UCL Guidelines on Publishing

Please Note: Issues raised by the use of electronic information networks for the publishing (or self-publishing) of academic work are currently under consideration by the Planning & Resources Committee.
These guidelines will be revised in the light of those discussions.

This is the ninth draft, produced on November 1st, 1994.

  1. 'Publishing' and 'publications' refer to information of whatever sort which is issued, or stored electronically, by whatever means such that

  2. 'Information' is not limited to words but may include for example visual images and computer programs. Publishing includes specifically the use of electronic systems such as Gopher and World-wide Web; computer bulletin boards, conferences and discussion groups; and e-mail. Fax should also be treated as a means of publication, because of the risk that faxes may go to the wrong number or are seen by people other than the addressee.

  3. 'Publisher' may include:

  4. In any form of publishing:

  5. In electronic publishing, additionally:

  6. Anyone who registers an address for an electronic information system in an external index must not make it appear that their address is the principal access point for all UCL systems. The home page of independently registered systems must contain a pointer to the UCL home page.

  7. Where it is not possible to have a single access point for UCL publications (for example, with World-wide Web):

  8. A summary of some of the legislation relating to publishing is attached for information, but it remains the responsibility of the individual (as publisher) to stay within the law.

  9. Queries
    Technical aspects of electronic publishing
    Auditing of recruitment publications
    Susan Nettle, External Affairs
    Other publicity and public relations
    Susan Trubshaw, External Affairs
    Editorial policy for UCL-Info
    Susan Nettle, External Affairs
    Use of UCL logo and name
    Susan Trubshaw, External Affairs
    Data Protection
    Departmental data protection officer; or Lewis Kirby, Central Services

Some legislation relating to publishing

Copyright, patents and intellectual property

The owner of intellectual property (e.g. writings, visual material, computer programs) must give permission before it is used. Usage includes storing or displaying material electronically. Several people may hold rights over different aspects of one publication (e.g. the script, music and graphics of a video tape).


Facts concerning organisations or individuals must be accurate and verifiable, and the organisations and individuals must not be portrayed in a way which could damage their reputation. Beware of storing research data electronically from which organisations or individuals could be identified.

Official Secrets

Research or consultancy for governmental bodies may be covered by these laws.

Equal Opportunities and Race Relations

Published material which discriminates, or encourages others to discriminate, against people on the grounds of race, sex or gender is illegal. More wide-ranging discrimination, for instance against disabled people, will contravene UCL's policy on equal opportunities and could bring UCL into disrepute or even involve the College in legal liability.

Protection of minors

Material which might be damaging to minors must not be stored electronically or published. This applies particularly to violent or pornographic material and could include, for instance, transcripts of research material. An increasing number of secondary schools is linked to the Internet and therefore has access to electronic information systems at UCL.

Data Protection Act

Any information about a living person which is stored on a computer falls within the scope of the Act. The information may be gathered and used only in the ways specified in the department's and/or the College's registration under the Act - and only if the people who are recorded have individually given their permission. In the case of minors, permission must be given by their legal guardians. Permission is needed in particular if the data might allow the subjects to be identified by gender, race or colour: this applies also to information systems such as World-wide Web which can store photographs.

Computer Misuse Act

Unauthorised access or modifications to computer systems are prohibited, as is publishing material which encourages or allows others to gain unauthorised access. This includes storing or re-issuing material from abroad which may be legal in the home country but illegal in the UK.


Publications which may incite others to commit criminal acts - or even to contemplate them - are likely to be illegal.

In some cases illegal publishing by a member of the College may implicate UCL - for instance as the provider of the computer facilities which allow publication to take place.

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Comments and queries   Last modified 28/11/1995