Tuesday, 19 April 2011

First Understanding Sociey Conference Announced

The Institute for Socio Economic Research have announced the first Understanding Society/BHPS conference.

Date: Thursday June 30th- Friday July 1st
Venue: University of Essex

The conference will showcase early findings from Understanding Society, and other longitudinal studies such as the well-established British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), now part of Understanding Society.

For more information and to register, please go to http://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/understanding-society-bhps-conference-2011/

JISC Rights and Repositories Programme Meeting 2008 - report

Following a request I am re-posting a blog I wrote for the DataShare Project blog http://www.disc-uk.org/datashare.html on a JISC Rights and Repositories Programme Meeting that I attended for the project in London on 05/09/2008.

The meeting primarily covered issues of intellectual property and copyright for people considering establishing instititional repositories.


The opening speaker stressed that IPR should be a central concern of any repository manager, that ‘IPR needs to be viewed as an essential part of individual academic integrity and institutional quality control’.

The speaker stated that ‘confusion, lack of awareness, poor practice, contradictory policy and risk aversion currently dominate thinking about this subject at all levels – particularly amongst senior management’, and that most practices reflect ‘pre-digital attitudes to publishing’. The speaker pointed out that sorting out IPR problems acts as a ‘lightening conductor’ to highlight issues of ownership, power, control and status that might not have been transparently and explicitly dealt with by the institution before.

The speaker then detailed some of the experiences of Jorum, a JISC-sponsored online repository for learning and teaching resources, gave an outline of the Jorum 3-tier licensing structure [JorumOpen, JorumEductionUK, and JorumPlus], and showed two slides on the reasons for and implications of open access.

Though the problems with institutional management of IPR were discussed and highlighted, the only strategy suggested for communicating with or influencing senior staff to improve management of IPR was that getting senior management ‘to sign things focuses their minds’.



The speaker gave a very good outline of the legal environment in relation to IPR and copyright.

The presentation outlined various kinds of rights that repository developers may have to consider including patents, trade marks, designs, trade secrets/confidential information, and copyrights and related rights, including database rights, performers’ rights (applies to lectures) and moral rights.

Copyright ‘protects the skill and labour expended in the creation of something new’, is automatic and ‘does not require registration’. The © symbol is not necessary for an output to be under copyright (though its inclusion does remind the user).

Database rights protect against copying without permission. Provided ‘the collection and verification of the contents of a database involved significant resources, protection is given’. ‘Arguably most repositories will enjoy both database rights and copyright’.

Major issues to be considered by repository managers include

- Who owns the rights to materials being added? This can be difficult as institutional positions are not always clear, and ownership of academic output may sometimes need to be clarified e.g. does the author, or the employing institution own the IPR?

- Have rights been licensed or transferred to the repository? If not, does the repository have the right to hold/redistribute the materials?

- What is the policy for orphan works?

Licenses to be aware of include Open Source software licenses, Creative Commons (Creative Archive, Science Commons) licences, CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) or other RRO (Reproduction Rights Organisation) licenses.

The remainder of the presentation outlined possible future changes to the law (Gowers Review, proposed EU extension to term of sound recordings, EU review of copyright law).

Recommended changes of note from Gowers report include

- Expanding Educational Exceptions to copyright to include some off-site activities (currently exceptions restricted to acts carried out on-site at an educational establishment).

- Educational Exceptions should be media independent

- Expanding Library Privilege to allow more copies to be kept for preservation purposes, and more types of material to be preserved (including sound recordings, films etc).

- Expanding Library Privilege to museums and galleries.

The presenter also highlighted an EU draft directive on public sector information, which should it become law, would mean all documents created and published by a university would have to be made available for public sector exploitation at a minimal cost.


Ethosnet is a single point of access to UK electronic theses in collaboration with the British Library.

Ethosnet has taken the decision to make electronic theses available without author permission, creating an opt-out rather than an opt-in service. This necessitates a robust ‘take down policy’.

Ethos is copying the Jorum ‘take down policy’ which removes publications and output but leaves the metadata and citation in place.



A very interesting presentation on the complexity of licensing content for practice based music research.

I don’t think DataShare will be concerned with resources of this kind so I will not elaborate (Robin etc. correct me if I’m wrong). An overview of the presentation can be found here


An interesting recommendation was made, that metadata be used to keep track of when copyright expires.



