Apr 042013

In Work Package 6 – Review data protection, IPR and licensing issues we have undertaken a thorough review of the licences commonly used for ‘open’ access to research information. The review takes in Creative Commons, Open Data Commons, Open Government License, UK Data Archive licence and others. Considerations of when to use each license and ‘what to watch out for’ are included, together with a Glossary of Terms taking in copyright and copyleft.

The Comparison of Open Licenses can be downloaded from http://research-data-toolkit.herts.ac.uk/document/comparison-of-open-licenses/  (PDF, 200kB).

The main intention was to find a license for University of Hertfordshire datasets that was recognisable to the research community but consistent with our data management policies. The work drew from, and fed back to, the institution wide deliberations of a working group on open access.

We found that Creative Commons Zero, the most open (or unconstrained) license, which waives all copyrights and related rights, is not compatible with the University’s intellectual property policy. We settled on Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales (CC BY NC SA) for our open data. Further discussion may change this to Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales (CC BY NC)  because we recognise the cascade of licenses caused by share alike can be problematic.

We also anticipate having some datasets that are available on demand rather than being completely open and directly downloadable via our repository and propose to use a UH derivative of the UK Data Archive licence in these cases.

  One Response to “Comparison of Open Licenses”

  1. Then you shouldn’t call it “open data”, obviously. Open data is by definition released under an open data licence, which CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 UK and CC BY-NC 2.0 UK are rather blatantly not. There are no definitions of “open data” in use in the research community, or in the open data community, that include a blanket prohibition on commercial re-use.