Researcher responsibility & copyright

Learning outcomes

  • Awareness of the Australian copyright and implications for theses and other research publications
  • Understand and use the applicable SCU and Australian Codes of Conduct for research projects

As a researcher at SCU, you have rights and responsibilities as stated in the SCU Responsible Research Conduct Policy.

Publishing your research as an author or co-author in scholarly publications such as journal articles, conference proceedings or books is an important part of doing research. Your supervisor or mentor will guide you in the practice of authorship. The best time to start this discussion is at the beginning of your research project. Use your Supervisor – Candidate Agreement form to help guide this discussion.

SCU Research Services provides further support in understanding research contracts, including grants, publication rights and intellectual property arrangements. Additional information is available at Assistance from Research Services.

Recommended guidelines about authorship:


  • includes acknowledging others’ words, ideas and concepts
  • is required by Southern Cross University and expected by the academic and research community
  • styles used at Southern Cross University vary. Check which style to use for your school

As a researcher you may be asked to reference in the style of the journal/publication you will be submitting your paper to, check the publisher’s website for the correct style in the ‘instructions to authors section’.

See the SCU Library LibGuides for Referencing to learn how to reference correctly and avoid plagiarism.

See the Managing the literature RAISE module to get started with using EndNote and managing your references and citations.


  • is presenting someone else’s work as your own
  • includes failing to use quotation marks when directly quoting another person’s work
  • occurs if you fail to attribute the work of other people
  • is an offense under University Rules


  • is when you fail to acknowledge your previous publications in any current or new publications, especially if the ideas are not new.

Use the text-matching software called Turnitin to help you check your work for originality, improve your academic writing, and develop good scholarship skills. Use Turnitin during editing phases and on the final draft of your thesis. Access Turnitin via the Graduate School Blackboard site.

word cloud what is copyright

What is copyright?

  • a type of property
  • a kind of “intellectual property”
  • applies automatically
  • usage is governed by Fair Dealing
    SCU Copyright Guide

Copyright and research

Who owns copyright?

  • the author or creator of the work
  • there can be more than one owner
  • special rules for Commonwealth and
    State government published matter

As a student of SCU you will own copyright in the works that you create e.g. research, theses, essays, papers, websites, artistic or musical works.

Third party copyright refers to copyright works owned by someone else e.g. a photograph, diagram or music. Conditions apply to how you can use third party material.

When you submit your thesis to the Graduate School, you will need to complete the SCU Theses Collection Thesis Deposit and Verification Form. Look at it now and keep it in mind to make sure you comply with all copyright and intellectual property conditions.


  • Test your knowledge to help you understand your rights and responsibilities:

Conception and design of the project or output; analysis or interpretation of research data; and the drafting of significant parts of the research output or critically revising it so as to contribute to its interpretation – see Section 2.1 of National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC): Authorship.

Yes, this is highly recommended, as explained in Section 4.2 of National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC): Authorship. At SCU, you are required to complete the Supervisor and Candidate Agreement which includes a section about authorship attribution.

Section 2 – Definitions (7) e: Plagiarism – fraudulently, deliberately or inadvertently using the work of others without due acknowledgement, and claiming it as one’s own for academic or other purposes, or self-plagiarism.

Yes, in fact, it is highly recommended and a requirement for the final draft of your thesis. You are required to submit a Turnitin report as part of your Confirmation of Candidature and thesis submission.

Yes, as explained under Copyright in your thesis: so long as you do not exceed the copying limits under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act, and you acknowledge all sources (see Moral Rights).

See the “Hints on obtaining permisssion from copyright owners on the Copyright and your thesis page.

No, there are important guidelines about how you need to manage your research data, even after you have finished your research. See the Research Data Management module in RAISE.

Managing research information