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IP and open access: providing access to your ideas whilst protecting intellectual property

When building collaborative relationships, it is important that postgraduate research students strike a balance between opening out their research to potential collaborators and the need to protect any potential intellectual property.

Intellectual-PropertyWhat is Intellectual property?

Intellectual Property (IP) is the term used to describe the outputs of creative endeavour in literary, artistic, industrial, scientific and engineering fields that can be protected under legislation. IP is something unique that you physically create – an idea alone is not intellectual property. The following video provides an accessible introduction to protecting and exploiting your intellectual property, including a summary of the different types of IP.


The presentations are available as a YouTube playlist. To navigate between the different videos, you can access a dropdown menu from the top left hand corner, or alternatively scroll between the videos via the next and previous buttons at the bottom
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The Intellectual Property Office also offers a useful and accessible overview of intellectual property. If you need further guidance on IP, including advice on how to protect any IP that you might generate, then please contact the experts at your University, via the links below.


What is open access?

Open Access (OA) is free, unrestricted, access to research outputs. If a journal article or other research output is available open access, it can be accessed using an internet connection free of any publisher imposed charge or barrier.

There are some funder and institutional Open Access requirements, including the HEFCE Open Access policy, which applies to papers to be submitted to the post-2014 REF. In order to make your research outputs REF compliant, HEFCE require a version of your journal articles and conference proceedings (with an ISSN) accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 to be available in an institutional or subject repository.

An alternative, slightly tongue-in-cheek interpretation is offered by PhDComics.

Advice and guidance on Open Access policies and procedures is available from:

Open Access has the potential to be a powerful stimulus to research collaborations, enabling new audiences to access your research.


Further guidance and training

GW4 have also developed a ‘Guide to Research Collaboration’, an online resource to help you plan and manage your research collaboration.

All of the GW4 institutions offer practical skills development opportunities for researchers. Within these programmes there are a number of sessions which will prepare you for research collaboration. Further information is available at:

Doctoral students also have the opportunity to access skills training delivered at other universities within the GW4 Alliance, subject to availability.

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