4. Data and datasets and databases should be under CC0

4.1. Data and datasets and databases should be offered without restrictions on use, meaning under a CC0.

  • Data: as such not protected by copyright.
  • Dataset: not defined by law, can include database (as defined by law) and other structured and unstructured data.
  • Database: defined by law as “a collection of independent works, *data* or other materials arranged in a systematic or methodical way and individually accessible by electronic or other means.”

Remember that a database can be protected by copyright (database structure) and/or SGDR (substantial investment in obtaining verifying and presenting data), without prejudice to any copyright or other rights in the underlying material.

Applying a CC0 to a database means that if any rights exist they are waived, if they don’t exist CC0 does not create any obligation. If waiver is not possible then CC0 operates as a waiver or as a license to the same effect within the limits of applicable law.

Legal sources
  • Creative Commons (2018) Open Data Guide. (last accessed: 3 July 2018).
  • Creative Commons (2018) Open Science. (last accessed: 3 July 2018).

4.1.1. The advantages of making data available without restrictions include:

  • Greater availability and accessibility of publicly funded scientific research outputs;
  • Possibility for rigorous peer-review processes;
  • Greater reproducibility and transparency of scientific works;
  • Greater impact of scientific research.
Legal source
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (2018) Global Open Access Portal. (last accessed: 20 August 2018).

4.2. Where the uploader is concerned with regards attribution they can ‘kindly request’ to be attributed, rather than using the more legally restrictive CC-BY license.

This is not legally binding although follows standard scholarly practice in crediting researchers for their work.

Legal source

4.2.1. When ‘kindly requesting’ attribution of a work, the uploader should be advised to offer a citation which can be easily copy and pasted by subsequent users.

Legal source

4.2.2. Tools such as the Creative Commons ‘Open Attribute’ tool are available to assist with ensuring adequate attribution.

Legal source

4.3. Where there are concerns with regards privacy issues or data protection, these should be dealt with under the relevant legislation or ethics policies.

Legal source

4.3.1. Both the BMC consultation and the PLOS data policy address these issues.

Legal sources
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