Licensing open research data

Licensing is recommended when opening your data. Licenses allow a researcher personally to define the rights to use their data: what, when and to whom the data will be signed. It is important to acknowledge the funders’ and research organisations’ requirements in addition to laws and research ethics.

The research data’s author or the person to whom the author has assigned the user rights determine the terms of use, apart from situations where juridical or ethical aspects (such as data protection, trade secret or other confidential information) limit data use and publishing. Furthermore, the Copyright Act and good scientific practices require that the author’s name is mentioned in a proper manner. Licensing (e.g. Creative Commons) defines the data’s author and user rights, thus improving the possibilities of data reuse.

  • For open research data, the machine-readable standard format license CC BY 4.0 or CC0 is recommended.
  • Metadata for describing the research data is recommended to be licensed with the CC0 consent.
  • For computer software, the MIT License is recommended.


For more information:

CreativeCommons.org / information about CC licenses

How to License Research Data / Digital Curation Centre