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Policy on Attributing Works of Others

Respecting the expression of ideas and works of others is basic to the scholarly process and educational mission of New York Medical College (NYMC).  Part of the value of your degree lies in adhering to standards of honor and integrity.  Academic honesty requires that all of your writing presents your own phrasing, regardless of the format or presentation; and copying of the words or ideas of other authors must be carefully attributed and documented as to the specific sources.  Students are expected to demonstrate applied knowledge of the copyright law, respect the intellectual property of others, and understand when and how to use them.1

The Health Sciences Library (HSL) provides both electronic and collections of licensed or copyrighted content from database producers, journal publishers, and other providers.  These works are licensed for use by NYMC faculty, students, employees, residents, or fellows; access privileges are not transferable.  Use of published or unpublished materials from the Internet by students requires the same rigor that print or other content requires.  Unlawful use of protected or copyrighted content may legally jeopardize access to these materials by the entire NYMC community.   Therefore, any student found to be unlawfully copying, downloading or transferring copyrighted works is subject to immediate suspension of access and all library privileges and services until the issue is addressed through the appropriate University processes.

Copyright is a term that describes the legal right of authors to exclusively control the communication, copying and/or distribution of their work and to collect royalties when they are used by others.1-2  The law protects authors’ words, images, music, or data.  Authors have exclusive rights to:

Web pages, like other works, are protected under the copyright law.  Scientific authors may transfer their copyrights to publishers or journals who then own the rights to use of these works.  Informative resources are available to better understand use of copyrighted materials, notably the AMA Manual of Style.3

Students unsure whether or not use of a work falls under fair use guidelines or how to obtain or document use of copyrighted works may request assistance from the library faculty (914) 594 4210.  At times, it may not be clear who the current copyright holder is, or how to obtain permission to use materials or websites. Consults may be scheduled, and staff will assist students in the use of software that may identify copied or plagiarized wording.     

For more information, there are many good web resources to facilitate the legal use of scholarly or licensed materials.  Creative Commons, for example, is one alternative to traditional copyright that is designed to allow the author to retain copyright while giving permission to others to use materials for nonprofit purposes.4 

1U.S. Copyright Office.  Copyright basics. http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

2Medical Library Association.  Rev. ed.  The Copyright law and the health sciences librarian.  Chicago, IL: MLA, 2007.  Available:  http://www.mlanet.org/members/copyright/index.html

3Iverson, C.  AMA manual of style: A guide for authors and editors.  10th ed.  New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2007.

4Creative Commons.  http://creative commons.org/

Updated 08/31/2010 D.Cunningham

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