BootcampC: Journal or data repository restrictions on data commercialisation

Journal or data publisher restrictions on data commercialisation

Section 5 of 5

Books and doorway cropImage: Books and doorway [cropped], ninocare, Public Domain

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.

Journal publishers

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.

Data repositories

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.

1. Erica has had a paper accepted for publication. The journal wants her to make her data available as soon as the paper is published under a Creative Commons Attribution licence, but she is in discussion with a commercial company that wants to licence her data for their own use for a period of time. What should she do?


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

This concludes the bootcamp online tutorial: we hope you found it useful. If you have any specific enquiries please contact us.