Code of Practice for the Publishing of Information in Electronic Format
1. Publishing Information
It is possible to publish information in electronic format using electronic mailing lists, newsgroups, bulletin boards and information servers such as the World Wide Web. These and other information tools can be accessed using College computer systems and networks.
This code of practice governs the publishing of information in electronic format by staff and students of Guildford College and, in particular, the use of College computer facilities for publishing information. The College is committed to ensuring a working and learning environment in which all persons treat others with humanity and respect. Every student is expected to conduct himself/herself in a manner which will not discredit or harm the College or its members. Failure to maintain this standard shall constitute a breach of regulations and students may be reported to an officer of the college. Staff are responsible for all information that they publish.
The College computer facilities should only be used for bona-fide educational use, except where other uses have been duly authorised by the College. These resources are shared by members of the College and users should refrain from acts that waste resources. It is important that information systems are not misused by the sending or displaying of material, or publicising access to such material, which is offensive or illegal.
2. Legal Framework
The attention of those who publish information in electronic format is drawn to various UK legislation which relates to computer use. These include:- Computer Misuse Act (1990) It is likely that any material which incites, encourages or enables others to gain unauthorised access to a computer system would be found illegal under the Act.
Copyright, Designs and Patents Acts
In general, these various Acts require that the permission of the owner of the intellectual property MUST be sought before any use of it is made whatsoever. It should be noted that the College logo and title are the property of the College and they, together with College Divisional addresses, may only be used for official college documents.
Data Protection Act (1998)
This provides protection of data which is stored in a computer or other electronic information system, that relates to any living person. The permission of each data subject should be sought and obtained before any information, including photographs, relating to them is stored in the system.
Facts concerning individuals or organisations must be accurate and verifiable and views or opinions must not portray their subjects in any way which could damage their reputation.
The display of pornographic or sexually explicit material, or publicising access to such material, is not allowed, irrespective of the legality of material in the country of origin.
Any material that either discriminates or encourages discrimination on racial or ethnic grounds, contravenes the Race Relations Act.
Any material which discriminates against any person on the grounds of sex, gender and, in some instances, sexual orientation, or encourages such discrimination, contravenes the Equal Opportunities Act
If advertisements are placed then they must comply with the Code of Practice issued by the Advertising Standards Authority which requires that all advertisements should be "legal, decent, truthful and honest".
3. Publishing policy for the College
Staff/students who publish information relating to and on behalf of the College should ensure that they have obtained the requisite permission to do so, and that the information has been approved by their Head of Unit/Division. It should be noted that while publishing on-line information offers enormous advantages, the same care in the management of data needs to be exercised, as is the case with conventional publishing. This includes:
Care in writing and proofing
High standards of layout following College guidelines where appropriate:
- Inclusion of information on the author, college and date, as appropriate
- Removal of out-of-date information
- Editorial changes to documents in electronic format should only be made with the permission of the 'owner' of the document.
Information published on the College World Wide Web servers can be accessed world-wide and copied very easily. It is possible to limit access to the campus only, or to particular groups on the campus through the use of access control and passwords and thought needs to be given as to whether a document should be on open or closed access. Staff and students should ensure that they do not disclose their passwords at any time and should note that they are responsible for all information contained within their computer directories.
5. Failure to observe this code
Failure to observe this code of practice by either students or staff will be considered a serious matter by the College. Where College regulations are breached the College will invoke the appropriate disciplinary procedures.
The College would like to acknowledge the help received from Surrey University in drawing up this policy statement.