Open Access and Attribution on the Atlas

Supporting public access and respecting ‎intellectual property

Students in MPP and MPA programs are regularly admonished to avoid plagiarism, respect copyright, document sources, and not believe everything they read on the Internet. They are also encouraged to go beyond publicly accessible web content to consult books and journals that require visiting a library in person or online using their university library’s digital access license.

Publicly accessible sources

On the Atlas we endeavor to meet academic standards of attribution and adhere to laws governing intellectual property while maximizing the extent to which readers without university library privileges will have online access the referenced source material. To do this we rely heavily on source material that is both in the public domain and available online.

For most of the databases, all the material comes from online open access sources. All the MPP/MPA program descriptions in the program database come from publicly accessible portions of university websites. All the policy management advice in the advice database comes from websites of international governmental organizations. All the course syllabi cited are, or have been, publicly available online, or have been provided to the editors to be made publicly available on the Atlas.

For book chapters and journal articles, where we find a link from a website that appears to adhere to responsible policies for open access, we include it. This includes the websites of publishers that provide open access to historical articles, university websites, author websites, and sites operated by nonprofit entities such as Internet Archive and sites financed by international governmental organizations such as the World Health Organization’s Virtual Campus for Public Health.

Recommended readings in topic descriptions

One area of the Atlas where non-open-access materials are cited is the topics database. Each topic page includes descriptions of recommended readings from MPP and MPA courses, most of which include references to books and articles that are not available online without purchase or licensing arrangements. However, in the readings recommended for each normed topic in Atlas Courses, we use open access material wherever possible.

The use of “drawing from” in concept descriptions

As we complete the reconstitution of the concept database from the old to the new Atlas, we will use only open access source material. This includes online sources such as Wikipedia where editorial control is less rigorous than that in scholarly publications. In referencing such material we note and provide links to the sources. We occasionally use the term “drawing from” in order to give full credit to the source without constraining our ability to edit and supplement the material for clarity and context. We take responsibility for the validity of the Atlas entry for the purposes of teaching and learning public management, without wishing to imply that we consider that all the other material on the cited source page is or will remain appropriate for such purposes.

Our goal in generating the Atlas concept descriptions is not to provide – and certainly not to claim credit for – original insights into the meaning of any concept. Our goal is to provide concise descriptions of the concepts that we believe, based on our analysis of course syllabi and competency standards, are most important for MPP/MPA curricula.

Images on the Atlas

Most of the images used on the Atlas have been retrieved online, usually through a Google Images search of the pertinent word or phrase. In seeking images for the Atlas we look for any indications of copyright restrictions. Where such we find such restrictions we either do not use the image, or in certain cases we have paid the fee required for use on the Atlas.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 21 April 2016.

Image: Open Access @ CUNY, at, accessed 19 December 2015 and, at, accessed 21 December 2015.