Thursday 13 December 2007

Guide to Managing IPR in Digital Repositories

I have been informed that the final outputs of the JISC TrustDR (Trust in Digital Repositories) project are now available.

Here’s the information that’s being provided by TrustDR:

Managing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Digital Learning Materials: A Development Pack for Institutional Repositories

Authors: John Casey, Jackie Proven & David Dripps

Distributed under a Creative Commons License - Attribution 2.5 UK: Scotland

You can download it here.

The pack is aimed at those who are setting up or running digital collections of learning materials that are managed at an institutional level. It is written in a clear and straightforward style that sets out to persuade the reader of the benefits of engaging with the issues associated with IPR in e-learning. The approach taken is based on the idea that the organisation of an IPR policy in e-learning should reflect and support the educational activity instead of hinder it – and that means understanding ‘the business of e-learning’. To do this it paints a compelling picture of an educational sector in the process of changing from traditional ad-hoc models of teaching to a more sustainable, team-based model – driven by increased student numbers, a greater focus on learners needs, and increased requirements for flexible delivery with the increasing use of digital media and technologies.

The pack is useful and unusual in that it situates its analysis and advice specifically in the highly relevant context of the professional and institutional process change that is required to introduce and extend flexible learning opportunities in our education systems – a common scenario that raises many IPR challenges. It surveys the current confused and contradictory practises in UK education and suggests that these practices reflect a situation where e-learning is not yet effectively integrated into our institutions. It also highlights a lack of involvement and leadership by senior management.

The authors argue strongly that sorting out the IPR policy for e-learning can be a way of getting senior management to engage more effectively with the educational and organisational changes that are needed to make e-learning work. Clarifying IPR policy therefore becomes an enabler for best practice. Looked at in this light - to be able to account for the provenance of content in e-learning materials is really a matter of individual academic integrity and for institutional quality control. Another central argument deals with the relative values of teaching activity by humans and the role of learning materials content, and again the pack promotes the development of policies that properly reflect these values.

The format of the development pack is a central document of about 70 pages linked to other resources; it is designed to allow the reader to dip in and out or to explore themes in greater depth. The pack functions both as a personal training manual and as an organisational development tool, it includes:

  • A Beginners guide to IPR in e-learning
  • Discussion of the pros and cons of using Creative Commons licences
  • Useful of tools to help analyse your situation and development needs
  • A collection of common IPR mistakes made by institutions
  • Overview of the relevant technical factors
  • An introduction and guide to Risk Management
  • Discussion of the kinds business models associated with the use of creative commons licences
  • Understanding and assessing the value of learning materials
  • A practical guide to implementing flexible learning (published by the QAA)
  • Tools for understanding and modelling organisational and professional change
  • Policy discussion and development documents for use at institutional and national levels
  • Scenarios/ case studies

The TrustDR (Trust in Digital Repositories) project was charged with developing practical solutions to the problem of managing IPR in collections of digital learning materials. The work was carried out between 2005 and 2007 and was led by Ulster University, Northern Ireland, in collaboration with the UHI Millennium Institute, Scotland.

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