Draft Guidance On Data Licensing Issues

Leigh Dodds

The decision about which licence to use is one of the most important steps in publishing an open dataset.

While lots of licences aim to be “open”, the terms they include may fall short of actually being open data, making reuse of the data very difficult.

In order to make an informed decision publishers need to have a clear understanding of what they hope to achieve by opening up their data, the ways they will hope it will be used, and the types of users they wish to engage.

For data to be open it must be published under an open licence. Our existing open data licensing guide offers support to publishers when making licensing decisions, including how to select between the existing standard open licences.

But there are still many datasets published under licences that do not meet the terms of the open definition. And we have found that organisations are still often unclear about the impacts of specific licensing terms on whether their data is open and whether it can be easily reused by others.

To try to address these problems, we have been drafting some new guidance to further highlight these issues.

We’ve published the draft guidance to collect feedback and comment by the community before releasing it as official ODI guidance. We’d welcome it if you could read through the draft guidance and let us know what you think.

You can either comment on the document directly, or feel free email me your thoughts. After giving the community a few weeks for comment we’ll update the guidance accordingly and report back here.