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Open Data at BioMed Central: Creative Commons Waiver to be Part of Copyright and License Agreement

From Ruth Francis, 
Head of Communication, BioMed Central 

London, UK  From September 3, 2013, the Creative Commons CC0 waiver will become part of BioMed Central's Copyright and License Agreement, opening up the way in which data published in their journals can be used. CC0 will apply to data in all articles submitted to BioMed Central and Chemistry Central journals from this date.

Openly communicating scientific research involves more than publishing in an open access journal; sharing the underlying data is an increasingly important part of the research and publication process. BioMed Central believes that the true research potential of knowledge that is captured in data will only be released if data mining and other forms of data analysis and re-use are not in any form restricted by licensing requirements. 

A proposal suggesting the implementation of open data-compliant licensing in BioMed Central journals was put to public consultation in 2012, and responses were six to one in favor of including the CC0 waiver - or Public Domain Dedication - in the Copyright and License agreement. 

As part of the consultation, BioMed Central received a number of questions about matters such as citation, plagiarism, patient privacy, and commercial use. An article published in the open access journal BMC Research Notes ( provides answers to these questions and further details.

The importance of making data freely available has already been highlighted; one study even indicated that the lack of datasets available for sharing and re-use has hindered progress in a specific research area. We expect that placing data from publications in the public domain will promote collaborations and scientific progress.

BioMed Central has recognized the value in making data from articles published in their journals freely available, and the changes being made to the Copyright and License agreement should increase the efficiency of knowledge discovery from published literature with little change in scientists' current behaviour. The inclusion of the Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication will make it clear that data from articles in BioMed Central journals is clearly and unambiguously available for sharing, integration and re-use without legal restrictions.

Stefan Busch, co-author and a Publisher at BioMed Central, says, "The implementation of CC0 at BioMed Central again shows that we are driving developments in science publishing. This year alone, we will publish around 30,000 articles, and having the data in these articles licensed under CC0 will make a difference!"

Puneet Kishor, Science and Data Policy Coordinator at Creative Commons, added, " We believe the CC0 Public Domain Dedication provides the best method for contributing work to the public domain given the many complex and diverse copyright and database systems around the world. Allowing authors to contribute their work for public use will have many benefits and drive scientific progress."