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Formatting your Thesis and Dissertation:Tools,Tips and Troubleshooting

Creative Commons Licensing

Copyright FAQs

Who owns the copyright to my thesis/dissertation?

As noted in the Thesis Acknowledgment form, any copyrights associated with the thesis remain with the author or other copyright holder. As a condition of being awarded the degree, however, the student grants the university a royalty-free non-exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the thesis, in whole or in part and in any format.

Who owns the intellectual property in my thesis/disseration?

As per Policy No. 2517, Intellectual Property Policy for Students, of the Student Handbook:

Intellectual property developed by students is owned by Florida Tech if the students were employees and paid by internal or external funds at the time of discovery, and the discovery was made within the normal scope of their employment.

In addition, intellectual property developed by students is owned by Florida Tech if the student inventor made substantial use of university facilities to make the discovery. Substantial use of university facilities means extensive non-reimbursed use of either university laboratories and/or computational facilities or human resources. The use of these facilities must be important to the creation of the intellectual property and does not include incidental use of facilities or extensive use of a facility commonly available to all students (such as libraries and offices) or any facility used by students for routine tasks.

The student inventor will be treated by Florida Tech as an inventor as described in faculty policy and the Faculty Handbook.

Will adding my thesis to the Scholarship Repository limit my ability to subsequently publish my research?

A research paper from the July 2013 issue of College & Research Libraries (Ramirez, Dalton, McMillan, et al) cited various studies indicating that instances of publishers rejecting scholarly papers in the areas of science and technology on the basis of pre-existing on-line theses are very rare.  The same paper found that, in the area of the humanities, a clear majority of journal editors and a majority of university press directors did not automatically dismiss papers derived from on-line theses.  If you are concerned your contributing your thesis to Florida Tech's Scholarship Repository will jeopardize future opportunities to publish your work, you may wish to consult with your thesis advisors or librarians regarding the policies of journals in your field of study.

How do I know whether the material I'm using is protected by someone else's copyright?

Did you create the material? If not, you will need to identify the owner of the work's copyright and determine whether the work's copyright protection has expired. You may find the following publication of the U.S. Copyright Office helpful: "How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work." (PDF)

What if I created the material? Is it possible that I no longer own the copyright to my own work?

Yes. If your work has been published, you may have transferred the copyright to the publisher. Check your publishing agreement: if the publisher owns the copyright to your work, you will need to request permission to reprint it in your thesis and elsewhere.

Is there a way for me to retain my copyright when I submit an article for publication?

You may be able to negotiate which rights you transfer to a publisher before you sign a publishing agreement. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has developed an author addendum that students may find useful in negotiating the rights that they transfer.

Where can I learn more about copyright?

A good place to start is the Copyright Research Guide.

Open Licenses

Here are resources that will allow you to explore the various types of open data licenses available and how to apply them to data. 

Project Open Data (U.S. Government):

Creative Commons: 

  • Zero License (CC0)
    • CC0 is a "no rights reserved" license that allows owners of copyrighted materials and database-protected content to waive their interests and place their works in the public domain. This allows others to use, build upon, and transform works as they wish. 
  • Attribution License (CC BY)
    • The CC BY License gives others the same rights as the CC0 license, provided that the original creator is credited for thier work. 
  • Attribution Share-Alike License (CC BY-SA)
    • Similar to the CC BY License, the CC BY-SA requires others to credit the original creator for their work. The CC BY-SA contains an additional measure that requires new works derived from the original work to be licensed under identical terms as the original work. 

Open Data Commons: 

  • 2 Minute Guide to Making Your Data Open
    • A quick quide on how researchers can make their data open for others to use. 
  • How to Apply Public Domain Dedication and License (ODC PPDL)
    • ODC PPDL Allows Users...
      • To Create: To produce works from the database.
      • To Adapt: To modify, transform and build upon the database.
  • How to Apply Attribution License (ODC AL)
    • OCD AL Allows You...
      • To Create: To produce works from the database.
      • To Adapt: To modify, transform and build upon the database.
    • Provided that You Also...
      • Attribute: You must attribute any public use of the database, or works produced from the database, in the manner specified in the license. For any use or redistribution of the database, or works produced from it, you must make clear to others the license of the database and keep intact any notices on the original database.
  • How to Apply Open Database License (ODC ODbL)
    • ODC ODbL Allows You...
      • To Create: To produce works from the database.
      • To Adapt: To modify, transform and build upon the database.
    • Provided that You Also...
      • Attribute: You must attribute any public use of the database, or works produced from the database, in the manner specified in the ODbL. For any use or redistribution of the database, or works produced from it, you must make clear to others the license of the database and keep intact any notices on the original database.
      • Share-Alike: If you publicly use any adapted version of this database, or works produced from an adapted database, you must also offer that adapted database under the ODbL.
      • Keep open: If you redistribute the database, or an adapted version of it, then you may use technological measures that restrict the work (such as DRM) as long as you also redistribute a version without such measures.