Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Letters

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Letters

Article excerpt

What IP means to students

The thought-provoking article on university intellectual property policies ("'Huge amounts of confusion' over IP rights", News, 16 April) resonates with a research project currently being undertaken by NUS Services, commissioned by the Intellectual Property Awareness Network, into the perception and practice of university IP policies. It follows research that NUS Services undertook three years ago on behalf of IPAN and the Intellectual Property Office into student attitudes to intellectual property.

This was the first research of its kind, we believe, that asked students directly what they felt about the role that IP might play in their future careers and the support that they received in terms of IP education while on campus. The findings were sufficiently significant to underpin the IPO's decision to fund the development of a self-managed online resource for student IP education, which was launched last month.

Our current research will ask students and academic staff about their perceptions of the practice of the IP policy at their institution.

Ruth Soetendorp

Chair Intellectual Property Awareness Network

Fair representation

Recent research reported in Times Higher Education shows that the students' union "officer class" is lacking in diversity ("The student officer class still stands too far apart", News, 16 April). But it appears that THE's officer class also falls short on this score. Of the 17 editorial board members listed in THE, 16 are white (one is from Iran originally), six are women, six have some form of ennoblement (Sir, Dame, Baroness) and three are based at the University of Oxford. The president of the National Union of Students (white woman) is a board member. There are four vice-chancellors, no academics below the level of professor and no one specifically representing a trade union.

Of course, THE is not an elected organisation, but one wonders to what extent its editorial board's make-up is reflected in its coverage. As a middle-aged white man myself, I'm perhaps not best placed to answer this question. However, as a University and College Union representative, it seems to me that the opinions of leaders get a disproportionately higher level of coverage compared with staff at lower grades. Indeed, THE recently had a special feature on the challenges and responsibilities of being a vice-chancellor ("Know the score", Features, 5 March) and last week previewed its own Leadership and Management Awards.

London Metropolitan University's former vice-chancellor Malcolm Gillies was allotted a regular column for quite a long period, even as he was making a series of widespread cuts in our institution. How about a special feature on the challenges faced by union representatives or a weekly feature written by a different union representative?

David Hardman

London Metropolitan University UCU membership secretary and joint health and safety officer

Hate the sin, not the sinner

It's good to see Nick Hillman of the Higher Education Policy Institute responding to my letter ("It's not pure open access or bust", Letters, 16 April). But it's a shame that his response is so devoid of actual argument in defence of the Ukip Licence proposal. I can only assume that's because he realises it's indefensible.

Hillman complains that while the Hepi paper proposes practical alternatives to the status quo, my letter does not. That is because we are not in a status quo. The world is transitioning to open access, and doing it fast. Almost every week seems to bring an announcement of a new open access policy: sometimes from a university or a research funder, sometimes from a whole country. What is needed to attain the fully open access world that we will all benefit from is simply to continue along this trajectory, not to get sidetracked by retrogressive proposals such as the Ukip one. …

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