Intellectual property in research
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Intellectual Property rights in Research

Intellectual property rights in research refer to the copyrights and patents that the researcher and the publisher claim and obtain to protect the work from misuse. Intellectual property is a legal right of the researcher as research has value to the researcher. No one has a right to use some one else’s research findings in ways that are not allowed by the copyrights and patents. Any literary work, scientific work, artistic work, or other form of original work can be copyright protected or patented. In today’s world where there is a high amount of information available through internet. Copying and cheating of someone else’s work has become common and more difficult to control.

A research can have significance to the society, government, industries, or to public sector. There can be many other ways in which research can benefit someone. The researcher uses both tangible and intangible resources to fulfill the goals of the research. Every research is based on some significance otherwise spending time, money, energy and other human and non-human resources will be just wastage. When a researcher conducts a research it becomes his/her intellectual property. He has all the right to protect his discoveries by patents and other work by copyrights.

For some people although the application of intellectual property rights has slowed the process of development. They argue that people do not have open access to information and hence they cannot benefit from it. The financial considerations make it difficult for everyone to buy access to articles, books, or any other literary and scientific research work. However some sort of intellectual protection is necessary for the benefit of the researcher as well as the community. Without any protection of scientific work there can be more cheating and fraud in the use of other people’s work as their own.


The “fair use” is a term that is used to describe how the literary material can be used with in the scientific circle, by educationists, and by students. Many “open access” research work are available today online but there are still copyright rules that one has to follow. Some work could be used for the purpose of teaching or learning but their commercial use is not allowed.

Internet has made the copyright issue more important as information is available online to any person. Copyrights and other intellectual property rights help the author exert control over how the information can be used. Generally, the author and the work should be credited whenever used by someone in their own research. Sometimes people use other people’s ideas and do not credit them. Using someone else’s work as your own is an intellectual fraud and should be condemned in all of its forms.


Patents are more strictly regulated than the copyrights. Patents can be purchased for a discovery that is made by a scientist or a researcher. Patents should have some characteristics to claim patenting: novelty, non-obviousness, and utility. Any person who wants his/her discovery to be patented should fulfill the above criteria. The value of patent is in its name as patents are only novel and original discoveries made by man.

Every research institution has rules regarding intellectual property in research. These rules help students understand how to protect their own work and how to use other people’s work. Intellectual property rules also vary country to country so you should check the rules related to the country where you are conducting research.




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