Frequently Asked Questions

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What happens to my paper's copyright when it appears in Education-line?

Nothing. If the copyright belongs to you, you keep it. Education-line asks for your permission to display the work on the internet. If another party (such as an academic publisher, College or Learned Society) owns the copyright, you need to secure their permission for its appearance in Education-line. In either case, the copyright remains with the original owner. Further exploitation of the work by the copyright holder can therefore take place without reference back to Education-line.

Papers that appear in Education-line do not, therefore, become "public property".  Readers are free to browse the text on-line, or to print out a copy for themselves to read.  They may not make further copies to hand out as teaching material, for example, without first securing the copyright owner's permission.

Do papers in Education-line help with my Research Assessment Exercise rating?

No. Whatever criteria are used in the next Research Assessment Exercise, it is unlikely that papers that have not been subject to formal peer review will be considered.  The selection process for established academic journals provides the sort of assurance that review committees are looking for.  Electronic publication per se is not a problem. It may, indeed, start to become one measure of good practice in research dissemination. However, in relation to the Research Assessment Exercise electronic publication would still need the security of the type of peer review associated with print journals. Education-line provides a medium within which peer review could be efficiently and effectively conducted - but unless the bibliographic note explicitly mentions acceptance by a refereed journal no assumption can be made about the status of the research reported. (see quality)

Will journals accept my paper if I have already sent an early version to Education-line?

There is no single answer to this question. Authors are advised to ask publishers and editors directly with concrete examples.  Some publishers ask authors to assign all rights in all media as a precondition for selecting a paper for print publication. This might include a stipulation that no version of the work has previously appeared anywhere else. Others are less comprehensive.  However,  the willingness of publishers to grant permission for  versions of the work to remain or be published in other media will vary.  In  cases where a publisher has accepted an article for publication, permission can be given for an Education-line version to be available. Education-line can then add an acknowledgement and availability statement to the note attached to the paper's database record.

The SHERPA project, (SHERPA stands for Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) maintains a database of current information about publishers' policies on archiving scholarly work on-line by authors. The information in this database has been gathered by the ROMEO project (ROMEO stands for Rights Metadata for Open archiving). This database is very helpful in drawing attention to the detailed considerations involved, but should not be regarded as decisive in relation to Education-line submission.

My document is already on a web site. Why should it be in Education-line as well?

Education-line documents are indexed and stored for long term preservation and easy retrieval alongside other documents on the same or similar subjects. As a collection Education-line is known about  and used on an international basis by thousands of education professionals.  Entries in the Education-line database will also be listed in the British Education Index, and will therefore achieve wider public notice.

How do I cite an Education-line document in a scholarly article or curriculum vitae?

The particular conventions that you adopt for citing print publications can be adapted and notes of guidance given by journal editors or others should be consulted. In most cases, however there are just two items that need to be added. One is the web address (the URL) and the other is a date when the document was known to have been available. This "last checked" date might be seen as redundant, as we might take for granted that it is close to the date on which the citation was listed. Web addresses have a reputation for being temporary, however, so an extra emphasis is considered helpful. As with other scholarly citations, there is no single standard, but examples of acceptable citations from Education-line are as follows:

Saunders, Sam; Sheffield, Philip W. (1998) "Searching for Clues: Education professionals' use of the Education-line interface to uncover whole texts in education and training" paper presented at the Internet Research and Information for Social Scientists Conference, University of Bristol March 25th-27th 1998  Education-line  <> (January 19th 1999)

WEINER, Gaby (1998) "Scholarship, disciplinary hegemony and power in academic publishing" paper presented at the European Conference for Educational Research, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia September 17th to 20th 1998   URL: (checked 19-Jan-1999)

An authoritative and often quoted source of detailed guidance on electronic citation styles, by Janice E. Walker and Todd Taylor  is published by Columbia University Press. Information about this, and a useful guide to the principles of electronic citation are available at

Online! A reference guide to using internet sources by Andrew Harnack and Eugene Kleppinger (1998 edition) is presented at Lots of examples using standard formats for all types of internet resource are given.

The Technical Committee of the International Organisation for Standards responsible for information and documentation is TC 46. Its work on an international citations standard for electronic documents is at

What about plagiarism?

