Explain! Laws and Licenses
For enabling the re-usability of research data, it is essential that researchers can not only can find the data from others, but also know under which conditions they are allowed to use them. As a starting point, we provide below the most important laws and regulations for researchers in Lower Saxony that need to be considered in this context. If you cooperate with research institutions outside of Lower Saxony, please be aware that most German federal states have their own Data Privacy Laws, and that there might exist further discipline-specific or European Regulations for the use of data.
- Copyright law (in German)
- Data privacy law for Germany (in German)
- Data privacy law for Lower Saxony (in German)
Existing free licenses
- Creative Commons (CC) – can be used for texts, pictures etc. If you want to use it for data, the common recommendation is to use version 4.0 and upwards.
- Open Data Commons (OCD) – especially for collections of data
- GNU General Public License (GPL) – especially for software
Choosing a license
Several types of licenses have been around for many years now. The number of recommendations issued by research funding agencies regarding the publishing of data is increasing. One important aspect is that researchers should publish their data according to the FAIR data principles. One possibility to find out which license is best suited for your research data and results is to start with the following checklist to find out your requirements.
- Who is the owner of the data, and is he/she allowed to publish them?
- Does the chosen license enable a broad re-use of the data?
- Are users easily able to recognize the owner of the data and the way the data should be referred to?
- Has the potential commercial value of the data been considered (patent laws or CC0)?
- Does every part of the work have the best license (e. g. pictures, software, data)? Is it necessary to put the same restrictions on every part of the work?
There are numerous overviews available on the web regarding the features of the single licenses and guides how to use them. Below we list some relevant starting points:
- DH-Handbook/Licenses (in German)
- Open Content – A Practical Guide to Using Creative Commons Licenses/Guide
- Research licenses – This page is an offer by the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI)
- Using CC Licenses for Education (in German)
- Link collection by UB Heidelberg (in German)
- Copyright in Sciences (in German) by the BMBF
If you have questions, please do not hesitate and contact us!