A licence is a legal instrument that specifies a standard set of terms and conditions regarding sharing and reuse of research data, scripts, and software (source code).
If you want to publish data or software, you have to choose a licence. Each repository has its own licensing options. Some repositories require you to use a certain licence if you want to deposit data or software with them.

The following are common licences:

  • Creative Commons licences for research data

Creative Commons licences offer a simple and standard way to share open content with various conditional permissions. The WUR data sharing guidelines recommend the use of the Creative Commons licences for ‘open data’. For data that require ‘restricted access’, some repositories have a specific licence available (e.g. the DANS licence from DANS-EASY). Additionally, specific data sharing agreements need to be made for restricted data. Note: research funders, when applicable, could have licence requirements in their data management guidelines.

WUR Library advices the CC BY licence for data, because WUR adheres to the motto 'as open as possible, as closed a necessary' and researchers should at least be attributed for their scientific effort. Note: the requirement to attribute the creator(s) of the data when data carries the CC BY licence depends on a certain level of intellectual creativity displayed. Simple representation of factual data is not protected by copyright and the CC BY license does not apply to that part of the data. However, independently of whether attribution is required or not, attribution is standard good research practice and is part of the principles of research integrity in science.

  • Open Source Software Licences

The CC-licences are not recommended for licensing software. They do not contain specific terms about the source code distribution. Moreover CC-licences do not address patent rights while patent rights are important for many software. To ensure the free reuse and modifiability of software, you may wish to choose one of the Open Source Software licences like the MIT licence, Apache Licence or one of the GPL Licences.