Creative Commons Licence

Applying a Creative Commons licence to your data is an easy way to ensure correct attribution and enable reuse. The following link provides a detailed explanation of the benefits, conditions and restrictions associated with the six CC licences:

You can also access a summary of the licence deeds from the links below:

The current generation of Creative Commons licences are International 4.0 licences. Creative Commons recommends you take advantage of the improvements in the 4.0 suite unless there are particular considerations that would require a ported (e.g. Australian) licence. The Australian Creative Commons licence chooser redirects to the international site. Older, ported licences can be selected using the drop-downs in the Data Publication section of Research Data JCU (but this is not usually required).

Offering your data under a CC licence does not mean you are giving up your copyright.  Rather, you are allowing users to make use of your work in various ways, but only on certain conditions. The core conditions are outlined in the following table and can be combined to produce the six CC licences.

Attribution symbol (BY). Non-commerical symbol (NC). No Derivative Works symbol (ND).Share Alike symbol  (SA).
No Derivative Works
Share Alike

Applies to every Creative Commons work - except Creative Common Zero (CC 0).

Users are expected to give you appropriate credit, provide a link to the licence and indicate if changes have been made.

Users may copy, distribute, display or perform your work but only for non-commercial purposes.

Users may not adapt or change your work in any way.

Users may remix, adapt and build on your work, but only if they distribute the derivative works under the same licence terms that govern the original work.

Watch out for:

It is possible to dedicate your work to the Public Domain by using Creative Commons Zero (CC0).

You may prefer to use one of the CC licences listed to ensure any re-use is counted towards your research impact.

Proponents of CC 0 would argue that community norms are sufficient to ensure citation.

Watch out for:

This condition has the potential to stifle engagement and innovation. Only some datasets will have commercialisation potential but you should check with Research and Innovation Services if you're not sure.

The ‘preferred’ licence at JCU is CC BY-NC but your funder or journal may require you to make your data more open.

Permitting commercial use enables reuse such as sharing content on Wikipedia (which uses CC BY) and commercial organisations preserving content if publishers go bust!

Watch out for:

This condition severely restricts reuse including aggregating data and meta-analyses. Open Access journals such as PLoS will not allow you to use this condition.  CC BY-NC-ND is often referred to as a ‘free advertising’ licence.

Journals may not permit you to use the ND clause as it limits the ability to do meta-analyses.

Watch out for:

This condition can reduce interoperability which is one of the aims of the FAIR Principles.

A licence can't feature both the Share Alike and No Derivative Works options. The Share Alike condition only applies to derivative works.

(Adapted from: ’About the licences’ and ‘Know Your Rights: Understanding CC Licences by Creative Commons Australia and licensed under under CC BY 4.0.)