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Succeeding in postgraduate study
Succeeding in postgraduate study

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3 Intellectual property and copyright

As noted in Session 5, providing accurate references to information that you use in your written work is essential at postgraduate level. You will be expected to demonstrate your ability to refer to the thoughts and ideas of others in your work accurately and appropriately, to avoid plagiarism, and to show evidence of your ability to use, manage and communicate information responsibly.

This section introduces what is meant by intellectual property (IP) and copyright, and the protection that is usually given by law to an author for their own work. These key concepts, often regarded as the ‘rights’ of an author, are then placed in an academic context, in terms of ownership of IP and copyright. These are broad and complex areas, which vary considerably from one field to another, and even within the same discipline area, and there are country-specific laws and protocols covering copyright and IP. Consequently, this section covers only some general principles. Should your current or future work take you further into these areas, you would be well advised to seek expert guidance on legal frameworks that operate in the relevant country and relevant issues (e.g. around commercial exploitation etc.).