How to Apply Open Licenses to Your Digital Research Outputs

Additional Resources
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When you want to share a digital research output as an open resource, you must share it lawfully. This means that first you must identify whether the research outputs are protected by copyright or by other third-party rights. Also, in case the research outputs are released under an open license, you must make sure that the terms of the license, or of the licenses if you mix different research outputs, are respected. This means that you have to properly attribute the research outputs – in accordance with the specific requirements of their license – and also make sure they are compatible with the license you want to use for your own remix.

Moreover, if the research outputs you wish share would contain personal data, you must make sure that all data subjects are informed and give their consent to the publication. They shall be protected in their privacy pursuing data protection legislations.

An open license is a license agreement which gives the users more freedom when using someone else’s works. Through open licenses, authors grant permission for others to reproduce, adapt, or distribute the work. Examples of such licenses include the GNU General Public License – the first and most widely used software copyleft license – and Creative Commons licenses. Open licenses are excellent tools to foster sharing: whoever wants to modify the content and distribute it, can do so. Moreover, open licenses, such as creative commons, provide a set of granular conditions to specify the objectives and manners in which a research output can be shared, used, and modified:

  • Attribution, indicating that credit must be specified when others modify or use your work;
  • ShareAlike, that are the terms in which others can share and display your work;
  • Commercial, that is the possibility of using your work for profit or commercial purposes;
  • Derivatives, that is the ability to modify and remix your work.

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Turning a Resource into an Open Educational Resource (OER)

Creating OER and Combining Licenses – Full

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(Estimated time to complete the task: 1 hour)

Open research outputs follow the same general protocols as, more commonly shared, open educational resources (OER). As an activity to train your new skills, explore the material provided through the public OERs platform of this course section. Find at least four OERs with different licenses and examine the different degree of freedom in distributing and remixing such material. Then:

  • select one or more research outputs you are producing or curating;
  • choose the most adequate open license to share it/them, following the steps described here;
  • add your chosen license(s) to your research outputs

  • Additional Resources
  • You can check the guide How to make your resources open by the University of Edinburgh.
  • For a short overview to Legal Aspects of OER, you can read this guide provided by Jisc.
  • See also this very comprehensive guidance notes about all the legalities surrounding the recording of lectures, including third party copyright, performers’ rights and data protection.
  • Read the OER Starter Kit, that provides educators with an introduction to the use and creation of Open Educational Resources