Licensing

If you decide to share your outputs publicly, you should consider licensing your work so that potential re-users know what they can and cannot do with your work. Czech law does not allow the authors to give up their personal (moral) rights, i.e., using a waiver (e.g., CC0 license). 

When can you license your data?

If you decide to license your work, you need to make sure that you have the right to do so. For example, if the work was created by more than one person, you need to obtain permission from your co-authors to license it. If the work was created as part of the performance of work duties, then, according to §58 of the Copyright Act, the economic rights are typically exercised by the employer. The issue of exercising property rights at Charles University is resolved through the Rector’s Directive no. 17/2018, which relates to literary work such as scientific or academic articles, and allows the author to represent the employer when granting gratuitous licenses to such work. Licensing research data can be slightly more complicated and may require consulting a specialist, as data are not always protected by copyright. This OpenAIRE guide will help you get acquainted with the issue of the ownership of rights in research data. In the Czech Republic, licensing databases is mainly covered in the Copyright Act §§88-94. You can find more information on licensing work which is protected by copyright in the Civil Code (No. 89/2012 Sb.). 

How to choose an appropriate license?

Before considering your licensing options, you should check whether you are required or strongly encouraged to use a certain type of license (e.g., as a condition given by a funder or a publisher). If you have not identified any restrictions, you can apply any license to your work; however, it is advisable to use one of the ready-made, standardised licenses that will give you greater legal certainty. The best-known and most widely used open licenses are Creative Commons 4.0, which are popular due to their variability and international understanding, and can be used for publications as well as research data. This guide, prepared by the DCC, will help you attach the license to your dataset.  


Creative Commons 4.0

By applying a Creative Commons (CC) license, the author grants some of their rights to potential re-users while reserving others. Before applying a CC license to your work, please note that these licenses are irrevocable.  


CC licenses consist of different elements that can be combined to form six different types of licenses which vary according to the rights which the author grants and which they reserve. Below is a list of the six different CC licenses ranked from the most accommodating to the most restrictive (reproduced from the Creative Commons website). 

  1. Attribution (CC BY): This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. 

  2. Attribution ShareAlike (CC BY-SA): This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. 

  3. Attribution-NoDerivatives (CC BY-ND): This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you. 

  4. Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC): This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work but only non-commercially, with credit to you. 

  5. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA): This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. 

  6. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND): This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially. 


You can use this flowchart, created by the Creative Commons Australia, to help you choose an appropriate license for your work, or this tool which, upon answering simple questions, generates a suitable license for you. 


When licensing data and databases using CC, it is recommended to avoid the NoDerivative (ND) condition as it would substantially limit most types of reuse, basically only allowing checking that the data within the set derive from each other as claimed. 


Open Data Commons

Open Data Commons (ODC) licenses are similar to the Creative Commons but, as they are designed specifically for databases, they are suited to a wider range of research data. ODC provide two basic types of licenses: 

  1. ODC Attribution (ODC-BY): This license allows others to copy, distribute and use the database, to produce works from it and to modify, transform and build upon it for any purpose (even comercial), under the condition that the author is credited for the original data. 

  2. ODC Open Database (ODC-ODbL): This license is the same as ODC-BY with an added copyleft condition which means that new databases derived from the licensed database have to be published under the same or compatible license. The other condition is that technological restrictions such as Digital Rights Management (DRM) mechanisms can only be applied to a new database if an alternative copy without the restrictions is made equally available. This license is slightly more flexible than the CC-SA. 

Public domain

The most open way of publishing your work is through a dedication to the public domain. This is where all copyright interests are waived, and the work may be used freely for any purposes without the need to credit the author. The licenses that serve for dedicating the work to the public domain are for example Creative Commons Zero (CC0) or Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication (ODC-PDDL). However, under the Czech law, the author’s personal rights cannot be waived and the author always has to be credited. It is therefore recommended to use the CC-BY license for authored works to avoid confusion as the CC0 license would eventually be interpreted as a CC-BY. You may use a CC0 license or ODC-PDDL license when licensing a database you have compiled. 

Useful Resources

Myška et al. 2014. Veřejné licence v České republice. Brno: Masarykova Univerzita. 


ALA. 2020. Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians. Chicago: ALA 


Foster: Open Licensing training course 


Ball, Alex (DCC). 2014. How to License Research Data  


OpenAIRE. How do I know if my research data is protected? Guides for Researchers. 


Last change: July 27, 2020 15:20 
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