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Copyright for Researchers

This guide contains copyright advice for JCU research staff and students


More and more public research funders require publications resulting from their funding to be made open access.

NHMRC and ARC grants

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) require all funded research or partially funded research to be made open access immediately upon publication (NHMRC) or within 12 months of the date of publication (ARC).

The intent is to maximise the benefit of the Australian Government's investment in research funding through the widest possible dissemination, discovery and access to research findings in the most effective manner and at the earliest opportunity.

Copyright implications

When you submit a journal article, book or book chapter to a publisher, you will be asked to sign a publishing agreement. Before you sign the agreement, read it carefully and ensure you understand licence or contract conditions that could limit your authors rights. For example, the agreement may impact on your ability to legally share, communicate or reuse your work, which could interfere with grant funding requirements.

ResearchOnline@JCU is JCU's institutional repository. Contact to discuss how the repository can help meet your open access needs.

Conferences and presentations


If you are presenting at a conference, seminar or at a public lecture, inclusion of third-party content (e.g., figures, tables, images and music) in your presentation could have copyright implications:

  • for your presentation
  • if you are going to publish a paper in the conference proceedings
  • if the host country holds different copyright laws to Australia

Third party material refers to any material for which you do not own the copyright. Permission to use the content will not be required if it has an appropriate licence, such as Creative Commons, or if it fits under copyright fair dealing exceptions. If this is not the case, you will need to ask permission from the copyright owner. Many publishers use RightsLink (Copyright Clearance Center) to handle permission requests for their copyright-protected content. RightsLink provides immediate quotes (fee for use) and could even grant free of cost permission.

Acknowledge any third-party content that you utilise.

Conference/event organisation

Conference organisers have an obligation to ensure the event is copyright compliant, which includes ensuring presenters have permission to use third-party content. 

Notify and seek permission from conference attendees if you intend to record, film or photograph them. Conference presenters should be asked to complete a JCU Talent Release Form.

Sharing online content

Music, videos, images, text and other content may be available on the internet, but this does not mean you are free to copy, use or share this content. Additionally, you should not assume that the content has been shared with the copyright owners permission. You may need to trace content back to the copyright owner.

If you want to use online content, linking to or embedding the content is preferred. If this does not suit your needs check:

  • if it is in the public domain, which could mean copyright has expired or that the creator wants the content to be "owned by the public"
  • for a favourable licence, such as Creative Commons (some Creative Commons licences may not suit your needs)
  • for express or implied permission on the website or desired content
  • for applicable fair dealing exceptions
  • the terms you agreed to in your journal article, book or book chapter publishing agreement

There are many online sites where you can source content that will not infringe on copyright. A good place to start is the Creative Commons search portal. You'll find images, 3D models, music, videos and more that you can use, share and remix.

If you are responsible for an online platform/site (e.g. a blog, survey, or website) that receives content from multiple parties, you have an obligation to manage overall copyright compliance. If the site's purpose is research data collection, make sure you include terms and conditions for users so that they know how their data will be used, and provide them with a way to "opt out".

We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.Acknowledgement of Country

Creative Commons Licence
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License. Content from this Guide should be attributed to James Cook University Library. This does not apply to images, third party material (seek permission from the original owner) or any logos or insignia belonging to JCU or other bodies, which remain All Rights Reserved.