Opening Australia's Publicly Funded Research and Innovation
Australia has a vibrant research and innovation sector which supports and enhances virtually every aspect of our life experiences. Although all aspects of research are important, this part of the AusGOAL website is focusses on the licensing of research outputs. A significant fraction of the research output produced in Australia is publicly funded, either directly via the major funding bodies, or, indirectly via institutional funding. Like the Australian Governments, the major research funding bodies and research organisations are moving towards requiring that information and data from their projects be published and made available for re-use.
Licensing research data using AusGOAL
One of the essential ingredients for making data re-usable is the provision of clarity of permissions, terms, and conditions. Prospective re-users need to know what they can and cannot do with the data. A lack of clarity about permission to re-use data can have the same result as forbidding data re-use, because uncertainty can be enough to discourage the potential re-user.
While there are many different ways of licensing data, there is a strong advantage in using a consistent approach. The technology now exists to allow individual datasets to be combined with others in novel ways to help solve ever more complex problems. The use of a single licensing framework, such as AusGOAL, across the research community and public sector enhances the potential for data sets to be combined for analysis, relieving researchers of the burden of keeping track of different conditions and permissions.
The Creative Commons licences can and should be applied to data, using the AusGOAL framework. The law with respect to the subsistence of copyright in factual information (for example, data) is currently being tested before the Courts. The outcomes of this litigation may cause further refinement of the application of Creative Commons licences, but in any event it is recommended that the default position should be to apply the AusGOAL framework to select the most appropriate licence.
ANDS and research data
ANDS, the Australian National Data Service, is developing the infrastructure to enable researchers to more easily publish, discover, access and use research data. ANDS partners with research institutions to encourage better local data management, which ensures that collections can be made available for continuing use (and re-use). Much of the data being produced is being published and made discoverable via such avenues as Research Data Australia.
This can only happen effectively when there is clarity of re-use permissions, terms and conditions around these data sets.
This area of the AusGOAL website will be updated as AusGOAL is implemented in the research and innovation sector. If you would like to keep informed about changes, please subscribe to our Twitter feed.