Copyright and Licensing of Research Outputs
Open licensing makes it easy for people to use, share, or adapt your work while still respecting your rights as the creator.
We recommend that creators include an open license on their original works. Including an open license will give users more freedom to use, share, and build on the original material, while still acknowledging you as the creator.
The following guidelines explain how you and other people can benefit from open licensing. This information will help you decide what license works best for you.
What is Copyright?
When you create an original work (research, literary, musical, or artistic output), it is subject to the copyright laws of your country. As the copyright holder, you have exclusive legal rights, for example, the right to reproduce, publish, sell, create adaptations, perform, or display the work publicly. Generally, other people can only use, share, and adapt your work in limited ways.
What is an Open License?
If you want people to be able to use, share, or adapt your work more broadly, you can apply an open license to your work. A license is a legal instrument that gives people clear instructions on how they can use what you have created and how you want to be credited as the creator. When you apply an open license, you give people more rights to reuse your work than would be permitted under copyright law alone.
What are the Benefits of Using an Open License?
- You save time.
You don’t have to answer each phone call or email from users asking for permission to share or modify your work. This is a big benefit, especially for those who produce many scientific or creative outputs.
- Your work has a higher chance to reach more people since it can be freely shared.
There is a higher potential for your work to be heard or seen by a bigger audience using an open license since it can be freely reproduced and distributed.
- You reserve some rights while encouraging others to build on the original material.
An open license lets the creator retain some rights. At the same time, users can share, repurpose, and remix the work legally (e.g. translation, adaptation, etc.) and add value to it, as long as they credit you.
Who has the Right to License?
You have the right to apply a license if you are the copyright holder (or his/her delegate) for that specific work. If you are not sure, review your organisation’s intellectual property policy and data management policies.
Which License Should You Choose?
The Creative Commons Licenses are a set of easy-to-understand copyright licenses for online original work. The creators reserve some rights under these licenses.
If you would like to make data or information available but only under certain strict conditions, you may need to use a more limited license. You can use can use this restrictive license template to guide you through the process of creating an appropriate license.