This session highlighted the importance of taking IPR issues into consideration from the beginning of any project. In particular the speaker recommended an IPR audit in the budget plan at the start of a project, particularly those where content will be created.

Recommendations include

- Each project has a nominated person responsible for IPR issues

- All materials and communications about IPR and rights issues to be archived and preserved.

- A thorough understanding of the difference between ownership and licensing: ‘assignment’ and ‘license’.

- Adaptation of the ‘creative commons’ license.

The Jorum experience is that ownership should remain with the author/creator and repositories should secure licenses, and that these licenses should be in perpetuity.

John Casey recommended links

JISC template for consortium agreements for IPR


Intellectual property rights in e-learning programmes: good practice guidance for senior managers


Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in networked e-learning: a beginner’s guide for content developers


Managing IPR in digital learning materials: a development pack for institutional repositories. http://trustdr.ulster.ac.uk/outputs.php (this link is now broken, an abstract is available here, but not the full document http://www.ics.heacademy.ac.uk/news/fullstory.php?id=110)

Eduserv online copyright toolkit http://copyrighttoolkit.com/index.html


Having arrived in the second half of the risk management session the discussion concerned the necessity of a robust take down policy.

A robust take down policy is a significant step towards protecting a repository from charges of breach of copyright. Things to consider in this policy include how to ensure a rapid removal of problematic objects, in particular during periods when staff are unlikely to be in the office e.g. Christmas; and how to verify that the complainant does actually have copyright of the material.


JISC digital repositories programme

JISC legal http://www.jisclegal.ac.uk/

JISC CAMEL (Collaborative Approaches to Management in E-Learning)

Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/

Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute
Web 2.0 rights project http://www.web2rights.org.uk/

Friday, 15 April 2011

Government consultation on reducing 'Red Tape' ie. regulation

The government is undertaking a consultation aimed at reducing ‘red tape’. The consultation asks ‘which regulations are working and which are not; what should be scrapped, what should be saved and what should be simplified’.

Areas under consultation include Pensions, Employment, Equality, as well as Environment, Health and Safety and industry specific regulations.

Questions include:
Should the Equality Act 2010 be scrapped altogether?

Should the 50 regulations that relate to pension protection be merged with existing regulations?

How can employment laws be improved?

For more information and to leave your comments please see the RED TAPE CHALLENGE website http://www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/home/index/ or search for ‘red tape challenge’

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Eurostat microdata now free

As of the 1st April 2011 Eurostat have decided to stop charging for their microdata resources. Anonymised versions of the EU Labour Force Survey, the Survey of Income and Living Conditions, the Community Innovation Statistics, the Structure of Earnings Survey and the Adult Education Survey are now available for free via approved research contracts. It appears that charges to access to detailed microdata via the Eurostat SAFE centre in Luxembourg have also been dropped, however I cannot confirm this at the moment.


ONS Consultation - future of NOMIS

ONS is proposing an alternative to NOMIS for access to labour market data https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/Default.asp

If you use NOMIS, or plan to use it in the future please have a look at this consultation. It seems that there will be a lot less flexibility in the range of outputs, in particular for geographical analysis. The ONS are asking for researchers to let them know how they would like the data to be presented and which breakdowns are of use to them. It is important you make a case for the data you need as once these categories and breakdowns have been decided on they will not change.

For more information and to for an list of individual datasets and how they will be affected please see https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/articles/557.aspx?Session_GUID=&

Responses should be sent by 20 May 2011 to Bob.Watson@ons.gov.uk

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

End of General Lifestyle Survey? Consultation

There will be changes made to the General Lifestyle Survey (GLF) due to the decision to source EU-SILC data from the Family Resources Survey. The ONS propose merging the GLF with the opinions survey. If you use GLF and are concerned about changes, please see more detail below, and consider responding to the consultation.


2011: The GLF health, health determinants and use of health services question blocks will be removed or reduced in 2011 if the NHS Information Centre withdraws funding.
2012: Subject to the results of a public consultation, the GLF will cease to exist in its current format and will be replaced with a new combined Opinions / GLF survey.

