What is the most appropriate licence for my data?

By making data public on figshare for the most part you are doing so under the Creative Commons 4.0 licences; please read on to learn about the variations.


Privately stored research

For research outputs uploaded to your account and stored privately or in draft a license is not mandatory, as only you can access it at this stage. 


Publicly stored research

All publicly stored research outputs are stored under Creative Commons Licenses.

By making your data publicly available, you retain ownership of your research objects (as is often not the case with traditional publishing). All objects are licensed under CC-BY licence, except for datasets, for which the CC0 licence is more appropriate. The details of these licenses can be seen below:

If you are an institutional user, you may have addiitonal licences available to you, please scroll down for more information. 


    • CC-BY (figures, media, posters, papers, filesets)

By licensing your research outputs under CC-BY, figshare ensures that your research is openly available, but requires that others should give you credit, in the form of a citation, should they use or refer to the research object. This license 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 licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.


    • CC0 (Metadata only & datasets)

CC0 can be particularly important for the sharing of metadata only, data and databases, since it otherwise may be unclear whether highly factual data and databases are restricted by copyright or other rights. Databases may contain facts that, in and of themselves, are not protected by copyright law. CC0 is recommended for data and databases and is used by hundreds of organisations. It is especially recommended for scientific data. Although CC0 doesn’t legally require users of the data to cite the source, it does not take away the moral responsibility to give attribution, as is common in scientific research.

You can learn more about Creative Commons Licences on their website: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/


    • Code and Software 

When manually uploading content and selecting CODE as the item type, the item will by default select MIT licence. In addition to this when items are created via github the default license will be MIT. 


    • MIT Licence

The MIT licence is a liberal software license that permits any person to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense and/or sell copies of the software provided any reuse includes a copy of the MIT Licence terms. Any software under the MIT licence is without warranty of any kind and in no event shall the authors or copyright holders be liable for any claim, damages or any liability. There is no obligation to share any development or changes to code under this license but we would always recommend it in the name of #openresearch.

Further details of this license can be found at the Open Source Initiative's website: http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT


    • GNU General Public Licence (GPLv3)

A copyleft software license GPLv3 allows others to copy, distribute and modify the software as long as they state what has been changed when, and ensure that any modifications are also licensed under the GPL. Software incorporating GPL-licensed code must also be made also available under the GPLv3 along with build & install instructions. Please ensure you are familiar with the conditions of this license: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/quick-guide-gplv3.html


    • Apache Licence 2.0

This licence allows others to copy, modify and distribute the covered software in source and/or binary forms. They can freely download and use Apache software, in whole or in part, for personal, company internal, or commercial purposes;

Code under GPL version 3 and Apache Licence 2.0 can be combined, as long as the resulting software is licensed under the GPL version 3 (http://www.apache.org/licenses/GPL-compatibility.html)

For information on how to apply this license to your works, please see https://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0 and for a summary, see http://www.apache.org/foundation/license-faq.html#WhatDoesItMEAN

For institutional users only

If you are using figshare for institutions, your University may have additional licensing options alongside the above (please contact your adminstrator for more information):


    • CC BY-SA (Attribution-ShareAlike)

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

View licence Deed | View Legal Code


    • CC BY-ND (Attribution-NoDerivatives)

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

View licence Deed | View Legal Code


    • CC BY-NC (Attribution-NonCommercial)

This license 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.

View licence Deed | View Legal Code

    • CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike)

This license 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.

View licence Deed | View Legal Code

    • CC BY-NC-ND (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives)

This license is the most restrictive of the six licenses, 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.

View licence Deed | View Legal Code


Please review http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ for more information.


    • The Restrictive Licence Template

The Restrictive Licence Template  has been developed specifically to license material that contains personal or other confidential information that has a high security risk associated with its release. It may also be used for material that is to be licensed under some form of limiting or restrictive condition (such as a time limit on use, or payment arrangements other than an initial once-only fee).


    • The BSD 3-Clause Software Licence

The BSD 3-Clause Software Licence can be applied to software that has been wholely created by your organisation, where the code does not include code licensed under the GNU GPL Licence. Software/code licensed under the BSD 3-Clause Licence can be incorporated into software that is licensed under the GNU GPL Licence.  However, the reverse (incorporating GNU GPL Licensed software/code into software licensed under the BSD 3 Clause Licence) is not permitted.  The BSD 3-Clause Licence is also compatible with the Apache Software Licence.


This information has been provided by AUSGoal - Australian Governments Open Access and Licensing Framework

If you are unsure about what license to use please do get in touch with your University representative, there is also the Creative Commons tool to help you decide. 

Alternatively, get in touch directly by creating a support ticket or emailing us at info@figshare.com.