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Scholarly publication and invention disclosures – guidance to UITS based on IU policies, informed by the Empowering People Information Technology Strategic Plan (Action 25)

10 September 2013[1]

1.   Introduction and scope 

This document constitutes policy and practice directives for staff of University Information Technology Services. This document is consistent with all relevant IU policies and applicable state and federal laws. This document has been adopted as policy by University Information Technology Services and applies to professional, service, and hourly staff. The policies and procedures explained here can be adopted by other academic units in ways that enable accomplishment of Empowering People Action 25 and in the process aid success in pursuing Empowering People Action 70.

Other organizational units within OVPIT and IU generally may also adopt policy interpretations set out here in whole or in part for their own use.

Many professional staff at IU contribute significantly to the intellectual and creative output of IU and the US in general, and add significantly to the total body of human knowledge and discoveries. The information presented here was developed as part of Office of the Vice President for Information Technology (OVPIT) and Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) efforts to support accomplishment of Actions proposed in Empowering People: Indiana University's Strategic Plan for Information Technology (available from http://ep.iu.edu/), particularly:

  • Action 25: IU should support and pursue research into information technology itself. IT professionals and faculty should seek partnership opportunities for scholarly publication and invention disclosure that document meritorious research and discovery.
  • Action 70: IU should purposefully select areas of great and timely promise for strategic development of IT-enabled research, scholarship, and/or creative activity.

Facilitating research and creative discovery activities by professional staff, and enabling publication thereof, is in practice primarily a matter of properly and carefully reading existing IU policies rather than creation of new policies. The existing IU Intellectual Property Policy is online at https://www.indiana.edu/~vpfaa/academicguide/index.php/Policy_I-11; this document includes a number of very helpful definitions. Information presented here is drawn from authoritative sources (cited) about various policies and procedures relative to publication and various types of intellectual property and creative works is provided below. These are organized and explained as a matter of University Information Technologies policy.

2.   Invention Disclosures

Indiana University has a very clear – and from the standpoint of professional staff – quite generous set of policies and procedures as regards disclosures of inventions. This information is available online from the Indiana University Research & Technology Corporation (IURTC). Highlights follow:

  • Indiana University policy on handling inventions is very generous. When you disclose an invention to IURTC as a staff member, you are entitled to share in any profit the university makes from commercialization of that product. Furthermore, if you disclose something you believe to be patentable, generated with use of university resources, you should disclose it as soon as possible. If the university patents the disclosure, you get a share of the profits. If a year goes by after your disclosure and the University does not, then you can petition to have rights returned to you. The computing center has at least one dot-com millionaire who turned open source software he developed while working for IU into a business, and at least two people who hold patents personally after IURTC gave these individuals rights back to patentable ideas they head disclosed to IURTC. At least two other computing center staff have received payments as part of the IURTC profit-sharing process on inventions disclosed and then commercialized.

    Those achievements are academic in nature. (For example, peer reviewed technical articles in the core technical areas of concern to an academic unit, or NSF and NIH grants related to academic unit activities, are clearly academic achievements. Contracts as payment for operational services rendered to an organization other than a federal or state granting agency in general are less likely to be an academic achievement and this not appropriate for inclusion among the achievements of academic units.)

    In cases where one staff member has multiple adjunct appointments, achievements should be tallied in the reports of the academic unit to which achievements are most closely related. [Achievements should never be double counted – e.g. reported out by more than once by an academic unit].

    Most publications by UITS staff will be included somehow in one of the above categories. Of those, most are likely to involve someone with an affiliation with PTI and thus be included in the PTI online database. There will be some publications by UITS staff that do not fit into any of the above categories. In order to tally up such contributions so that such materials so that they can be effectively reported by IU as a whole, such OVPIT/UITS which are created by independent of any particular academic unit should still be reported and tallied in as UITS publications within the online PTI publication database.

