10 Sports Science Data Things: Thing 8

Thing 8: Licensing data for reuse

What is a licence? A data licence is a statement from the data owner about permissions to use and reuse the data concerned. Without a licence, it is unclear how data can be used by another researcher. ANDS recommends the Creative Commons suite of licences. Applying appropriate licensing to data can assist in creating links with business and industry.

Research data licensing - Diane Peters, General Counsel for Creative Commons

Why license data?

If data is not licenced no-one else can use it. In Australia, no licence is regarded as the same as 'all rights reserved', confining any reuse to very limited circumstances. Applying a Creative Commons licence to your data is a simple way to ensure that your data can be reused. The less restrictive the licence, the more that can be done with the data.

A summary of Australian Creative Commons licences:

Question 1. If you find useful data which has no licence on it, what can you do with that data?

When mixing datasets, it is important to ensure the licences of those datasets are compatible. Software developed for research, can be published and licensed alongside related  data. See more on licences at ANDS | Working with Data | Licensing and Copyright.

Creative Commons licences come with a few options: (Summary)
-    (NC) Commercial or non-commercial (NC); Can commercial use be made of the data?
-    (SA) Share alike; Should derived datasets use the same licence? For example, can any changes to the data be only used non-commercially?
-    (BY) Should a user of the data cite the source of the data?
-    CC0 - all rights to ownership are given up.
-    Examples: CC-BY, CC-BY-NC, CC-BY-NC-SA. A last type (ND) means data can be used but derived datasets cannot be published (ND - no derivatives). This licence is not recommended by ANDS, as it precludes reuse of data.

The benefits of CC licences are: they are machine readable, they are simple, they can be combined across multiple datasets as they are aggregated


Data licensing in practice

Have a look at the records for each of these datasets and the license that's been applied to them. This table was produced using a subject search in Research Data Australia

Examples of Sports Science Data and related licence

Title License Link Source

Collection of Performance Measurements in Track Cycling Omnium Competitions

All rights reserved – private research and study only, fair use, any other use requires contact for permission. Link Victoria University
Ankle injury data collections: datasets and supplementary materials relating to the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of ankle injury Contact the manager of this data collection to discuss the terms and conditions of access. Requests for access must be approved by the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal research group at the University of Sydney. Link University of Sydney
Activity Profiles and Fitness in Tag Footballme CC-BY Link University of Sunshine Coast
Dietary nitrate supplementation does not improve cycling time-trial performance in the heat CC-BY Link** University of Western Australia
The role of arch compression and metatarsophalangeal joint dynamics in modulating plantar fascia strain in running CC-BY Link** University of Western Australia

NB: **Found in open data collections with FOR = 1106 (Human Movements and Sports Science) and licence = OPEN.

Question 1. What are the benefits of a dataset you are interested in, which has an open licence eg CC-BY? How does this compare to the usefulness of the first two datasets? Send your answer to the Research Services Librarian. The best answers each month will be showcased on the library website.

Question 2. Does adding an open licence to your data change the way that you would document and describe your data, if you know other researchers would look at your data?

Unlock data for innovation

Start by watching this 4.30mins video in which Dr Kevin Cullen from the University of New South Wales explains their approach to licensing which aims to strengthen the University’s relationship with business and industry.

Now read the Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement (2 pages) that was released by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in December 2015.  Note in particular, the last dot point.

Consider: possible implications for data managers, researchers, librarians and others as we move forward with the National Science and Innovation Agenda?

Activity: Does your institution have a policy or guidelines around data licensing?

Check here for a list of Australian university data policies

Creative Commons licenses

What do CC licenses look like?

Image result for creative commons


The ARDC (Australian Research Data Commons) have provided plenty of useful information on Licensing and copyright for data reuse


This licence lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.

This is the most accommodating of licences offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.(CC BY) is the most popular licence and provides the greatest opportunities for re-use of information. 

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This licence lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and licence their new creations under the identical terms.
This licence is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licences. All new works based on yours will carry the same licence, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the licence used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

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This licence allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

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This licence lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

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This licence lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

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This licence is the most restrictive of the six licences, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

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