Skip to Main Content

Copyright Tips for VMC Presentations & Projects

Copyright Status of Student Scholarship

Good news! You own the copyright to any scholarship you create, or share rights to work that you collaborate on.

Because you own the copyright of your scholarship you have the ability to license your work and give permission to others to use, share, and repurpose your work. 

As a copyright holder, you should consider what you want others to do with your scholarship. Do you want your work to be Open?
(See "What is Open?" below to learn more)

According to the Davidson College Intellectual Property Policy:

All right, title and interest in and to all Member-Owned Intellectual Property (as defined below) shall be solely and exclusively owned by the Member who made, conceived, developed or first reduced to practice the Member-Owned Intellectual Property.

Note: There are some exceptions to when you own copyright to your scholarship. According to the IP policy: "as a general rule, faculty and students should own their scholarly works. However, Davidson College believes that it should own scholarly works that are patentable (or otherwise have commercial applications), commissioned by Davidson College, created using substantial resources of Davidson College or are associated more with Davidson College than the creator." See section V.A of the College's Intellectual Property statement for more explanation.

How to Open Your Scholarship

What is Open?

Open scholarship is work that has been made available to others through an open license, such as Creative Commons.

Openness is a spectrum. Something might be either:

  • Open Access, meaning it is free to use without cost
  • Open Educational Resource, which is both free to access but also extends permission to repurpose and modify.

Pros and Cons of Open Scholarship

Pros Cons

Broader audience:
Open scholarship is more available to your audience and has a wider reach than scholarship that is not open

Risk of Being "Scooped":
If your scholarship contains cutting edge insights or discoveries, you may not want to open your work too widely before officially publishing it, as there might be concerns that someone would publish your ideas before you do.

Add value to your work
Because there are less barriers to someone else using open scholarship, it is more likely your work will have benefit beyond the course the project or scholarship was for.

  • For instance, students at Davidson can easily build off of someone else's open project because they do not need to seek out direct permission to incorporate it into their work.

Potential challenges to republishing:
Some publishers will not accept a publication if it has been published elsewhere before submission (e.g. if an article is available on an online repository, a journal publisher might not want to republish it).

  • If you are interested in publishing, it might make more sense to explore ways to open your work during the publishing process or after your work has been published. See How To Publish Open Access on our Open Access Guide
Supporting Equity:
Openness is a growing movement that aims to provide alternatives to a traditional publishing model that leaves out marginalized readers and authors. 


How to Use an Open License

The most straightforward way to open your work is to use a Creative Commons License. These are pre-written terms of use that outline how someone else can use your scholarship. On one end, you can allow others to do anything with your work as long as they attribute you; on the more restrictive end you can limit use to only non-commercial settings or prevent edits to your work.

Choose a Creative Commons License

Davidson College Library Research Guides are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Mailing Address: Davidson College - E.H. Little Library, 209 Ridge Road, Box 5000, Davidson, NC 28035