Licenses for open science

+10 votes
125 views
asked Aug 4, 2015 in Open Science by m0nhawk (270 points)

Licenses are an important thing to ensure proper attention to authorship and rights.

What licenses to choose and use for open science research?



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commented Aug 18, 2015 by dendragon (0 points)
Is this question too brad?

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by HDE 226868 (320 points)
Is this general, or for a specific topic?

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by m0nhawk (270 points)
Also, there is a [tldr](https://tldrlegal.com/), but the main issue I see with a classic licenses: the open science project usually consist of data, code and an article.

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by jojo (285 points)
the guys from github suggest: http://choosealicense.com/

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5 Answers

+12 votes
answered Aug 4, 2015 by Scott Chamberlain (410 points)

I think the answer varies by the research object.



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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Scott Chamberlain (410 points)
@Zizouz212 I guess most science areas I am concerned with don't really worry about patents. And if they want attribution, correct, use something else. Id prefer data to be as open as possible, so I prefer cc0

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Zizouz212 (320 points)
The issue with licenses such as CC0 is that they do not cover patents and trademarks, potentially causing trouble for people who use them.

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Scott Chamberlain (410 points)
I think breaking this up by what kind of object is being licensed is important, thus my separation by object type (e.g., sure, CC0 can be used for software, but it's not ideal)

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by dendragon (0 points)
@HDE226868 I know I'm just being picky (and by the way I did not even downvote the answer). My point is just that `Text: $NAME (link) is a good option for text`, well, in my eyes there is no explanation in this (same goes for Data and partially for Code). That's why I'm being a pain in the neck here... But I'll stop now.

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by HDE 226868 (320 points)
@dendragon Fair point. And you're not being a pain.

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+9 votes
answered Aug 4, 2015 by jojo (285 points)

For anything that falls under creative work you can go for a cc-licence. This page will help you to choose the right for you. For more info on licences in general you can visit tldrlegal.

Below is an overview of the most common licences (not only cc). Licences are per se not domain specific, i.e. they are not restricted to just code, data or articles but one license may be better suited for e.g. data than another.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

This licence is often used (and was also developed) for scientific work. It is certainly a good choice when it comes to articles as one must give credit to the author of the work.

The less restrictive, Creative Commons Attribution license in International version 4, that gives maximum freedom to do what they want with your work.

Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC-0)

This is probably the most common when it comes to data.

Releases software into the public domain, or otherwise grants permission to use it for any purpose. Disclaims patent licenses.

MIT Licence

Most frequently used licence when it comes to code based work. Should work for scientific content as the copyright must be included.

The MIT License is a permissive license that is short and to the point. It lets people do anything they want with your code as long as they provide attribution back to you and don’t hold you liable.

jQuery and Rails use the MIT License.

Apache License 2.0

Frequently used for code.

The Apache License is a permissive license similar to the MIT License, but also provides an express grant of patent rights from contributors to users.

Apache, SVN, and NuGet use the Apache License.

GNU General Public License v2.0

Mostly for code based work.

The GPL (V2 or V3) is a copyleft license that requires anyone who distributes your code or a derivative work to make the source available under the same terms. V3 is similar to V2, but further restricts use in hardware that forbids software alterations.

Linux, Git, and WordPress use the GPL.

ISC License

Same as for the MIT License.

A permissive license lets people do anything with your code with proper attribution and without warranty. The ISC license is functionally equivalent to the BSD 2-Clause and MIT licenses, removing some language that is no longer necessary.

GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1

Mainly used for code, but is a good candidate for scientific work and data as the original work and the copyright must be provided.

Primarily used for software libraries, LGPL requires that derived works be licensed under the same license, but works that only link to it do not fall under this restriction. There are two commonly used versions of the LGPL.

Mozilla Public License 2.0

Similar to GNU LGPL-2.1

The Mozilla Public License (MPL 2.0) is maintained by the Mozilla foundation. This license attempts to be a compromise between the permissive BSD license and the reciprocal GPL license.

the Unlicense

Can be used for anything really

Because copyright is automatic in most countries, the Unlicense is a template to waive copyright interest in software you've written and dedicate it to the public domain. Use the Unlicense to opt out of copyright entirely. It also includes the no-warranty statement from the MIT/X11 license.

No Licence

You’re under no obligation to choose a license and it’s your right not to include one with your code or project. But please note that opting out of open source licenses doesn’t mean you’re opting out of copyright law.

Part of this is taken from choose a licence.



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commented Aug 18, 2015 by dendragon (0 points)
@GavinSimpson I cannot follow your argument about why jojo should have made the assumption that openscience reserach outputs == code. Also the licences you recommend in your answer are both included in the list. +1 from my side, great answer.

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by jojo (285 points)
@dendragon: ok, ok, I get it. Will go over the ordering again.

