in sessions, there will be bookable sessions on using Primo as part of our Find it Fast! series of library workshops. These will begin on Tuesday, January 21. You will be able to book places on these sessions via the Course Booking site.

Additional guidance on using Primo

You will also find instruction on using Primo in the Library Guides section of our website. More  support and guidance on Primo will be added to our website in the coming weeks.

For further information about the move to a new Primo, see our webpage.