Scholarly Impact Challenge: Day 5: Creative Commons Copyright

Join the Scholarly Impact Challenge to improve your research impact!

Creative Commons is an alternative system of copyright you can choose to apply to your scholarly outputs such as code, papers, posters, images, and data sets. Creative Commons licensing allows others to use, remix, adapt, and build on your work, while still acknowledging your ownership of the output.

What is Creative Commons Copyright?

Watch this video for an introduction to the concept of creative commons copyright, a project from the Creative Commons organization.

What kinds of CC licenses exist?

Creative Commons licenses are made up of four components (described using icons or abbreviations). These components can be matched to create a license that allows the exact types of re-use that the author prefers.

You might have seen Creative commons licenses like these on webpages:

            

Each of these symbols means something specific:

Icons Abbreviation Meaning
BY Attribution: Your work can be copied and redistributed, but must be credited to the name you select.
ND No Derivatives: You do not want anyone to modify your work in any way. You are not allowing anyone to remix, build upon, or make a derivative version of your work.
SA Share Alike: You let others copy, remix, build upon, make a derivative of, and modify your work, but, they must agree to license any modified work on the same terms that you have chosen. If they want to distribute modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first.
NC

Non-commercial: You let others copy, remix, build upon, make a derivative of, and modify your work, but it must be for a non-commercial purpose. Any commercial use requires your permission.

Basic Challenge

In this challenge, examine two research outputs that authors have shared on the Figshare platform, a site that allows author to self-publish research and creative outputs, and makes it easy to apply CC license terms. Consider how they might be used given their CC licenses. Answers to all these questions can be found in the tab labeled Answers; don't look until you've tried!

1. Examine the data supplement titled Identification and Predictors for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Equivalents among Adults With Diabetes Mellitus and the license information on the page. Try to answer these questions:

a. What type of Creative Commons license is this supplement licensed under?

b. Pretend you are a faculty member preparing a class. Could you use the data in this supplement to prepare a class exercise for students to calculate risk factors? Could you show screenshots of these figures and tables in a Powerpoint presentation given during class?

c. Pretend you are a faculty member writing a textbook chapter for a for-profit publisher. Could you use the data or tables from this supplement in your chapter?

2. Examine this poster titled Perpetual Plastic for Food to Go (PPFTG) project: A multidisciplinary collaboration approach and the license information on the page. Try to answer these questions:

a. What type of Creative Commons license is this poster licensed under?

b. Pretend you are a faculty member looking for examples of good research posters to share with your students and staff in your lab. Could you print this poster and put it up in your lab?

c. Pretend that you are a student in this lab and really like this poster. Could you copy the design, some images, and some text, add new text and new images from your own work, and share this new poster online?

1. Examine the supplement titled Identification and Predictors for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Equivalents among Adults With Diabetes Mellitus and the license information on the page. Try to answer these questions:

a. What type of Creative Commons license is this figure licensed under? It is licensed under a CC BY NC SA license.

b. Pretend you are a faculty member preparing a class. Could you use the data in this supplement to prepare a class exercise for students to calculate risk factors? Yes, this license allows anyone to copy and redistribute the information in other formats, and to adapt, re-use, and re-mix the information. However, they have applied a BY license, so the original author(s) must be recognized, and they have used a SA or Share Alike license, so you must license your class exercise under this same SA license. Could you show screenshots of these figures and tables in a PowerPoint presentation given during class? Yes, you can copy and redistribute this, with attribution to the original authors, and you must license your PowerPoint under the same SA terms.

c. Pretend you are a faculty member writing a textbook chapter for a for-profit publisher. Could you use the data or tables from this supplement in your chapter? The authors have licensed this supplement under a NC or noncommercial license. You need to ask the author(s) if you can use the materials in a for-profit venture like a published book chapter.

2. Examine this poster titled Perpetual Plastic for Food to Go (PPFTG) project: A multidisciplinary collaboration approach and the license information on the page. Try to answer these questions:

a. What type of Creative Commons license is this poster licensed under? It is licensed under a CC BY NC ND license.

b. Pretend you are a faculty member looking for examples of good research posters to share with your students and staff in your lab. Could you print this poster and display it in your lab? Yes, this license allows anyone to make a copy of this and share that copy. This use must be non commercial (due to the NC license) and the author names must be included on this new copy, because it uses a BY license.

c. Pretend that you are a student in this lab and really like this poster. Could you copy the design, some images, and some text, add new text and new images from your own work, and share this new poster online? No. The original poster is licensed under a ND or No Derivatives license. No one can reuse any parts of this poster's design or text without seeking permission from the owner.

Advanced Challenge

1. Identify an in-process or completed piece of your work that you own the rights to currently, and that you wish to distribute yourself using Creative Commons licensing. You might consider a presentation, a program you coded, a poster presented at a scientific conference, an image you created but have not published elsewhere, or another research or creative output.

2. Use the Creative Commons License Chooser to determine which CC license would be most appropriate for this work, given how you want others to use this and what credit you want to have. The chooser generates a line of text that you can paste into any web browser, document, etc., identifying the exact license you have chosen.

3. Optional: In a few sentences, summarize the research output you wanted to share and the CC license you would choose; we'll collect it at the end of the Challenge.

Copyright statement for this page

This page includes quotations and adaptations from the Eastern Michigan University Library's Scholarly Impact Challenge guide.

As per the terms of the license applied by the original creators, this page is also licensed under the BY SA (Attribution-ShareAlike license).

Congratulations!

Congratulation! You completed the 2023 Scholarly Impact Challenge. You've armed yourself with tools, knowledge, and resources needed to understand scholarly impact. You can now make more informed decisions about how your work is published, shared, and re-used, now that you know how it is being published, measured and assessed.