Licensing is recommended when publishing research data. Licences allow you to share your data while stating clearly what others can do with the data. If you deposit your data with a data repository you may be asked to choose from a range of licences. Some commonly used licences for research data and/or software are listed below.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons licenses allow the copyright holder to retain copyright ownership of their works while allowing others to use the work under certain conditions specified by the chosen licence.

There are six main licence types:

CC-BY Attribution
Users can distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon a work, even commercially, as long as they give credit to the original creator of the work. This is the most permissive Creative Commons licence.

CC-SA Share-Alike
Users can remix, tweak, and build upon a work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the original creator and license any new creations under identical terms. 

CC BY-ND Attribution-NoDerivs
Users can copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format for any purpose, even commercially, as long as it is passed along unchanged and credit is given to the original creator.

CC BY-NC Attribution-NonCommercial
Users can copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and remix, transform, and build upon the material but any new works must be non-commercial and give credit to the original creator.

CC BY-NC-SA Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
Users can copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and remix, transform, and build upon the material but any new works must be non-commercial, give credit to the original creator and be licensed under identical terms.

CC BY-NC-ND Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs
This licence is the most restrictive. Users can copy and redistribute the material, but they must credit the original creator and cannot change the work in any way or use it commercially.

Open Data Commons

Open Data Commons licences are similar to Creative Commons licences but are intended specifically for use with datasets. Where the database contains third party content you should ensure that you have permission from the rights holder or that the content is covered by licences that permit the activities allowed by the chosen licence.  

Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-By)
The Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-By) allows users to freely share, modify, and use a database providing that they include a notice to the original database.

Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODC-ODbL)
As above but with a share-alike condition. The ODC-ODbL allows users to freely share, modify, and use a database providing that they include a notice to the original database and share any derivative database under an identical licence

Software

A list of open source licences for software is available on the Open Source Initiative website. Popular licences include the GNU General Public LicenseApache license 2.0 and MIT License.

Tools to help you choose a licence

The tools below can help you choose the most appropriate licence for your data/software.

Creative Commons 

Choose an open source license 

License Selector 

Public domain dedication

A public domain dedication allows the copyright holder to waive copyright ownership of a work and enables others to use the work without restriction. Attribution of authorship is not a requirement of reuse under the dedication, but the usual expectations of attribution and citation for academic scholarship should still be followed.  

Creative Commons Zero Public Domain Dedication (CC0)
Allows users to copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, including for commercial purposes, without asking permission.

Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and Licence (PDDL)
The PDDL places the data(base) in the public domain and allows users to copy, modify and create new works from the data(base) without restrictions.