Protecting Academic Resources

Academic resources are in a sense the life blood of higher education. Continuing learning is fostered by the research and work of scholars and students. However, sometimes the academic resources resulting from their work is not protected from theft and unlawful use.

The main ways in which academic resources are exploited are by copyright infringement and plagiarism. Putting in place appropriate safeguards and enforcing rules and penalties can go a far way in protecting academic resources. With so many academic resources available in electronic format there are a multitude of safeguards that can be used.

One way to protect and prevent wholesale printing and copying of electronic academic resources such as journals is by watermarking. Some publishers imprint watermarks into their journals so that when printed the document is almost unreadable. Others establish features that render the document unprintable or unable to be copied.

Some academic institutions have strict codes in place to prevent the excessive photocopying of academic resources. Many institutions have guidelines that explain how much of any academic resources can be reproduced for research purposes without breaching copyright laws. This is the principle of fair use and varies somewhat from country to country. Photocopying entire books can no longer be done as a matter of course.

In this the Internet age, academic resources are being protected by the use of plagiarism detection software. So prolific is the practice of plagiarism and theft of academic resources or intellectual property that many educational institutions use these types of testing software regularly. Some of these tools used to detect plagiarism are available for free online. However, the more advanced ones come with a price tag attached.

Interestingly, protecting academic resources is not just the responsibly of the author or institutions that publish their work. It is the collective responsibility of everyone.

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