ONS presentation at GLF User Meeting, March 2011

From 2012, the European Union requirement for Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) will be met using the Family Resource Survey (FRS) for respondents in their first year (the cross-sectional component) and a new telephone based survey for respondents in their second to fourth year (the longitudinal component). Currently, the EU-SILC requirement is met by the General Lifestyle Survey (GLF). The move from the GLF to the FRS will result in significant benefits in terms of cost savings and greater harmonisation between poverty indicators used by the UK and the EU.

EU-SILC covers housing, employment, income, state benefits, material deprivation and general health. Therefore, after 2011, the GLF will not need to collect these topics for the EU requirement. This provides an opportunity to review the GLF data collection with respect to existing and future data needs. ONS is currently consulting on this and specifically, its proposal to stop the existing longitudinal GLF survey and to replace it with a new cross-sectional survey, which would be a combination of the ONS Opinions and GLF surveys. The Opinions survey has many similarities with the GLF, in terms of the sample design, sample size and data collection methodology.

As part of the ongoing consultation, the ONS would welcome comments from GLF users about the combinations of variables that they need in order to conduct their research. ONS would also welcome comments from users about how their data requirements might be met using a new Opinions / GLF Survey or through existing sources. For example, ONS requests users’ input on the content and design of a new survey.

The NHS Information Centre has put forward a proposal to cancel its funding of the health, health determinants and use of health services questions on the GLF from Apr 2011 onwards because of budget reductions. If this proposal is accepted questions that cover these topics will be removed later this year.

Given this new information, you may wish to reply to the GLF consultation document (even if you've already done so previously): www.ons.gov.uk/about/consultations/open-consultations/eusilc-integration-into-frs/ 

Longitudinal studies: lessons for research and policy

Date: 10 May 2011, 10.00-16.45
Location: British Library Conference Centre

Information and booking form: http://www.esds.ac.uk/news/eventdetail.asp?id=2770

The day will focus on longitudinal data sources. This event is organised in conjunction with the UK Data Archive and Longview, and will give you an opportunity to hear talks about major studies, research projects, and their application to policy.

This event will give you an overview of the issues involved in analysing and using data from large-scale studies which track populations over time. The day will focus on how findings from longitudinal studies can contribute to policy development, with contributions from research and policy perspectives. The event will include talks about longitudinal studies from England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The introduction will be given by Jude England, Head of Social Sciences at the British Library. The keynote speaker will be John Hobcraft, Professor of Demography and Social Policy at the University of York. There will be a panel session chaired by John Pullinger of the House of Commons Library. Speakers to include Professor Diana Kuh and Dr Rebecca Hardy, MRC National Survey of Health and Development; Nick Buck, PI of Understanding Society; Dr Dermot O'Reilly, Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast; Gemma Tetlow, the Institute for Fiscal Studies; and Dr Chris Dibben, Director of the Longitudinal Studies Centre - Scotland.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Introduction to the ESRC Secure Data Service

Due to continuing demand another Introduction to the ESRC Secure Data Service will be held at LSE

Wednesday 13th April, 9.45-1.30
LRB532 (5th floor of the Lionel Robbins building above the library)

The event is free but booking is essential. For more information and to book a place please see the website

Showcasing ALSPAC as a Resource for Social and Health Researchers

2-5pm, 4 April 2011
Royal Statistical Society, 12 Errol Street, London, EC1Y 8LX, UK.

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents & Children (ALSPAC) has been running since 1991 and has resulted in a rich data set of biomedical and social measurements on children and their carers. While there has already been much high profile research based on ALSPAC, efforts have recently been made to increase awareness of these data among the wider research community.

The aim of this meeting is to showcase the ALSPAC data and its potential for answering research questions concerning health and social factors. The four presentations will cover the following issues: the ALSPAC data and its linkage to important administrative data sources; factors affecting the relationship between gestational weight gain and the health of mothers and their offspring in later life; a comparison of the socio-economic differences in children's behavioural and educational development found in ALSPAC and a US cohort; and the use of genetic data to establish the causal relationship between physical characteristics with a genetic basis, like obesity, and important outcomes, like educational attainment.

Speakers: Andy Boyd, Debbie Lawlor, Liz Washbrook (all University of Bristol) and Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholde (Imperial College Business School, London)

Further details (including abstracts) can be found at: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/alspac-social-sciences/workshops

There is no charge for this event but pre-registration is recommended. Please email meetings@rss.org.uk or telephone 020 7273 8010 to register.