Q: What are the copyright requirements related to data sharing in a public repository?

Detailed Question -

I plan to submit my manuscript to PLOS ONE and the journal requires data to be included in a public repository. I am not clear about the copyright issues, so I have a few questions:

  • If I share my data on data repository site like Figshare, is there any law that restricts source citation?
  • Does the data owner need to be informed?
  • Will I be unaware about how my data is used after making it public?
1 Answer to this question

Datasets and metadata on Figshare are published under a CC0 license, which enables you to make your datasets available in the public domain. This reduces legal barriers to the reuse of data. But users have the responsibility to cite the source, though they do not have to ask or inform the data owner before using it. Data on Figshare also have DOIs and are citable. The DOI will appear in citations, making it easier for other researchers to get back to the original data. 

PLOSONE expects authors to adhere to a data sharing policy and submit a data sharing statement. Check the PLOSONE website for specific requirements for data sharing by article type. 

However, if you have concerns about openly sharing data due to ethical reasons or to protect the privacy of patients, you can inform the editorial team. In such cases, they usually have policies that allow the publication of the paper maintaining the appropriate level of security.