Data Re-use policies

Metadata Re-use Policies

To maximise the exposure and impact of your research outputs, you want to see your institution's publications cited as widely as possible. It therefore helps to let third parties re-use the metadata for the items in your repository.

The OpenDOAR Policy Tool covers the following metadata re-use topics:

Access to Metadata

It is a sine qua non of the Open Access movement that anyone should be able to access a repository's metadata without any restrictions and free of charge. If access is controlled in any way, you are probably shooting yourself in the foot.

Re-Use of Metadata

It is advisable to state an explicit re-use policy for metadata, otherwise people will have to make assumptions – the fail safe being that they do not have permission.

It is a de facto standard in the Open Access world that metadata may be re-used for not-for-profit purposes without prior permission in any medium. Usually a link to the original item or an acknowledgement of the repository is requested.

OpenDOAR goes further in recommending that you even allow your metadata to be reused commercially. This is because any loss of potential revenue is far outweighed by the benefits accrued from the additional exposure of your material.

Full-item Re-use Policies

Extra benefits accrue from letting people re-use the full items in your repository, and not just the metadata.

The OpenDOAR Policy Tool covers the following full-item re-use topics:

Access to Full Items

The raison d'ĂȘtre of Open Access is to provide free unfettered read access to full publications and other research outputs from your institution. Imposing access restrictions is not recommended. However, there may be situations where you need to control access to certain items, for instance theses covered by an embargo for a period after the award of a degree.

Re-Use of Full Items

Full-item re-use extends simple read access to reproduction, performance and other re-use of items in your repository. Re-use policies should always be defined explicitly. Without a stated policy, people should assume that they do not have permission to re-use full items, but they assume otherwise.

Re-use permissions and conditions do not necessarily have to apply to the repository has a whole. Individual items can be tagged with differing rights permissions and conditions if required.

It is normal practice to allow people to reproduce or re-use deposited full items free of charge for personal research or study, educational purposes or not-for-profit purposes. It is usual to ask for full bibliographic references to be given and/or links/URLs to the original metadata page. Other conditions may also be set, usually relating to rights

Some repositories may specify that only single copies may be made, but it is helpful to allow multiple copies - for instance, for lecturers' handouts.

Generally speaking, repositories do not allow commercial re-use of full items without prior permission of the copyright holders.

Increasingly, web robots are used to harvest full texts for various purposes. Some of these purposes are beneficial to the institution - the obvious case being indexing by search services. Other interesting examples are data mining and citation analysis. However, you may or may not be happy for third parties to make cache copies. OpenDOAR recommends that repositories allow transient harvesting of full items by robots for benign or beneficial purposes.

Find out more from the JISC Digital Repositories infoKit