Tips for Living Openly: Put a License on it!

This is the second in a series of monthly posts about ways that those of us working in libraries can support open access (OA) to research.  This month’s tip is to assign Creative Commons licenses to your research and teaching resources.


Whether you want to publish your research in an open access journal or make the LibGuides and slide decks you create more usable, Creative Commons licenses can provide the mechanism to do so.

Creative Commons licenses give creators a clear and simple way to communicate with potential users and offer advanced permission for certain types of use.  Assigning an open license to your work allows you to contribute to the growing commons – 1.1 billion items and counting – and encourage your colleagues to reuse it.

Creative Commons licenses provide a legal mechanism for people to share their work openly and under terms that they choose without having to forfeit their copyright. Creators are able to choose from 6 different versions of the license depending on what rights are important for them to retain. Once you have decided on a license, all you need to do is include it somewhere on the resource you want to share and make it publicly available.

More information about assigning Creative Commons licenses can be found in slides developed by Stephanie Savage for an Open Access Week session at the University of British Columbia, co-facilitated with Erin Fields.