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Licensing and copyright for data reuse


Open licensing for data

If data is not licensed no-one else can use it. In Australia, no licence is regarded as the same as 'all rights reserved', confining any reuse to very limited circumstances. Applying a Creative Commons licence to your data is a simple way to ensure that your data can be reused. The less restrictive the licence, the more that can be done with the data.

A summary of Australian Creative Commons licenses:


Using data licences

Attaching a licence or reuse notice to data is an important element of research data management and is contingent upon:

  • drafting organisational policies 
  • establishing data management capabilities and procedures
  • clarifying the provenance, ownership, and custodianship of the organisation's data assets.

Research data copyright and licensing FAQs

Using multiple datasets in research

When work is being done using multiple datasets it is important to ensure that the licences on those data sets are compatible. 

Software licences

Organisations creating and analysing data often create their own software because the functionalities they require are not available in 'off-the-shelf' software. If data is published that is either created or analysed with such software this associated software is often made available alongside the data.

If such software is developed without the inclusion of software from any external source, the BSD 3-Clause Software Licence provides permissions akin to the CC-BY Attribution Licence, and is well recognised within the open software community. Whilst it is possible to license software under a Creative Commons licence, it is not recommended.