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by jojo (285 points)
Hope the edit helped to better structure the list.

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Gram (185 points)
+1 for including tldrlegal, a good reference if anyone wants to do more indepth reading on the difference licnecne types.

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Gavin Simpson (720 points)
You've made the assumption that openscience research outputs = code. CC also suggest not to use the main CC licences for code.

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+6 votes
answered Aug 4, 2015 by Gavin Simpson (720 points)

Research Publications

For research publications, the Budapest Open Access Initiative defined Open Access as:

By “open access” to [peer-reviewed research literature], we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

Such rights are manifest in the Creative Commons By Attribution (CC-BY) licence.

Data

In many jurisdictions, copyright does not apply to data as they represent facts. In some locations database rights are allowed. In such instances, a Creative Commons Zero (CC-0) dedication is often recommended as that allows, in effect, the placing of data into the public domain even where doing so is not possible (i.e. the dedication allows such rights as would be available if public domain were possible).

Code

For code, there is often a split between those favouring viral licences (GPL) vs more permissive ones (MIT for example). I don't mean "viral" in a perjorative sense, just that derivative works must be licenced under the same terms (I personally favour GPL). There are many such licences and because open source code is often built upon other open source code, it is important to choose a licence that is consistent with any code you've reused. In general an OSI-approved licence should be used



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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Gavin Simpson (720 points)
@DanielStandage I was coming round to to the MIT/BSD way of thinking after reading several blog posts by academics expressing the virtues of this more open licence & bc I recognised the hypocrisy of advocating CC-BY for papers but GPL for software (which is a bit like CC-BY-SA). The farcical situation in the open source world over Ubuntu and reusing its binaries has reeducated me as to the benefits of the GPL. Also, scientific papers are one-of-a-kind so good to be very free there. Software often isn't one-of-a-kind so ensuring code remains open is an advantage (IMNSHO :-)

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Daniel Standage (420 points)
+1, even though I'm an MIT/BSD proponent. ;-)

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Gavin Simpson (720 points)
I presume the downvoter will now also be downvoting Scott's equivalent answer or commenting as to why this answer is "not useful"

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+2 votes
answered Aug 4, 2015 by Zizouz212 (320 points)

As research and data are generally considered to be creative works, you might as well try to use licenses that are designed for that purpose: namely licenses developed by Creative Commons.

Just to sum up, a creative work is basically a manifestation of creative efforts. Literature, and paper will fall under this.

Creative Commons has a few, "core" licenses that are available for use:

  • CC-BY Creative Commons Attribution:

    This is very permissive, as it lets people take their work, and modify, or build upon it. It also allows commercial use of the work. In all cases, you must be attributed correctly.

  • CC-BY-ND Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs:

    This allows people to use your work, even commercially. However, they can't change any of the information, and they must attribute you.

  • CC-BY-SA Creative Commons ShareAlike:

    This allows people to take your work, and adapt, or modify it. They are also allowed to use it commercially. Like always, they must attribute it. However, it comes with a different catch: Whatever changes they make to your work must be published under identical terms.

There are other Creative Commons licenses too. I would highly suggest that you look further on their site: creativecommons.org



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0 votes
answered Aug 6, 2015 by kenorb (430 points)

You can choose from the following licenses listed below which are conformant with the principles set forth in the Open Definition which means they are:

  • Reusable: Not specific to an organization or jurisdiction.
  • Compatible: Must be compatible with at least one of GPL-3.0+, CC-BY-SA-4.0, and ODbL-1.0.

    Permissive/attribution-only licenses must be compatible with all 3 of the aforementioned licenses, and at least one of Apache-2.0, CC-BY-4.0, and ODC-BY-1.0.

  • Widely used and generally considered best practice by a broad spectrum of projects and actors within the domains of applicability of the license.

License
Creative Commons CCZero (CC0)
Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and Licence (PDDL)
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY-4.0)
Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-BY)
Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 (CC-BY-SA-4.0)
Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL)
Domain
Content+Data
Data
Content+Data
Data
Content+Data
Data
By
N
N
Y
Y
Y
Y
SA
N
N
N
N
Y
Y

Where:

  • Domain = Domain of application, i.e. what type of material this license should/can be applied to. Note if you are looking for an open license for software, please see Open Source Definition conformant licenses.
  • BY = requires attribution
  • SA = require share-alike

See also: Other conformant licenses.

Source: Open Definition (GitHub)

Alternatively check Choose A License site provided by GitHub for choosing the best license depends on your needs.



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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Zizouz212 (320 points)
I must say, that's an awesome usage for the `` tags :)

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by kenorb (430 points)
@Zizouz212 Got some ideas from [here](http://meta.stackexchange.com/q/73566/191655) ;)

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