Copyright of Third Parties

Copyright of third parties, such as publishers of psychometric tests, software providers or private sponsors, should be considered while planning your data collection because they affect which information should be included in your data documentation.

  • Publishers of psychometric tests hold the copyright on the wording of their test items. Thus, publishing and redistributing the exact wording of test items (e.g. as label in your SPSS file or as variable labels in your codebook) can be regarded as infringements of copyright. In this case you should not include the exact wording of an item but only refer to items in a way that other users can identify the relevant items with help of the test manual.
    • e.g. do NOT include: Beck’s Depression Inventory: [Item Wording]
    • use instead: Beck’s Depression Inventory: [Manual Item number]
  • Please note that approval of original authors/copyright holders also has to be obtained when a copyright protected test is translated to another language.
  • Commercial publishers of psychometric tests show increasing interest in controlling data that underlie the standardization of psychometric tests that are published by them. Thus, if you intend to publish your test with a commercial publisher, future contractual restrictions may be imposed on the publication or use of your research data, which should be considered when planning your data management.
  • Copyright of software providers can also be relevant. The software itself or internal information about underlying algorithms that are not freely available may not be distributed without the consent of the software provider.
  • If third parties like private sponsors (e.g. enterprises or contract research) are involved or if researchers collaborate across different institutions, copyright on research data and patents derived from the research should be settled before data collection starts.
  • If your study involves secondary use of data you should also comply with the regulations outlined in the knowledge base’s section on reusing data and (if applicable) data use agreements between you and the repository that provided the data.

Further Resources