Home » Copyright » Sharing Research Data and Intellectual Property Law: A Primer

Sharing Research Data and Intellectual Property Law: A Primer


Sharing research data by depositing it in connection with a published article or otherwise making data publicly available sometimes raises intellectual property questions in the minds of depositing researchers, their employers, their funders, and other researchers who seek to reuse research data. In this context or in the drafting of data management plans, common questions are (1) what are the legal rights in data; (2) who has these rights; and (3) how does one with these rights use them to share data in a way that permits or encourages productive downstream uses? Leaving to the side privacy and national security laws that regulate sharing certain types of data, this Perspective explains how to work through the general intellectual property and contractual issues for all research data.

For the researcher seeking to use another’s data, this Perspective offers some good news and some not as good news. The good news is that if a source of data—the researcher or repository—gives permission to reuse the data and one’s intended use fits within the scope of the permission, one need not be overly concerned with the details of the discussion that follows because the permission provides the legal basis for data reuse. Read more…


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