Guidelines for electronic publishing

Guidelines for electronic publishing

The availability of computing resources within the University connected to the local network and hence via the universities gateway to JANET and the internet, allows virtually everyone with access to these facilities to publish information accessible to the whole internet world. All that is required to become a "publisher" is access to electronic mail or to a World Wide Web (WWW) server.

Note: sending electronic mail to any extended group such as a mail-list or placing information onto a computing system in such a way as to make it accessible to a WWW server is considered to constitute its publication.

As publishing information in this manner via the University's IT facilities will visibly identify the information as originating within the university's network domain, the university as well as the individual(s) concerned may be held responsible for the content of any such publication.

These guidelines have been drawn up to define what is believed to be acceptable practice, both in the interests of the individual information provider and the institution.

As an electronic publication a number of laws apply as well as a number of national and local regulations. No item published using the University's facilities should contravene statutory legislation in existance from time to time, including:

  • The Copyright Law,
  • The laws of Defamation, Libel and Slander,
  • The Computer Misuse Act.
  • The Obscene Publications Act,
  • The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act,
  • The Telecommunications Act,
  • The Data Protection Acts,
  • The Equal Opportunities Act,
  • The Official Secrets Act,
  • The Protection of Children Act,
  • The Race Relations Act.


Nor should it result in any violation of:

Every item published is subject to editorial control. In the case of items produced by an individual, or a group of individuals, acting as an individual author or as joint authors, the editorial control and responsibility rests with the individuals. For items published on behalf of a formal part of the University, such as a department, a planning unit, a faculty, or even the institution as a whole, editorial control and responsibility is formally delegated and is exercised by the "responsible officer".

Every item published must clearly identify the nature of the editorial control under which it was produced. Items produced under one form of editorial control must not appear to have come from some other source or to claim an authority they do not formally posess. In particular, items published under individual editorial control must not appear or claim to represent an official University publication or position.

The University allows individuals to publish information over which it does not exercise any specific editorial control. The University disclaims all responsibility for such publications. An individual publishing such items will be held responsible for any infringements of law or applicable regulation, and for any consequent claims.


Issued by the Director of the Computing Service on behalf of the University.

Last reviewed on 05-October-1998.