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Preprint Servers: How Open Is Your Preprint?

Information about open access and scholarly publishing

What is Creative Commons and Open Source Licensing?

To promote  the use of your work, and increase your metrics, it helps to give notice to others that your work can be used by applying a creative commons license. As you were finding resources for your creative works, you may see Creative Commons licenses attached to different creative works. Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that provides free licenses that allow the owners of creative works to share their content with the public on their terms. This nonprofit organization offers a number of licenses ranging from "Some Rights Reserved" to public domain.

There are four components of Creative Commons licenses, which can be mixed and matched to create six open licenses.

  • Attribution (BY): Proper attribution must be given to the original creator of the work whenever a portion of their work is reused or adapted. This includes a link to the original work, information about the author, and information about the original work’s license.
  • Share-Alike (SA): Iterations of the original work must be made available under the same license terms.
  • Non-Commercial (NC): The work cannot be sold at a profit or used for commercial means such as for-profit advertising. Copies of the work can be purchased in print and given away or sold at cost.
  • No Derivatives (ND): The work cannot be altered or “remixed.” Only identical copies of the work can be redistributed without additional permission from the creator.

CC attributions vary, therefore you must read the summary of the license to understand how to use the image, texts, videos, music etc.

** Several alternative licenses include GNU General Public License, the MIT License, or other open source licenses.

How open is my preprint

How To Add A Creative Commons License

To add a Creative Commons license to your work:

  1. Choose a Creative Commons license. Use the license chooser, which asks you two simple questions to choose a license.
  2. Add a license statement to your work. The general format is [Name of work] by [name of author] is licensed under a [license name with link to license]. If you're using the license chooser, you can copy the sample statement onto your work. HTML code is also provided for web pages. Downloadable license images are available to include with the statement.​​ For videos, download a free video bumper.
    • ​Note: If you are incorporating works from other sources that have different licenses or would require permission to use elsewhere, indicate which parts of the work are licensed under which CC license. Example: "Unless otherwise noted..."