While collaboration tools offer a wide range of choices on how to communicate and share information and project group work, there are some things that site owners and content contributors should be aware of. This supplement is in addition to the web based collaborative interaction guidelines that the College Web Management Board has approved to facilitate effective and safe collaborative use of College web resources for 'many-to-many' interactions.


These guidelines are intended for all members of the College and to all forums hosted on College resources. Imperial related material hosted on sites outside the College are subject to Imperial's Terms of Use.


To ensure that collaborative use of College web resources:

  • is effective
  • in so far as possible, protects the College from the risk of legal action

Policy requirements:


It will be left to the discretion of the Content Manager to determine whether a forum, specifically one open to the public, should be moderated or whether review is adequate to avoid the publication of offensive or inappropriate content. When setting up or managing a collaborative web environment, you must consider the following before deciding whether a collaborative web environment is suitable for use in your project:

  • Data retention requirements (e.g. Research Council grants governance, Data Protection Act)
  • The site's likely availability (e.g. end user agreement, SLA)
  • Copyright restrictions on any information published on the site and have cleared copyright of any 3rd party material used.

You must NOT use collaborative web environments for formal teaching assessments.


With regards to the transfer of personal data over Web 2.0 mediums, it is College policy that information remains confidential and / or that users are informed of the exact purpose of the data being collected.


The Content Manager must include an advisory note on the forum that the views and opinions expressed on the forum are the views and opinions of the individuals expressing them and do not represent the views and opinions of Imperial College London. Notwithstanding such a disclaimer, the Content Manager is to all intents and purposes a publisher and the College is legally liable for what is published on its web pages.

Complaints Policy and Procedure

The Content Manager must provide access to a complaints mechanism on the forum which removes the content subject to the complaint within one working day of receipt of the complaint while the validity of the complaint is established. This requirement spans both term and non-term time, and implies that a group mailbox or similar mechanism needs to be set up for complaints, which is available to delegated representatives when the Content Manager is unavailable. With externally hosted sites, at least two people should monitor external or third party sites for inappropriate or offensive material. The complaints procedure must automatically copy any complaint made to ICT security. Where a complaint reaches ICT and no action has been taken within the one working day, the forum will be disabled, where hosted on College resources, until the complaint is dealt with by the Content Manager and adequate assurances regarding the future monitoring of the complaints procedure are provided.

Content Monitoring and Copyrights

The Content Manager or their delegated representative must monitor the content on their site on a regular basis (at least once per week during term time) and pro-actively remove any offensive or inappropriate material. This is included in the College ‘Conditions of Use of IT facilities.' Where appropriate it is recommended that the following disclaimer be placed in plain site

"Where the author is posting content but is not the copyright holder, they must seek the copyright holders' permission and correctly acknowledge the source. This also includes the use of 3rd party materials"


With internally hosted sites, the suitability must be considered in terms of accessibility or appropriate tools.


The content, site tools and site managers must adhere to College accessibility standards and the Accessibility Regulations 2018. Please look at the Meeting our accessibility standards pages or contact the Digital Accessibility Officer for further details and assistance.


Forum Covers all forms of online collaborative working including blogs, wikis, discussion forums, newsgroups etc
Content Contributors In the context of these guidelines is anyone who contributes or borrows materials to contribute content
Content Manager Is the member of the College responsible for setting up and /or the ongoing maintenance of the forum
Working day Means Monday to Friday but excluding Bank holidays and College closure
Review Means submissions are reviewed post publication on the forum and are removed if deemed inappropriate