Selecting an appropriate access level and licence for your Data Sharing Collection¶
When you publish your Data Sharing Collection (DSC), it is important to specify the conditions and restrictions of data sharing.
Restricting access to sensitive data is important to protect the privacy of your research participants or prevent harm to communities, ecosystems, cultural or ethnic groups, commercial parties, etc. Sensitive data include:
Human participant data which cannot be anonymised, i.e. pseudonymised or directly identifiable personal data
Data involving controlled use of animals
Data subject to contractual constraints, such as licences, collaboration or data processing agreements, or funder agreements
Data with commercial potential or that may be patented
Data subject to export controls
Environmentally sensitive data
Politically sensitive data
Specifying the conditions of data sharing is also important for the reusability (the R in FAIR data management) of your data: researchers from the external scientific community must know what they can do with your data. Under what conditions can they access the data, can they re-share your data, can they use your data for commercial purposes, etc?
The collection manager must therefore specify the conditions of data access to a DSC by choosing an appropriate access level: Open access, Open access for registered users, or Restricted access. The conditions of re-use must be specified by selecting a proper licence or Data Use Agreement (DUA) based on the selected access level. If you are in doubt about which access level, licence or DUA to choose, contact your data steward.
The following options for sharing can be considered (click a title for more information):
Data of Open access DSCs can be accessed by any user of the Radboud Data Repository (RDR) anonymously (i.e., without logging in). The collection manager cannot identify external users of the collection in any way. Open access DSCs can be recognised based on their green "Open access" tag.
Radboud University's research data management policy dictates that research data must be shared as open as possible and as closed as necessary. Therefore, if there are no reasons to restrict access to your data (i.e. if your data are not sensitive, see the definition above), you should choose an Open access DSC. If your data have been acquired on human subjects and they cannot be fully anonymised, you are not allowed to choose an Open access DSC. Visit our best practice page on data anonymisation and pseudonymisation to find out if your data are fully anonymised.
In Open access DSCs, the conditions of re-use must be specified in a licence. External users of the DSC implicitly accept the terms of that licence by downloading the data. The RDR offers a variety of licences for you to choose from.
To share your data as open as possible, we recommend that you choose a CC0 licence. Under this licence, you waiver any copyright you might hold to the data and place them in the public domain. CC0 was designed to reduce any legal and technical impediments to the reuse of data. The easier you make it for people to understand the conditions for reusing data -and the clearer you make it that you will not be suing people who do- the more likely it is that your data will be reused. That is especially important when it comes to research data: facts, and therefore most raw data, are not subject to copyright. That means that if you place a copyright licence on your data collection, the conditions and restrictions specified in that licence do not apply to that part of your collection that is not copyrightable. That can become very confusing since people can argue about whether something is copyrightable or not and something can be copyrightable in some countries but not others. To avoid confusion for end users, we recommend the use of a CC0 licence for publishing data collections.
You might be worried that if you waiver your copyright, you will not be attributed for your work. However, keep in mind that giving up your copyright does not exempt those who reuse your data to follow community norms for scholarly communication. Researchers are encouraged to cite your work since it is common practice in the scientific community and data without a citation are not considered trustworthy.
If you want to place restrictions on the re-use of your data, you can opt to use another CC licence. Be aware that in some cases, for example if you have pre-existing agreements, you cannot release your data under the CC0 terms and must choose a non-public domain CC licence. Pay extra care if you are not the owner of (part of) your dataset. For example, if your work is based on data that were published under a ShareAlike licence and you want to redistribute those data, you should use the same licence terms as the original dataset. Furthermore, you should check for funder obligations. Some funders recommend or oblige particular licences for the research they fund. For those situations, the RDR offers a variety of licences.
All non-public domain CC licences require attribution of the author. This is indicated by the text BY in the name of the licence (e.g., CC-BY). To find out which non-public domain licence meets your requirements, you can follow the decision tree below. More information can be found on the webpage of CreativeCommons.
Open access code sharing
If you only share source code of software, simulations, or data analysis scripts (i.e., no research data originating from measurements), you should use a copyright agreement rather than a licence. You can find help on choosing a proper copyright agreement here.
The RDR offers the following copyright agreements:
GNU General Public License v2.0
GNU General Public License v3.0
GNU Lesser General Public License v3.0
Apache License 2.0
Artistic License 2.0
BSD 2-clause "Simplified" License
Eclipse Public License 1.0
Open access for Registered Users
Data of Open access for Registered Users DSCs are accessible following authentication. That means that a user must log in and explicitly agree with the terms of a Data Use Agreement (DUA) before the data can be accessed. The collection manager can identify external collection users since they will be added as viewer to the collection. Your collection's metadata -including the list of files- are visible to anyone.
There are two use cases for Open access for Registered Users DSCs, each with a corresponding DUA.
The data of your collection have been acquired on human subjects and are potentially identifiable or should be regarded as pseudonymised. For directly identifiable data, a Restricted access DSC (see below) must be used. If you need help to find out if your collection contains personal data, check out our best practice page on data anonymisation and pseudonymisation or contact your data steward.
In the case of sharing potentially identifiable data, the conditions of data sharing must be specified better than in an open access licence in order to protect the privacy of research participants. For example, it is important that re-users will not attempt to identify research participants based on the data. It is also important that re-users can be identified so that they can be held accountable for responsible use of the privacy-sensitive data. For this purpose, Radboud University developed a DUA specifically for sharing potentially identifiable human data: Radboud University - Human Data - 1.1 (RU-HD-1.1).
The data are potentially identifiable human data, as in use case 1, and your informed consent form stated that research data will be shared for scientific use only. Some of Radboud University's research institutes' (older) informed consent form templates contained such a statement. In this case, the DUA must mention that re-use is allowed only for the purpose of scientific research, in addition to the conditions of re-use specified in RU-HD-1.1. Such a stipulation is included in the DUA Radboud University - Human Data - Scientific Use - 1.0 (RU-HD-SU-1.0). Note that -in line with Open Science- we strongly recommend to use RU-HD-1.1 if your informed consent form allows for this. Contact your data steward if you are in doubt.