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Ownership and rights

Ownership of Intellectual Property (IP)

As a researcher, you should clarify ownership of and rights relating to research data before a project starts. Ownership and rights will determine how the data can be managed in the future, so these should be documented early in a project through data management planning.

All research data created at Bond University is subject to the Research Data Management and Sharing Policy RES 4.2.1


In general, Bond University owns intellectual property rights, including copyright, in research data originated by academic staff. In the case of research works or data, the University assigns copyright in that work to the academic staff member who created the work. The University retains the right to reproduce or disseminate this work for teaching and research purposes royalty-free. Bond University retains ownership over research that is used in course materials. The author is granted the right to reproduce or disseminate the work as part of their teaching and research.

The University also owns intellectual property rights in data created or generated by an academic staff member where the University has made a specific contribution to the creation or collection of data, e.g. through funding or facilities or the provision of background intellectual property.


In general, students own the copyright in all materials generated in the course of their studies, including their thesis and the research data, except for the following three situations:

  • The university has made a specific contribution of funding/resources/facilities or apparatus, and you make or contribute to a patent-worthy discovery or invention
  • The student has been provided with background intellectual property owned by the university or their supervisor
  • If the research is the subject of an agreement between the University and a third party that deals with IP rights, for example, a funding agreement that assigns all or some ownership of the research.

External parties

Where research is conducted in collaboration with partners outside of Bond University or for external agencies (e.g. funding bodies), ownership of copyright and other IP needs to be explicitly agreed to by the parties.

Ownership of copyright and other IP will commonly be dealt with in a document such as a funding agreement, contract or memorandum of understanding. All researchers should be familiar with the requirements of funding agreements, contracts and partnership arrangements and consider these during the data planning process.

Australian copyright and research data

The Bond University's Research Code of Conduct Policy RES 4.5.1 and laws relating to ownership of copyright and other intellectual property apply to data used and created as part of research at the University. 

Australian copyright law applies to research data that is created or compiled in the same way that it applies to written works such as books, journal articles and reports.

The data must be sufficiently original for copyright protection. Originality requires some independent intellectual effort by an author or authors in the creation, selection, presentation, or arrangement of information.

Examples of research data covered by copyright include tables, compilations, datasets, databases, and collections of photographs or multimedia works (sound files or videos).



Using third-party data

Data usage from third parties will usually be subject to copyright and/or licensing agreements. Even if research data is freely available for download on the internet, there may be terms and conditions associated with its use.

Copyright is retained under most purchase agreements or licences. However, copyright owners, through licensing arrangements, may give express permission for certain kinds of use/re-use, for example, non-commercial use. If the data you want to use (re-use) has no evident express permission, you will need to approach the copyright owners yourself.

Some kinds of third-party data may also have additional usage restrictions, such as ethical requirements around data linkage and the identifiability of human subjects. If your research involves third-party data about human subjects, you will need to complete a human ethics application that outlines how you will manage issues of privacy and to meet any requirements of the data owner

Data owned by the researcher

You can license your data collections if you want to make your data openly available. A license makes the terms and conditions of reuse clear and makes it easier for others to identify how they may use your data.

Data can be licensed using a Creative Commons license.  Read the ARDC Research Data Rights Management Guide

Contact to discuss any aspect of licensing your data.

Commercialisation of research data

Considering commercialisation as part of data planning will help ensure that commercialisation goals can be balanced in the longer term with policy and funding requirements around data sharing (particularly for publicly funded research) and knowledge creation. Commercialisation may necessitate limiting access to your research data temporarily, but it may be possible to provide open or licensed access at a later date once the commercial value of the data has been assessed.

Research data management toolkit