Data Ready

La Trobe University

Copyright and licensing

Data Ready
La Trobe University

Copyright and licensing

Data Ready
La Trobe University

Copyright and licensing

Data Ready

Licensing for re-use

In order to publish the research data you create in a digital repository, you will need to clearly communicate the terms and conditions regarding the re-use of the data, as determined by whatever licensing agreements you have made with the University.

There are a number of options available to you for consideration in negotiating an agreement, with varying levels of restrictions.

Once your research data is expressed in a material form it will be protected by copyright. As noted, La Trobe University will own the copyright unless there is an agreement in place that specifies otherwise. Under the Copyright Act, the copyright owner can reproduce, publish, communicate or adapt the research data. If other people want to do anything else with this data, they must obtain the permission  of the University. This is the most restrictive option available, and could restrict the impact that your data may have in the future by making it difficult for others (including yourself) to reuse it in creative ways such as aggregating your data with other datasets.

A standard open licence allows the University to reserve some rights as the owner of the data, but allows others more rights for re-use than would normally be available under Australian copyright law. This makes it easier and more likely that others will re-use your data which will in turn increase your research impact. Some digital repositories require a standard licence as a pre-condition before allowing your data to be deposited there. A standard open licence is generally considered to be the best way to share your data openly while still retaining basic ownership rights.

Creative Commons Licences

Creative Commons (CC) offers a variety of standard licences based on the following four attributes, often summarised using just the corresponding symbol:

Attribution You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
Non-Commercial You may not use the material for commercial purposes
Share-Alike If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original..
No Derivatives If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.

By choosing the appropriate licence, Creative Commons gives you the flexibility to accurately reflect your wishes regarding data re-use. The following CC licences are currently available. For all CC licences, owners can generally:

  • retain copyright
  • grant a non-exclusive licence
  • enter into other publishing agreements
  • archive in an institutional repository, subject archive or personal website.

Only the user rights vary.

   

User Can:

Licence & Symbol

Abbreviated Name

Quote and cite in research, and share copies of articles with attribution

Create modified versions including abridgments, annotated versions, excerpts and figures

Redistribute commercially

Release modified versions under terms of their choosing including CC licence

Attribution

CC BY

Attribution

ShareAlike

CC BY-SA

X

Attribution

NonCommercial

CC BY-NC

 

X

Attribution

NonCommercial

ShareAlike

CC BY-NC-SA

X

X

Attribution

NoDerivatives

CC BY-ND

X

X

Attribution

NonCommercial

NoDerivatives

CC BY-NC-ND

X

X

X

Adapted from ‘Know Your Rights: Understanding CC Licences’ by Creative Commons Australia from CC Australia used under CC BY 4.0.

To choose the most appropriate licence for your needs, you need to determine how widely you want your data to be used. To maximise the potential re-use of your data, for example, the most appropriate CC licence would be the Attribution Only licence.

For more information about the Creative Commons licences, see

If you would like to make your data available under specific conditions not covered by the Creative Commons licences, you can use a restrictive licence or other written agreement such as a Data Transfer Agreement. You might like to consider this kind of licence if you want to impose some kind of access limit to your data such as a time limit, or if your data contains confidential or sensitive information, especially for a particular audience such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

While this kind of licence allows you more flexibility regarding the restrictions you may wish to apply regarding access to your data, they are generally more time-consuming to construct and can be expensive if legal advice is required.

AusGOAL provides a template for a restrictive licence.

To maximise access to your data and avoid issues pertaining to differing copyright restrictions applied across different jurisdictions, you may be tempted to negotiate placing your data in the public domain. If you do this, however, you are waiving all rights and protections offered by Australian copyright law, including the right to be credited as the creator of your data. It is not recommended that La Trobe University researchers waive all their rights in this way. It is highly recommended that you at least retain the right to be attributed as the creator of the data so that all instances where your data is re-used will count towards and accurately reflect your research impact.

Useful links