Statement on Intellectual Property Arising from Undergraduate and Taught Postgraduate Student Projects
This document addresses the ownership of intellectual property arising from work completed by undergraduate and taught postgraduate students as part of student projects in the School of Computing at Dublin City University.
The University's research policy states that the "University shall have no vested interest in inventions developed by students who are not employees unless commitments to sponsoring agencies are involved." (see http://www.dcu.ie/research/research_policies.shtml). This means that in general, students are in ownership of any exploitation rights arising from their own projects.
However, within the School of Computing there is a sliding scale of involvement of Academic Staff in devising, developing, guiding and otherwise contributing to project work, especially projects in the final year of degree programs and as part of taught Masters. This can vary from the case where
(a) the idea for the project comes from the staff member, the background information is provided by the staff member and the way in which the project is developed and implemented is closely monitored by the the staff member;
to the case where
(b) the idea for the project comes from the student who gathers all the background material and who receives little guidance from any member of staff.
Both of these extremes are common and acceptable to the School of Computing, although we do encourage students to avail of the experience and the expertise of our staff as much as possible.
Accordingly, and to encourage Academic Staff to contribute wholeheartedly to undergraduate projects it is fair that the contribution of such staff in cases where staff make a significant contribution to a project, be acknowledged through their own part-ownership of intellectual property arising from that project.
Where student and staff member are in agreement about such division of potential intellectual property then the following form (in PDF) should be completed and signed by both student and staff, ahead of the commencement of the project. One signed copy should be retained by the student, one signed copy should be retained by by the staff member. In the case of joint projects (with more than one student involved) then one of the collaborating students should sign and retain on behalf of all students involved.
In order to prevent unauthorised use of source code from student projects, the School undertakes henceforth not to make source code for student projects generally available on the WWW, except for the purposes of assessment and examination, and for subsequent use in follow-on project project work within the school. Unless it is expressly agreed otherwise, in advance of the commencement of a project, students agree to their project code and documentation being made available for this purpose. This is in line with our policy on copyright for such matters.
This document applies to undergraduate and taught postgraduate students only. Under the section entitled "Invention Rights of Students" the University policy (see http://www.dcu.ie/research/research_policies.shtml) states
"Students employed by the University in any capacity are covered by the terms of this [University] policy. In addition, where a student receives financial aid or remuneration under a sponsored research, training or fellowship programme, his/her rights in any invention are limited by the terms of the University agreement with the sponsoring agency."
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