Open source is a way to develop and share software. The open source model of software development makes both ideas and products available for everyone to see and utilize within the boundaries set by certain licensing models. Private persons and companies (end users) can take part in the development process, which helps in finding and fixing programming errors. This collaboration often results in good data security, high software quality and interoperability. Different licensing models determine how licensed software can be distributed and combined.
Open source code must be properly licensed. The independent commercialization of the software may be the basis for the choice of license. When choosing the license, other case-specific needs must also be taken into account. You should discuss your choice of licence with your supervisor, the Head of Laboratory, or the Dean.
GNU General Public License (GPL) gives anyone the right to use, copy, change, and distribute the software and their source code. GPL licensing also guarantees that these rights are retained with regard to the new and modified software based on GPL licensed source code. This makes GPL a copy left license. Please note that there is also GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), which, unlike GPL, doesn't require other projects with parts of the code to be similarly licensed.
Dual licensing is utilized in cases where the goal is to sell commercial licenses in addition to distributing research licenses. It is important that all of the software authors have agreed, that the software may be released initially under multiple licenses. In these cases, a license for this specific use is compiled together with university's legal services. In addition, Tampere University lawyers are intended to predominantly lend their licensing support in cases concerning commercially significant projects and to research groups seeking outside funding.
All aforementioned licenses include a limitation of liability, ensuring that the copyright holder and software developer are not liable for the use of the licensed material.
Other open source licensing options are described at the Open Source Initiative website. GitHub’s Choose a License page reviews the differences between the different licenses. More information on choosing an alternative license is available at the Free Software Foundation website. However, it is important to note that Creative Commons licenses are not suitable for source code.
Read more about the differences in open source licenses.
Open licenses can be roughly divided to two classes: sticky and non-sticky. In both cases everyone is free to use and copy the original program, the difference lies in continuing development.
Permissive license might interest corporations slightly more. Sticky license might attract slightly more independent developers.
In both cases there are no direct limitations for commercial use. A free program can be used in private business, and for example support services for the program can be sold. A corporation may also pay for developer to implement a specific feature.
|Photographer:||Ryan McGuire, https://stocksnap.io/photo/780C6B6865|
It is recommended that source code be shared and distributed where it is most appropriate, as determined by funding and other factors.
The recommended venue for sharing open source code is GitHub. If more appropriate, code can also be shared through the system used by the software the code contributions belong to. If the code is intended to be stored for a long period of time, Zenodo should be preferred instead of GitHub.
Open source code that cannot be saved on GitHub or other such service can be saved on TUTCRIS as zip files or in other similar formats. The most appropriate save location for open source code on TUTCRIS is Artistic and non-textual form > Software.
It is recommended that at least the metadata concerning the source code is saved on TUTCRIS. Please also take care that the source code is citable.
Make sure that the metadata includes, at the very least:
By the copyright law of Finland a computer program is an artwork having copyright just like a composition, poet etc. By the same law the copyright will remain -- unlike in private business -- to the writer to "computer program made by someone independently working on teaching or research at academy".
Hence an explicit contract is always needed if the copyrights are transferred to the university.
Is there something you did not found in this guide? Or is some important information missing? You can always contact us for further information, and we will help you with the research data management.