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In this section:

  1. Standard licences
  2. Research data and copyright

Whatever form of publishing is used, research data needs to be licensed to remove any ambiguity over what users can and cannot do with your data.

While it is possible to develop bespoke licenses for the individual use case, there is a range of standard, easy-to-use, licences and waivers available. These afford enhanced organisational efficiency, reduced costs and increased user-awareness of licence terms. 

Standard licences

Creative Commons (CC):

Creative Commons (CC) licences are fast becoming the most used and recognised standards for providing access to data. They permit the free-of-charge copying, reuse, distribution and, in some cases, modification of the creator's work without having to obtain permission each time.

The benefits of using standard licences include:

  • the ease of use of the licences,
  • widespread adoption,
  • familiarity,
  • flexibility,
  • availability in human-readable or machine-readable forms.

CC Zero (CC0): CC0 was created to facilitate the release of content, data, datasets and databases into the public domain. Where this is not possible, a CC0 Licence provides the means for the rights holder to provide an irrevocable, royalty-free and unconditional licence.

Open Data Commons:

Open Data Commons has produced three licences for datasets:

  • Public Domain Dedication and Licence, which puts all your material in the public domain,
  • Attribution Licence, where re-users must attribute any public use of the database in the manner specified in the licence,
  • Open Database Licence, requires re-users of your data to share back changes.

Open Government Licence:

The Open Government Licence facilitates the reuse of government and other public sector information. It replaces the "Click Use" licence previously used to provide access to Crown Copyright materials. It is available in human- or machine-readable formats, but it should be noted that it does not permit copying of logos, registered trademarks and other intellectual property such as patents.

Additional guidance on how to license data is provided by the Digital Curation Centre.

Research data and copyright

Copyright is an intellectual property right, assigned automatically to the creator, that prevents unauthorised copying and publishing of an original work. Copyright applies to research data and plays a role when creating, sharing and reusing data. Please consult the University's guidance on copyright and intellectual property for more information.

Please don't hesitate to contact the RDM team for further information and advice.