  • All new intellectual property in the form of software written by staff will be disclosed by UITS managers or staff to IURTC using the form online at http://innovate.indiana.edu/iurtc/forms/index.shtml or some other appropriate report format. For staff with academic appointments, the usual IU policies for invention disclosures apply. Special requirements exist for potentially patentable intellectual property and as stated in https://www.indiana.edu/~vpfaa/academicguide/index.php/Policy_I-11 “creators shall disclose promptly to IURTC any potentially Patentable Intellectual Property.”
  • Not all software is an invention. Disclosure is not required for contributions of software so small as to not constitute an invention. IURTC has made a judgment that code creation consisting of up to 100 lines of working code or a critical security patch for mission critical software (created under time pressure during a security emergency) is not to be considered intellectual property that needs to be disclosed. When it is the staff member’s judgment that creating and releasing such a small amount of code is important to the security and operation of university computing systems, such small amounts of code do not constitute an invention.
  • Publication of peer-reviewed technical articles, book chapters, and other technical reports by professional and hourly staff. Here IU policy creates what is at first an apparent problem. Works that might be considered in other contexts to be works of traditional scholarship – articles published in a journal, conference proceedings published by an entity other than IU, technical reports published by means of depositing them in IU Scholarworks, or other form of publication disseminated by a commercial or academic publisher - are defined to be a University work under the IU Intellectual Property Policy when they are created by an IU staff member (https://www.indiana.edu/~vpfaa/academicguide/index.php/Policy_I-11). Quoting from this policy, “Copyright of University Works is held by the University in the name of the Trustees of Indiana University.” However, this same policy states: In the absence of contractual or legal restrictions to the contrary, the University grants Creators non-exclusive rights to non-commercial use and distribution of University Works they have authored. Creators who leave the University may continue to use such works at another non-profit institution for teaching, research, and other non-commercial purposes.
  • Particular procedure guidance for University Information Technology (UITS) staff (may be adopted by other units). The following applied to professional, service, and hourly staff of UITS and its subunits. Staff of UITS are:
    • Required to seek the permission of their immediate manager before publishing any work of any sort in any form. Managers will often give blanket advance permission for technical publications
    • Required to follow the UITS Employee Handbook as regards media contacts, as described in http://www.indiana.edu/~uitshr/services/UITSHandbook06.pdf
    • Advised in general to release copyrighted works as “© the Trustees of Indiana University. This content is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).” Such a recommendation may be adopted by other organizations within IU, of course.

3.   Use of IU Scholarworks as an institutional repository for publications, including when publishers refuse to share rights to final published works 

According to https://scholarworks.iu.edu/about.php, “IU Scholar Works is a set of services from the Indiana University Libraries and Indiana University Digital Library Program to make the work of IU scholars freely available and ensures that these resources are preserved and organized for the future.” Going further, the IU Scholarworks site (https://scholarworks.iu.edu/research/index.php) states “IUScholarWorks Repository enables IU scholars and academic units to make their scholarly materials accessible to the world, at a stable URL, and with the assurance they will be maintained over the long term. The repository's missions are to expand the dissemination and to ensure to the extent possible the long-term preservation of IU scholarship. All material deposited in the repository is freely available worldwide.” One can also publish data through Scholarworks “Indiana University provides private and Open Access … storage and preservation solutions for IU-affiliated researchers, free of charge.”

Staff may thus use IU Scholarworks as a way to disseminate and preserve availability of any and all of the following when they have the relevant rights so to do:

  • Copies of final, published copies of scholarly works
  • Technical reports self-published via submission to and publication in Scholarworks
  • Copies of presentations (such as Microsoft Powerpoint® presentations in the .pptx format)
  • Data sets

Many publishers allow authors the right to disseminate final copies of published works for non-commercial purposes. In other cases it is possible to hand-edit a copyright transmission form to include “Author retains the right to disseminate final copies of work for academic purposes from Indiana University web servers and digital repositories.” It is sometimes possible  to purchase rights to re-distribute final copies of a published work from a commercial publisher (although this can be expensive). It is always possible to include a preprint of an article which is word-for-word identical to the contents of a published article, in Scholarworks, under the title “Preprint of <insert article title here>, appearing in <insert journal or book title> during <insert year>. Detailed instructions setting out the information required to submit a document or data set to IU Scholarworks are included in Appendix 1.

4.   Eligibility of staff to serve as Principal Investigators or Project Directors

Indiana University has very inclusive policies regarding professional staff taking on the role of a Principal Investigator. IU policy on staff as Principal Investigators or Project Directors states (section 2.3 of http://researchadmin.iu.edu/REEP/reep_policies.html): “The PI/PD generally is a tenured or tenure-track faculty member of the University but may be any full-time academic appointee or staff who is personally and professionally qualified to conduct the project as determined by the dean or director of the submitting unit. Approval of the routing form by the submitting unit or dean’s office constitutes the unit’s approval of the employee as PI/PD.” 

