Open licenses to share your data
What is a license?
Are research data protected by copyright?
Yes and no.
According to the Copyright Act (CopA),a work is protected if three conditions are met: it is a creation of the mind (the result of human activity), it is individual (a third person performing the same task cannot create an identical work) and it is expressed in some way (that can be perceived by the senses) (CCdigitallaw 2020).
This means that :
- raw or primary scientific data, e.g. unprocessed data, are generally not protected by copyright.
- processed or enriched data that meet the criteria of intellectual creation, for example graphics, data containing text or images created intellectually with a certain individuality are generally protected by copyright. (Hirschmann 2020)
What should I look out for when distributing licensed content?
- Only copyrighted works can be made available under a license.
- Only the author or copyright owner can choose to distribute his or her work under a license. This means that if a dataset contains protected data whose rights belong to third parties, you will have to ask for their permission.
- Once a content is put under a license, this one applies to anyone who would like to reuse it, including its author.
- Licenses are irrevocable. Once a license has been chosen, it is not possible to change it.
What are Creative Commons licenses?
Creative Commons licenses are the most widely used copyright licenses in the scientific world because they are compatible with both data and publications, international and relatively easy to understand.
However, Creative Commons licenses are not suitable for software. For this type of work, other Open Source licenses exist.