Licensing Research Data

If you don't supply a license for your research data, you reserve all rights to its use (see copyright). However, copyright does not exist on factual data itself, only on the “creative” part of the data – e.g. the layout of a spreadsheet.

If you apply an Attribution or Non-Commercial CC license, it might prevent people from using your data. It is therefore recommended that a Creative Commons CC0 waiver is used – this surrenders rights to the data as far as possible. Attribution should still occur if people use your data in their research - good research practice means that people should cite your data if it is used, and EPSRC principles state that credit should be given.

Details of the various Creative Commons licenses are available on the CC web-site. The (work in progress) Creative Commons 4.0 licenses aim to be more data friendly than the current CC 3.0 licenses and might be appropriate.

Other Open Data licenses are also available. Much more information on data licenses is available from the DCC guide on how to license research data.

If you are releasing open source software, we recommend you consult the Sound Software site for information.