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Using Research Data In Your Posts And Articles


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#1 A.N.Onym

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 11:45 PM

Lately, I've been working on a series of articles on a certain topic. To prepare myself to write about it, I have read plenty of articles, posts and research.

Obviously, while the articles and posts do have useful info in them, research data, especially those involving user surveys, provide the most useful data.

Now, to what extent can I use the research data?

For example, the research cites top 5 reasons to use the software, lists them in the proper order and shows the percentage of users that have selected the option:
Top 5 Widgets People Like:
1. Blue Buzzing Widgets: 47%
2. Red Bouncing Widgets 23%
3. Green Twirling widgets 15%
4. Brightly Glowing Widgets 9%
5. Black Widgets 6%

Now, if I were to only list the reasons (the types of widgets) in my article and expand the list with more options, would that fall into the fair use category or it'd be the actual research data that was paid for and gathered from the users?

All in all, I will be mentioning and linking to the researches I have used, of course. In fact, that can also be a separate post in itself.

Thanks.

P.S. I did read a thread about fair use and news articles and plan on reading the fair use links, but I think this is a pretty borderline case.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 29 April 2008 - 11:55 PM.


#2 projectphp

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 01:54 AM

Now, if I were to only list the reasons (the types of widgets) in my article and expand the list with more options, would that fall into the fair use category or it'd be the actual research data that was paid for and gathered from the users?

I don't know what that means exactly, but my law degree free understanding is this:

Fair Use:
A report conducted by {INSERT NAME} on {INSERT WHAT IT WAS ABOUT} concluded the following:

(NB You should use blockquotes to be clear it isn't yours)
1. Blue Buzzing Widgets: 47%
2. Red Bouncing Widgets 23%
3. Green Twirling widgets 15%
4. Brightly Glowing Widgets 9%
5. Black Widgets 6%

I think that this shows {YOUR COMEMNTS HERE}.

If you try to pass off research as your own, no good. If you quote in full, no good. But quoting a portion and making commentary is fine.

#3 A.N.Onym

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 02:42 AM

Yes, that's the most used form of attribution.

However, I'd like to make a complete, more comprehensive list. Using a quote to just insert a part of another research will make the data look odd, out of place and irrelevant to the list that I have compiled.

Would mentioning and attributing the research (saying that I have partly used the data from it) under the list be enough? It'd convey the same meaning the quote does, IMHO.

As far as I understand, if I only take meaning (widget types) and use my own words to describe the data (remove, categorize and use other words in widget type names) that I want to present, that'd be my own work, right?

I have lately found a link that says

Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself; it does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.

If I remember right, that applies to most work (originality), but in this case, the work has been in gathering the data, not in providing it (the users gave the data to the surveyor).

Edited by A.N.Onym, 30 April 2008 - 02:43 AM.


#4 iamlost

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 11:20 AM

If I understand you correctly you have research from one place saying something about certain widgets plus research from somewhere (or multiple otherwheres) else with info about certain other widgets and wish to create a new comprehensive table/listing.

I would say absolutely fine - but (I do like to cover my butt :)):
* your example list sums to 100%. Potential stats logic conflict once start adding more - unless you are breaking into subgroups.
* were the numbers deduced in approximately similar manner (often the actual methodolgies are not made public) or will you be mixing apples and oranges?
* are they considering similar demographic groups and time or are you mixing apples and carrots.
* etc.

Lists of ingredients (or widget lists) can not be copyrighted. Surrounding text describing the meaning or the mixing of ingredients/widgets is subject to copyright - it is the creative part.

Finally, I would note (at least as an end note) where the numbers were obtained. It is amazing how much 'stature' an article acquires when it lists and links to sources. :)

#5 A.N.Onym

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:04 AM

Iamlost, I'll only present the list of widgets, not the actual percentage data.

Since one research doesn't cover all widgets, though they all belong to a certain strategy/technology, I'll read other research to learn about more widgets. Each of the research papers has its own categorization of widgets.

I will combine all the widgets in one list and use my own categorization and surround them with my own text, based on the information (thoughts, ideas, not numbers) from the research papers and my own thoughts. At the very least, I'll explain the ideas expressed in the research papers in much simpler language and format them better.

The papers list widgets for, with minor differences, a single group (widget users), the one being our target audience.


