Opening up the data – an update to BioMed Central’s Copyright and License Agreement


CC0 iconThe Creative Commons CC0 waiver will become part of the BioMed Central Copyright and License Agreement on Tuesday 3rd September. For articles submitted from this date, CC0 will apply to data in all articles published by BioMed Central or Chemistry Central journals.

So what do we mean by open data, what does the Creative Commons CC0 waiver cover, and why this is of interest to you?

Open data relates to the fact that the open communication of scientific research involves more than just the final results of research being published in an article in an open access journal. Sharing the underlying data is an increasingly important part of the research and publication process. BioMed Central aims to provide leadership in supporting scientific communities in the sharing of underlying scientific data, publishing it in standard formats, and supporting re-use and further analysis, which helps facilitate the discovery of new knowledge.

Our updated Copyright and License Agreement will mean that the Creative Commons CC0 waiver applies to data (e.g. in tables and additional files, graphical data points, and bibliographic data). CC0 is data-specific, and the Creative Commons attribution license (CC-BY) will continue to apply generally to articles published in BioMed Central journals.

This change to our standard copyright license will make published data clearly and unambiguously available for sharing, integration and re-use without legal restrictions, for the benefit of science. Attribution licenses have been strongly discouraged for scientific data as they may obstruct future sharing and integration of data on a large scale, such as was required for the Human Genome Project. At BioMed Central we believe that there is much valuable data in the published literature, for data mining and many other applications, and it should therefore be considered a scientific resource.

The change to our standard copyright license follows a public consultation we held in towards the end of 2012. Respondents to the consultation were six to one in favour of introducing the Creative Commons CC0 public domain waiver for data. As part of the consultation we also received a number of questions, such as the relevance for patient privacy or a potential effect on citations? We provide our answers in a new article published in BMC Research Notes.

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We need more CC0 works, there’s too much permissive, copylefted, and no-commercial-use stuff out there. Thank you!

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