Why License Data? - University of Virginia Library Research Data

Data Licensing
Why you should apply a license
to your data
Why should I apply a license to my data?
Licenses allow your data to be shared and re-used under
flexible, legally sound terms.
Licensing your data reduces uncertainty and ambiguity–
it lets potential users know how it can be re-used, mined,
combined, broken-up, or re-distributed.
Licenses created by Creative Commons (CC), GNU, Open
Source Initiative (OSI) and Open Data Commons (ODC)
allow you to easily manage the terms that automatically
attach to creative works under copyright, and to data.
Can I copyright my data?
Data is not subject to copyright. Certain aspects of databases are:
the database model, data entry and output sheets, field names,
and data contents if ‘sufficiently’ creative.
Licenses allow you to specify the ‘terms-of-use’ for your data.
They allow potential users to know up front if their intended use is
Different content require different licenses. Data must be licensed
differently than copyrighted content, though some data formats
are copyrightable, such as images, drawings, tables, charts, audio &
video files, etc.
Evaluate your data
•Did IRB impose any constraints?
•Is it HIPPA controlled PHI?
•Is it FERPA regulated student educational records or information?
•Is it data subject to export controls?
•Is it ‘sensitive data’ controlled by other federal, state, or UVa legal
requirements or policies?
•Is it research data subject to sponsor, institution or lab controls?
•Can my data be anonymized?
•Does my data sharing repository require a particular license for all
data submitted for deposit?
Which license should I use?
• What type of data formats do I wish to license: code, scripts,
computer programs, drawings, images, audio files, video files,
spreadsheets, etc.?
• Do I want to receive attribution for my data?
• Do I want others to be able to reuse my data?
• Do I want others to be able to build upon my data?
• Do I want to allow others to use my data for commercial purposes?
• Do I want to put my data in the public domain: no restrictions or
attribution ?
What License to Apply
Open Source licenses for data:
Creative Commons: CC-BY, CC-BY-SA, etc.
Open Source licenses for software, programs, scripts, code, fonts:
The GNU General Public License (GPL) v.3 is the most commonly used
license for software packages.
Things to consider when choosing a license:
Type of data
Commercial Use
Need assistance or have questions?
The UVa Library Research Data Services provides
consulting and training services to UVA researchers and
graduate students in all aspects of research data
We can help you navigate and negotiate through the
tricky issues and many approvals in order to responsibly
share your research data.
Contact us at [email protected]
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