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Report: Dataset Licensing Workshop – ‘Choose the Right Rights, Use the Data Right’

Posted on    by Ally Farnhill

Report: Dataset Licensing Workshop – ‘Choose the Right Rights, Use the Data Right’

By 9 July 2018No Comments

The recent Dataset Licensing workshop “Choose the Right Rights, Use the Data Right,” took place on Friday 29 June 2018 at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel, Glasgow. The Dataset Licensing Project  is the result of collaboration between CREATe, the Research Information Management team at the University of Glasgow, and JISC. The project aims to identify specific issues around the licensing of datasets, including the current move towards increasingly Open Access resources, and to facilitate deeper understanding and greater confidence in dealing with these complex issues.

This whole day workshop was the third in a series of events which brought together professionals from a variety of backgrounds, with the aim of building on their existing understanding of the issues in addition to providing a forum for discussion and sharing of experience.


The opening presentation, provided by Dr Sheona Burrow, offered a detailed exploration of datasets and databases, terms which had previously been identified as causing confusion amongst participants. Definitions and examples were given for each term, in addition to a comprehensive explanation concerning what constitutes a database and how these might be legally protected, either via copyright or via the Sui Generis Database Right.

A further presentation, delivered by Dr Thomas Margoni, updated participants on the current state of play with regards EU Copyright reform. Participants were introduced to specific areas of concern, and explanation was offered with regards the various implications of these reforms. Participants were directed to the dedicated CREATe resource page, which offers a detailed discussion of the development and potential issues associated with certain element of the reforms, in addition to a recent article by Dr Margoni.

Information Guide Feedback sessions

Throughout the course of the workshop, plenary sessions were alternated with group sessions. These sessions offered an opportunity for the project team to seek feedback on a set of four Information Guides: ‘Ownership of Rights in Datasets’; ‘Making a Dataset Available’; ‘Choosing a Dataset Licence’ and ‘Using a Dataset’.

Each group offered feedback on each of the information guides, which have been revised since the earlier event in May, including suggestions with regards the structure, style and content of the guides.

Key recommendations from these sessions included:

  • Need to create documents that are user-friendly: this includes greater use of visual representations, including diagrams and ‘decision trees’, and, where appropriate, F.A.Q. style information. Also offer more links between guides and to other valuable resources.
  • More attention to certain issues: this includes a greater emphasis on the use of metadata and also on the importance of creating a Data Management Plan (DMP) at an early stage. Also consider a higher profile for ethical considerations of using a dataset.
  • Expand the glossary: the glossary of terms is accepted as being particularly useful, although some terms could be added including ‘fair use/ dealing’, ‘stacking of licences’, ‘use’ and ‘re-use’.
  • Careful consideration to the language used: this includes questioning whether the term ‘dataset’ is the best term to use, given common confusion with ‘databases’, or whether there is a better alternative term.
  • Consider customisation: this would include customising the Information Guides to specific audiences based on, perhaps, different disciplines or by the forms of data involved.

This event represented an opportunity for the project team to work alongside other professionals in creating a valuable resource which will, it is hoped, go some way to making management of research data a less confusing and challenging process. Feedback from the workshop was positive and participants commented that they felt they had learned a great deal both from the presentations, as well as the opportunity for discussion.

Comments included:

A really valuable project. Looking forward to the resource being out there to share

Wonderful. It was a very useful workshop…”

Got me thinking a lot…good, practical advice!”

This work was supported by Jisc [grant number DIINNAA]

We would like to express our gratitude to all those who attended the event and participated in the discussion. A particular thanks goes to the speakers, Dr Sheona Burrow and Dr Thomas Margoni for sharing their time and expertise, in addition to Ms. Valerie McCutcheon for chairing and, indeed, organising the event.

A parallel report of this event is available from the Glasgow University IP Society and can be accessed here.