Licensing

Today, it is possible to use data produced in previous research to be put to more diverse use in new research, thus eliminating the need to collect data, to come up with new methods, or to write code from scratch.

When using data produced by others, their terms of use must be taken into consideration. The terms of use are usually defined in a licence, such as an open Creative Commons licence. Data can be completely free to use or its use may be subject to certain restrictions, which are normally due to the sensitivity of information, business secrets, or agreements signed by researchers. As a general rule, you can use data in accordance with its terms of use.

The terms of use for a dataset are always determined by the person producing it or a person to whom the producer has transferred the rights to that dataset (Copyright Act 404/1961). The easiest way for the owner of a dataset to determine the terms of use is with a licence. The terms of use can range from completely free for use to being subject to a variety of restrictions. If necessary, you can contact the owner of the data in order to clarify any uncertainty regarding its use.

Creative Commons licences are very widely used for sharing and using data.

Try out the Licence Chooser by Creative Commons.

What if the dataset terms of use are made by the producers themselves?

The dataset creator reserves the right to specify the terms of use for their dataset, even without ready-made licences. In such cases, the terms of use specified must be observed, but you can also negotiate the terms of use by contacting the owner of the dataset.

What if no terms of use have been specified for data?

If there are no terms of use or the terms of use given are unclear, you should always contact the owner of the dataset in question.

How to licence your own data?

When making data available, it is recommended that licenses are used. It allows you to specify the degree of publicity and user rights for your data. You can use licences as a tool for openness. Research data can have varying degrees of publicity. Creative Commons Finland licenses (CC BY) are widely used for licencing. CC BY 4.0 licence for your data allows the use of your data but require that the author is mentioned. You can also give your data CC0 licence. It means that you give full rights to others for using the data.

Sources:

Creative Commons webpages

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