It is easy for students to copy on-line texts and to re-present them, with minimal rearrangements, as their own work. A tutor who suspects that she has been given such a piece can at least use the free text search capability of Education-line to pinpoint particular phrases in the hundreds or thousands of documents in the collection very quickly. If necessary, the evidence is readily available and a well informed discussion with the student can be initiated.  Not all web-based material is as transparently and precisely searchable as the documents in Education-line.

An academic who fears that their original ideas might be used by others before they have been fully developed might be chary of releasing a conference discussion paper to a wider audience.  However, all Education-line papers are marked with a date of entry and public notice of the originality of an idea is thereby established.

How is the quality of Education-line documents assured?

The principal quality control comes from the author.  Documents are accepted from authors with a professional standing within the education and training communities and they are widely and freely visible to colleagues. On average each Education-line document is downloaded at least once a month, many are called for on a daily basis. In some cases authors will add a note such as "this paper is a draft for discussion only, please do not quote or cite without contacting me first". Such a note is recognition of the provisional nature of the claims made in the paper, and readers should take the request seriously. 

A second factor to bear in mind is the full bibliographic record attached to each document in the database. A paper given at a graduate student conference, a working draft discussed at a seminar, or a political speech given by a Minister at an education conference will be described as such. A reader can apply their own critical judgement to the value of what they read in the light of the information they are given about the nature of the document.  

I'm doing research into interstitial learning in the Specialist College Sector, but I can't find any papers in Education-line. Why not?

New research inevitably opens up new areas and coins a new vocabulary. There might be earlier papers on similar issues, but they will be categorised with the traditional vocabulary. Use the Thesaurus to explore this possibility.  It is also very likely that you are in the process of writing the paper that you (and others) are trying to find. Make sure that your first draft is lodged in Education-line so that others can review and contribute to it.

I have found a conference abstract, but there doesn't seem to be a way of reading the full text of the paper.

When you search within a conference you can find the full bibliographic record for each paper. The screen has "References" as a heading. If there is no clickable text at the bottom saying "See Text of Paper" then the full text is simply not available. Clicking on "See Text of Paper" leads you to the Full Reference page, and this offers a choice of HTML or wordprocesssed versions at the bottom.
In some cases the work can be found in other ways. If it has been published as a journal article in the UK, then it will probably be listed in the British Education Index. In some cases it might be possible to contact the author directly. Please email Education-line if you need help.

How can I make sure that tables and figures are OK on-line?

Simplest is best.

When you wordprocess a table make sure that you use the table facility in your word processor. Don't try to shuffle figures across the screen using spaces so that they look as though they are in columns. If you don't want to use the table facility use the tab key once only between each cell in a row (whether the cell is empty or not) and use the return key once only at the end of a row. Don't use the space bar to line things up and don't add extra tabs. Format the tab spacing instead. If you do add spaces or extra tabs the alignment will be lost and the table will become indecipherable as soon as the document is moved to a new environment.   Learning how to do tables "properly" will be time well spent.

With figures it's much better to have one single image in a standarad graphic format than a combination of separate graphic and text elements. Embedded objects like spreadsheet charts are best avoided. If you have a diagram using arrows, shapes, lines and text boxes take a snapshot of your finished work and paste that back into the wordprocessed document as a single picture. Gif format with 16 colours works very well.

How do I know if comments have been made on a particular document?

At the very bottom of the Full Reference page for the document there will be a clickable button that says see comments on it. If the document is your own you will already have received an email from Education-line to tell you that the comment has been received and to explain how you can respond.   To date very few comments have been received. 

Can Education-line help me find information about the teaching of media education in schools?

Questions about particular subjects crop up from time to time. The British Education Thesaurus, used by the British Education Index and Education-line is designed specifically to help with this kind of enquiry.

Go to the main search page at

Choose the browse thesaurus option. At the next screen  type in MEDIA, press the "browse thesaurus" button and you are  taken to a fairly long list. Scroll down the list and find MEDIA-STUDIES [5] as a subject term. The 5 in brackets indicates 5 documents that have been indexed with that term. Click on it to select it and click the browse thesaurus button. This brings up a list of the terms that are directly connected with MEDIA-STUDIES in the thesaurus. Select the term MEDIA-STUDIES at the top of   that list, then choose to find documents (above the list) and opt to see documents classified with related and narrower terms as well (below the list)  Click on the search button. This brings a list of 12 articles (at January 17 2000).

More help on choosing a search strategy is available at

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University of Leeds 2004