In 2011 Peggy Schaeffer penned an entry for this blog titled “Why does Dryad use CC0?” While 2011 seems like a long time ago, especially in our rapidly evolving digital world, the information in that piece is still as valid and relevant now as it was then. In fact, Dryad curators routinely direct authors to that blog entry to help them understand and resolve licensing issues. Since dealing with licensing matters can be confusing, it seems about time to revisit this briefly from a practical perspective.
Dryad uses Creative Commons Zero (CC0) to promote the reuse of data underlying scholarly literature. CC0 provides consistent, clear, and open terms of reuse for all data in our repository by allowing researchers, authors, and others to waive all copyright and related rights for a work and place the work in the public domain. Users know they can reuse any data available in Dryad with minimal impediments; authors gain the potential for more citations without having to spend time responding to requests from those wishing to use their data. In other words, CC0 helps eliminate the headaches associated with copyright and licensing issues for all stakeholders, leading to more data reuse.
So what does this mean in practical terms? Dryad’s curators have come up with a few suggestions to keep in mind as you prepare your data for submission. These tips can help you manage the CC0 requirements and avoid any problems:
- Make sure any software included with your submission can be released under CC0. For example, licenses such as GPL or MIT are common and are not compatible with CC0. Be sure there are no licensing statements displayed in the software itself or in associated readme files.
- Be aware that there are software applications out there that automatically place any output produced by the software under a non-CC0 compatible license. Consider this when you are deciding which software to use to prepare your data.
- Ensure that any images, videos, or other media that are not your own work can be released under CC0.
- Be sure to clean up your data before submitting it, especially if you are compressing it using a tool such as zip or tar. Remove anything that can’t be released under CC0, along with any other extraneous materials, such as user manuals for hardware or software tools. Not only does removing extraneous files lessen the chance something will conflict with Dryad’s CC0 policy, it also makes your data more streamlined and easier to use.
- Don’t add text anywhere in your data submission requiring permission or attribution for reuse. Community norms do a great job of putting in place the expectation that anyone reusing your data will provide the proper citations. CC0 actually encourages citation by keeping the process as simple as possible.
- Don’t include your entire manuscript or parts of your manuscript in your data package. Most publications have licensing that restricts reuse and is not compatible with CC0.
I hope this post leaves you with a little more understanding about why Dryad uses CC0 and with a few tips that will help make following Dryad’s CC0 requirement easier.