Access Policies & Licensing

With information technology being used by many researchers nowadays, the storage and accessibility of research data has become a much debated topic across all scientific disciplines. This online training module attempts to create awareness amongst both researchers as data producers and users as well as repository operators for the needs of dedicated policies and licenses defining and regulating the access to and the re-use of research data, while putting a focus on issues from social sciences and humanities.

The module is organized in 7 chapters, which can be worked through chronologically or separately. Here is a brief description of the title, contents and focus of each of the chapters.

Chapter 1: Sharing and licensing research data
This chapter provides an introduction into the topic and describes how basic questions are addressed, along with some examples.

Chapter 2: Overview of European IPR
Here the concept of intellectual property rights in general and copyright in particular, as well as national differences are presented.

Chapter 3: Comparing existing license schemes
In this chapter some example license schemes from social sciences and humanities are described, explained and compared.

Chapter 4: Data submission and agreements
The effect of data sharing issues on the processes of creating, submitting and preserving data are the focus of this chapter.

Chapter 5: Secure data services
This chapter covers the implications of sensitive data on data sharing, and the technical and logical measures that are in use in social sciences and humanities to address these problems.

Chapter 6: Embargo policies
Here embargos on research data as a separate aspect of restricting access are addressed, and the current state and future use briefly described.

Chapter 7: Facilitating data re-use
In this final chapter, some aspects of making data accessible and re-usable are covered, addressing the possibilities of archives/repositories to support researchers (both data producers and re-users) in these matters.


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Since diverting terminology is often an obstacle on the way towards correctly understanding the intention and meaning of texts, here we attempt to clarify some terms which are used throughout the chapters, and how we would like them to be understood.

Archive / Repository / Data center / Preservation service etc.
We used these terms more or less synonymously, as the correct terms depend not only on the scientific discipline and research context, but also on the overall services provided by the respective institution. What we basically mean when using these terms are all facilities or institutions that collect or store research data and provide access to it in some form.

Unless explicitly stated in the text, this term includes all groups producing, depositing, accessing and re-using research data in a scientific context.

Data producers/depositors:
This term subsumes all people involved in creating data and submitting them to an archive/repository.

Research community:
This term is used as a reference to sub-communities of the worldwide scientific community, each of them concerned with a specific research area. In the context of DASISH and of this tutorial, this term in most cases refers to the communities in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

Go to first chapter >>

Contact: hosted by NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data