Which licence to choose for open access publications?

Illustration by Emmi Kyytsönen / Karppi Design

Openness may be viewed on a scale of openness where openness may mean either a very extensive or a more limited possibility for re-use.

Illustration by Emmi Kyytsönen / Karppi Design

If the publications are used for  information search or used as  citations with attribution of author and source, no licence is needed: citation, for instance, is permitted in the Copyright Act (404/1961).

Elsevier allows authors to self archive attaching a CC-BY-NC-ND license


to the self archived manuscript. This license does not allow commercail use or dervatives.


Wide rights to  re-use a publication are given when publishing them under the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0  licence permitting also commercial reuse. Uses under this licence  have to comply with the BY or Attribution  requirement, meaning that the authors and sources must be appropriately credited as specified in the license.

CC BY 4.0 is a license  recommended by the Open Science and Research 2014-2017 project of the Ministry of Education and Culture for publication of scientific research data. A permission for commercial reuse is often necessary because further research  using the research data may also be conducted in collaboration with industry.

When metadata is published, the waiver  CC0 https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en

 is recommeded; by the Open Science and Research 2014-2017 project . In the waiver there is no requirement to mention the persons who have provided the metadata. However, it can be recommended that the instituion and  sources are  credited.

When research data is published, the waiver  CCO is an option; in that case, there is no requirement to mention the persons who have provided the data.. However, it can be recommended or requested  that the authors and sources are appropriately credited.Requesta are made so that the authors and sources are appropriately credited in accordance with certain guidelines, Rules of the Road, instead of a licence. If the attribution is a term of the license like in the Creative Commons Attribution or  CC BY 4.0 license , then use is only allowed if the term of the license , attribution, is appropiately given.

The Finnish Copyright Act,  Tekijänoikeuslaki 8.7.1961/404,  does not have a general work-for-hire lause. Some user rights are assumed to be given to employer according to legal opinions and literature,  but agreements are needed between the researcher and the university to agree on matters involving copyright, including agreements on open access publishing in the university repository. Use of copyright protected material must be agreed upon in the employment contract or in a separate agreement concluded with the university. In case of more than one author, copyrights are vested in all authors, which means that allowing open access to the publication requires permission from all copyright holders.

In Finnish universities it is the  researcher who  owns the copyright to his / her scientific article, it is the researcher who signs the copyright agreement with the publisher of a scientific publication.

Page content by: maria.rehbinder [at] aalto [dot] fi (Maria Rehbinder) | Last updated: 01.04.2016.