What is "the mixing of ingredients/widgets"? Is it the order in which they are listed or the categorization (which basically is nearly the same thing)?

Yes, I do intend to list and link to all the research papers. In fact, I was going to find specifically research texts/links/projects on various educational sites (in addition to whitepapers that widget sellers provide) to read/mention/link to to gain more insight and stature. I even have a lack of ordinary blogs to link to on the topic, though it can be easily corrected.


Still, I haven't received the [totally thorough] answer to the question: what about the work that the company did to create the research/survey? Isn't the effort to collect the list from the users worth something? Why isn't it copyrighted?

Truth be told, I did see a link that said that "something that existed before the data collection can't be copyrighted". It was about someone compiling a phone database of the customers and someone using that list. The one who copied the compiled list was found not guilty of copyright infringement for the abovementioned reason.

But still, I'd like someone to confirm it (the power of social proof in action).

Edited by A.N.Onym, 01 May 2008 - 12:08 AM.


#6 projectphp

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:29 AM

It comes down to whom you claim made the findings. If you claim the research is yours, that is NOT fair use. If you state that the original research papers shows XYZ.

Even if you join it togther, it is still NOT your research.

However, if you join together ideas, and state where the originals came from, and why you are doing what you are doing, that is more than likely fine.

Remember: misrepresenting the thruth is something you can get in trouble for (think advertising laws) so be very careful about what you actually state.

Why isn't it copyrighted?

It is. Everything always is. The moment you publish anything, copyrighted!

"something that existed before the data collection can't be copyrighted"

Collection is NOT the same as research. Research finds NEW information. Collection takes what is public domain and reconfigures it, e.g. taking someone else's copy all the A's in a phone book is just taking a subset of what already exists. Assumming your quote is accurate, for all a judge knows, you could have made the list yourself. Whereas researching conversion data accross web sources is new information.

Be very careful about how liberally you define the similarities between your situation and someone else's, because it could bite you in the rear.

#7 A.N.Onym

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:57 AM

To slightly simplify the matter, let the widget be a benefit of using some type of software. I intend to only collect those benefits and explain where they come from. How unfair would it be, if I, indeed, mention the whitepapers that I used in the analysis and say that I have used them to prepare the article?

#8 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 03:46 AM

Have you ever written a paper for a dissertation or thesis... even a referenctial essay?
If not, (or it's been a while), then I suggest looking some up.
They have standard 'tempaltes' that are deemed satisfactory... and as they often have to utilise or reference materials (inlcuding statistics and data) from other sources, they may give you some ideas on how to do this 'safely'.


Technically, so long as the data you are referencing is in the public domain (i.e. not bought/paidfor and licensed for non-release), and you clearly state who it originated from, and that your findings/representation may havel ittle/no bearing on the original - you should be covered.

#9 A.N.Onym

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 03:48 AM

Yes, I have created a couple of course works.

I guess I have to find a way to present the information in such a way that it'd be easily consumed and be properly attributed.

#10 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 06:12 AM

Follow the 'text book' examples - literally (2 puns :)).

In msot cases, they make a reference and asign an identifier.
They then provide more details in a side block, footer note, or have a reference section.
You can do much the same (with the added bonus of targets/links).

If it's been acceptable in print and academia - should be fine for you too.
Might as well include a disclaimer as well - making it clear who says what, and that they are not 'endorsed' etc.

#11 A.N.Onym

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 03:39 AM

Actually, on the Web, it is more acceptable to link directly from the paragraph with the relevant words as link text (except maybe in publishing actual research or on Wikipedia). But yeah, I've got the idea. I'll be just writing my own ideas, based on the research data.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 06 May 2008 - 04:12 AM.


#12 bwelford

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 08:36 AM

Actually, on the Web, it is more acceptable to link directly from the paragraph with the relevant words as link text

I think it's even better than just acceptable, Yura. Many people will become aware of inlinks to their work and will appreciate this. In a sense you begin to develop social media like networks.

#13 A.N.Onym

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 08:42 PM

Precisely. I am developing a list of blogs on the topic for this reason, too (apart from just gaining more insight into the topic). Also, collaborating with bloggers and exchanging information might also help in value networking that can also lead to links to a finished piece. But that's a topic of another discussion, I guess.



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