Confused about Creative Commons licences?

Creative Commons licences offer a range of options for licensing your work, allowing you to share your work on your own terms. They’re intended to be straightforward, making it easy for you to control how your work is used and to understand what you can do with other people’s work.

The following graphic explains the different variations available:

CC(Creative Commons licenses explained ©Foter (adapted by Jisc) via Foter blog CC BY-SA)

The most permissive license available is the CC0 license, which allows anyone to copy, publish, modify or adapt the work, or change the license, without requiring that the original work be attributed.

The CC-BY license allows other people to copy, publish, modify or adapt your work, as long as you are credited – this is the license you’ll probably need to publish under if your work is funded and you’re publishing with immediate open access. (There’s more information on the library website about publishing open access and paying the fees for open access publication.)

The CC BY license can also be modified with one or more of the following terms:

  • ND (“No derivatives”): this prevents the work from being modified or adapted without permission from the copyright holder.
  • NC (“Non-commercial”): this prohibits commercial use of the work without permission from the copyright holder.
  • SA (“Share Alike”): means that any new works created using the work must be under the same licence as the original work was.

Making your work open access under licenses such as these benefits the research community by making knowledge accessible to everyone, enabling greater participation in research, and using Creative Commons licenses helps other people understand how they’re allowed to use your work.

To see some examples of what open research is enabling, take a look at SPARC’s website Open In Order To… And if you want to know more about open access at SGUL, email openaccess@sgul.ac.uk or visit our open access webpage.

Jennifer Hughes

Research Publications Assistant


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