Monday, March 30, 2015

Rights to Scholarly Work

Inside Higher Ed
March 26th, 2015

For many years, Ohio State University -- like lots of peer institutions -- had an understanding with its faculty: the institution might claim intellectual property rights to innovations, inventions and patentable research, but scholarly works belonged to professors alone. Now a new draft intellectual property policy is threatening that agreement in the eyes of some faculty members. Ohio State says the policy is preliminary and the final document will result in no new limits on faculty property rights. But the ongoing debate and others like it elsewhere in recent years have implications for defining scholarly work in the digital age and for just how much of an academic’s work -- digital or not -- his or her institution can claim to own.
Earlier this month, an ad hoc, faculty-led committee charged with updating Ohio State’s 14-year-old intellectual property policy presented a draft to the Faculty Council. According to a copy obtained by Inside Higher Ed, “All rights, title and interests in intellectual property (I.P.) are the sole property of the university” if the faculty, staff or student creators were “acting within the scope of their employment,” using “funding, equipment or infrastructure provided by or through the university,” or carrying out the research at any university facility. (The language mimics state code on the matter.)

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