RDIM Terminology Creative Commons Licence

Creative Commons Licence

Applying a Creative Commons (CC) licence to your data is an easy way to ensure correct attribution and enable reuse.

The CC Australia website includes a summary of each licence and a graphic showing them in order from least to most restrictive:

CC Licences graphic

There are four CC elements (BY, NC, ND and SA) which can be combined to create these six different CC licences. 
Creative Commons also stewards two Public Domain tools - Creative Commons Zero (CC0) and the Public Domain  Mark (PDM)

You can also view each licence deed at these links:

The Creative Commons  website includes a handy Licence Chooser Tool

Please note: you may insert the legal code into outputs  if you wish, however this is not a requirement for publishing data in Research Data JCU. You  can apply a  licence by selecting it from the drop-down and it will link to the code automatically

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. Older, ported licences can be selected Research Data JCU (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 4  CC elements and some potential pitfalls and are outlined in the following table:

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.

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.)