Skip to main content

Data Management Planning: Data Licensing

Information on best practices and standards for data management planning.


When publishing data, it's imperative to add a license, the same as on any other publication. Data licenses exist on a spectrum from totally open (CC0 -- see the use cases for this license with data) to very restrictive (CC-BY-ND-NC). 

General Information

NYU Data Services, NYU Libraries and Information Technology




Data Services Homepage

Location [online services]

Staffed Hours: Summer 2020

Contact Us

Tell us how we're doing

COVID - 19 Service Status

Data Services has shifted to virtual services for the Summer 2020 sessions. During our normal working hours, we will respond to requests via e-mail and will attempt to offer guidance via Zoom when necessary.


Creative Commons calls these "free" vs. "non-free" cultural licenses, explained on this page. On dealing with data, CC says: "The data or other contents contained in the database are subject to copyright if they are sufficiently creative."  You'd just have to prove that any data you want to put a license on or copyright is "creative enough" which seems fairly subjective and gives you some legal wiggle room.


Creative Commons also mentions (on this page, specifically for data): 

"Where CC0 is not desired for whatever reason (business requirements, community wishes, institutional policy…), CC licenses can and should be used for data and databases — with the important caveat that CC 3.0 license conditions do not apply to uses of data and databases that do not implicate copyright."


It might be worth noting that right now, the big data repositories offer CC licenses of varying degrees (Dryad, Figshare, Zenodo, and more). You have the right to embargo data or set permissions for use if there are privacy concerns.  You can deposit your data with a repository and ask that people who want to use it have to email you and explain why/for what purpose, and then you can send them the data or deny the request. The Qualitative Data Repository has excellent examples of this use case. 


 Data & Code Citation A workshop on citing and being cited for atypical research materials.


Courtesy of Kristin Briney, Data Services Librarian, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Choose a CC License A tool by Creative Commons to help choose the right CC license for your intellectual material.

Digital Curation Centre: Data Licensing This guide will help you decide how to apply a license to your research data, and which license would be most suitable. It should provide you with an awareness of why licensing data is important, the impact licenses have on future research, and the potential pitfalls to avoid.


HowOpenIsIt The “HowOpenIsIt?®” Open Access spectrum (OAS) guide defines core components of Open Access derived from the articulation of basic tenets in the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI).




Open Access Directory The Open Access Directory (OAD) is a compendium of simple factual lists about open access (OA) to science and scholarship maintained by the OA community at large.



Open Data Commons Licenses Open Data Commons exists to provide legal solutions for open data. In March 2008 it launched the first ever open data license: the Public Domain Dedication and License (PDDL). Open Data Commons is an Open Knowledge Foundation project run by its Advisory council and like the Foundation is a not-for-profit effort working for the benefit of the general open knowledge community.


Open Definition Licenses These licenses conform to the Open Definition and are: Reusable, Compatible (with other licenses), and Current (within contemporary best practices).


SPARC* SPARC is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education. SPARC empowers people to solve big problems and make new discoveries through the adoption of policies and practices that advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education.