5.   Internal and External reporting of research metrics by Indiana University

It is very important within the context of Indiana University to ensure that the accomplishments of professional staff are reported outside of the university in ways that allow IU’s academic units to properly reflect the total intellectual and artistic output derived from that units and its faculty member’s activities. This will be more and more important for IU as the use of Centers and Institutes as a way to organize research and creative activities (discovery, development, deployment, and support) increases.

A model for addressing this matter developed for reporting of activities of staff of the Pervasive Technology Institute as regards staff of the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, as follows:.

  • Achievements of UITS professional staff members, and UITS academic appointees other than tenured or tenure-track faculty members - with an adjunct appointment in an IU academic unit - should be reported to audiences outside of IU as achievements of an academic unit with which they have an adjunct appointment per the following guidance:
    • those achievements are related to the mission of the academic unit where their appointment is held
    • those achievements are academic in nature. (For example, peer reviewed technical articles in the core technical areas of concern to an academic unit, or NSF and NIH grants related to academic unit activities, are clearly academic achievements. Contracts as payment for operational services rendered to an organization other than a federal or state granting agency in general are less likely to be an academic achievement and this not appropriate for inclusion among the achievements of academic units.)
    • In cases where one staff member has multiple adjunct appointments, achievements should be tallied in the reports of the academic unit to which achievements are most closely related. [Achievements should never be double counted – e.g. reported out by more than once by an academic unit].
    • Achievements of UITS appointees who are professional and academic staff members without an adjunct appointment with an academic unit should be reported out as achievements of an academic unit when there is a faculty member of that academic unit included as a coauthor (for publications and other forms of academic and creative activities) or Co-Principal Investigator (for grant proposals and awards).
    • Most publications by UITS staff will be included somehow in one of the above categories. Of those, most are likely to involve someone with an affiliation with PTI and thus be included in the PTI online database. There will be some publications by UITS staff that do not fit into any of the above categories. In order to tally up such contributions so that such materials so that they can be effectively reported by IU as a whole, such OVPIT/UITS which are created by independent of any particular academic unit should still be reported and tallied in as UITS publications within the online PTI publication database.

6.   Use of university equipment for research and creative activities

Several IU policies speak to the use of personal equipment in research and creative activities, as well as to outside employment such as consulting. In the case of research and creative activities, note that the use of university-owned equipment may confer some ownership of intellectual property rights or creative accomplishments you intend to be personal and outside your university work. If you are creating something you intend to be yours and not share rights with IU, develop it on equipment other than that owned by IU. 

7.   Appendix 1: Information required to submit an article, technical report, preprint, data set, or other work to IU Scholarworks 

This appendix presents all of the information required in order to submit a document to IU Scholarworks. This is provided as a guideline to the information required. To submit a document or data set to IU Scholarworks, see the list of contact points available online at https://scholarworks.iu.edu/contact.php 

7.1.     List all authors. Add more rows to the table if necessary.

Last name

First name

Middle initial (optional)

7.2.     Title: 

7.3.     If this item has been previously published, such as in a journal or conference proceedings, enter the standard citation for that paper:

7.4.     If this item is published online, please enter the URL:

7.5.     Choose the type of content you are submitting:

Article

Audio file

Book

Book chapter

Dataset

Learning Object

Image

Map

Musical Score

Plan or blueprint

Preprint

Presentation

Software

Syllabus

Technical Report

Thesis

Working Paper

Other

7.6.     List any keywords you want associated with your item: 

7.7.     Enter the abstract for this item:

7.8.     List any sponsors and/or funding codes, e.g.:

For example, for work supported in whole or part by the National Science Foundation, some acknowledgement such as the following might be appropriate:

“This material is based upon work supported by the _______<list federal agency> under Grants No.  _______  <List grant numbers>. In case of NSF-funded research:   Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.”

7.9.     Describe use and reproduction rights, such as those from Creative Commons, e.g.:

“Except where otherwise noted, the contents of this presentation are © the Trustees of Indiana University. This content is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). This license includes the following terms: You are free to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work and to remix – to adapt the work under the following conditions: attribution – you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.” 

7.10. List any other information you’d like to include, such as where the paper was presented, etc. (optional):



[1] This version includes corrections to typographical and wording errors in earlier versions, and modified introduction to define scope of application clearly.