Abstract: The last letter of the FAIR acronym stands for Reusability. Data and metadata should be made available with a clear and accessible usage license. But, what are the choices? How can researchers share data and allow reusability? Are all the licenses available for sharing content suitable for data? Data can be covered by different layers of copyright protection making the relationship between data and copyright particularly complex. Some research data can be considered as a work and therefore covered by full copyright while other data can be in the public domain due to their lack of originality. Moreover, a collection of data can be protected by special rights in Europe to acknowledge the investment in time and money in obtaining, presenting, arranging or verifying the data. The need of using a license when sharing data comes from the fact that, under current copyright laws, when rights exist, the absence of any legal notice must be understood as the default “all rights reserved” regime. Unless an exception applies, the authorisation of right holders is necessary for reuse. Right holders could use any text to state the reusability of data but it is advisable to use some of the existing licenses, and especially the ones that are suitable for data and databases. We hope that with this paper we can bring some clarity in relation to the rights involved when sharing research data.
Keywords: Rsearch data, Open content licensing, Copyright, Sui generis database rights, FAIR Data, Legal aspects of FAIR (especially for R)