Journal or data publisher restrictions on data commercialisation
Section 5 of 5
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Where you choose to publish your paper and your data will have an impact on whether or not you are able to commercially exploit your research.
Some journal publishers require you to make data underpinning your papers available with licences which may not be compatible with commercialisation. For example, if you publish in PLOS you will have to make any underpinning data available under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY 4.0), which permits users to reuse your data for any purpose (including commercially). In addition, your journal publisher may require you to make your data available as soon as your article is published. As noted earlier in this bootcamp, this timescale may not be compatible with completing a patent application.
Similarly, some data repositories will only publish your data with one licence, which again may not be compatible with commercialisation - Dryad, for example, requires that all data are published with a Creative Commons Zero waiver (CC0), also known as public domain.
Contact Research Commercialisation to find out what embargo or access restrictions are required to protect your IP. This should be done as early as possible, and ideally well before you start submitting papers for publication. Be sure to check your journal publisher’s terms for data publication prior to manuscript submission, and choose a data repository that will allow you to apply an appropriate licence and/or embargo to your data. The Research Data Service can help with this and the University’s data repository, data.bris, supports data publication with embargoes of any length.
- The journal may refuse to publish her paper if readers are unable to access the supporting data, and publishing it openly will mean it cannot be commercially exploited. Most journals are happy for data to be made available under an embargo as long as this is made clear in a data availability statement. This way Erica can protect her data for a limited time to allow commercial exploitation and still meet the journal’s data sharing requirements.
Most major UK funding bodies require you to make your research data accessible at the end of a project. If you are planning to patent or otherwise commercially exploit your research outputs, this requirement can appear to present a problem. However, there are several things you can do to protect your intellectual property and still meet your funder’s expectations on data sharing, such as:
- Allow time for patent filing before article and data publication
- At the beginning of your project, make sure any contracts cover ownership of research outputs and commercial use of research outputs. This may involve discussion with funders and collaborators and the appropriate teams in Research and Enterprise Development (RED)
- At the beginning of your project, if your research involves human participants, make sure your consent forms permit commercial licensing of the data
- Select journals and data repositories that will allow you to place embargoes and/or other restrictions on your data