Facts and ideas are not copyrightable.
Expressions of ideas are copyrightable.
Game rules are not copyrightable (chess, Go, football, Dungeons & Dragons).
Expressions of game rules are copyrightable.
A function that computes standard deviation of values: name choices and concept of the function are not copyrightable.
std() code actually computes the standard deviation is copyrightable.
"Right of First Publication": copyright automatically goes to the first creator of any creative work
(Even if not explicitly specified)
Consequence: if you post software to GitHub without an explicit license, then you own the copyright—even if openly and publicly visible.
By default, no one else is legally allowed to use or modify your work.
All software codes you make publicly available should be accompanied by a software license describing the terms by which others may use and/or modify your code.
Alternatively, you can put work into the public domain: "This work has been placed in the public domain."
Free for anyone and everyone to use and modify.
Literature examples: Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein
(There are some tricky issues internationally, however.)
Kinds of software licenses: proprietary, and free/open source (FOSS, FLOSS, OSS)
Pick an existing license. Do not create your own.
FOSS categories: permissive, and "copyleft"
Permissive licenses: BSD 3-clause, MIT; allow further distribution under any license
Copyleft licenses: GPL; require modifications to be shared under the same license ("viral")
When in doubt, use a permissive license like the BSD 3-clause or MIT licenses.
Licenses: CC BY, CC BY-SA, CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-NC
Patents: cover ideas and concepts; modern issues with "patent trolls"
Trademarks: symbols that represent a business or organization
Export control: government may forbid the transfer of source code (and data, ideas) to another country or foreign national without permission
HIPAA compliance: software that deals with human patients must be anonymized
LICENSE.txtin your repo.
We've talked about best practices:
Is that it?
For research, need one more step: archiving software (or data)
Consider: what if you use/cite software, and someone modifies it?
Live demo time... connecting GitHub to Zenodo
Our research results depend on software and data—different versions of software and data change our answers.
Without proper citations, your work is not reproducible.
Also, academia relies on citations for credit. (for better or worse)
DOI or other persistent identifier
Version number/commit hash
Location (e.g., GitHub repo)
(If there’s a paper describing it, cite that too)
In the text with the references/bibliography.
Lorena Barba describes “reproducibility packages” associated with papers, with figures shared under CC-BY license:
“For every figure that presents some result, we bundle the files needed to reproduce it — input or configuration files used to run the simulation(s) behind the result; code to process raw data into derived data; and scripts to create output graphs — and deposit them together with the figure into an open-data repository, such as Figshare. Figshare assigns the bundle a DOI, which we then include in the figure caption so readers can easily find the data and re-create the result.”
Improving reproducibility and impact of your work
Reviewers will love you with this one great trick!
It also lets you reuse your figures without violating the journal copyright. (Yes, when published, the journal owns the paper and everything in it that isn’t licensed from somewhere else.)
Developer-friendly journal for research software packages
Affiliate of Open Source Initiative
Open access & no fees
“If you've already licensed your code and have good documentation then we expect that it should take less than an hour to prepare and submit your paper to JOSS.”
JOSS paper submission