Open-data and copyright of scientific journals


Dear all,

I am the admin of the EELS database which is a open-data repository for material scientists ( ). Everyone is free to submit their data and I put the database and the data under under the Odbl license and each contributer on upload agree to release their data on this license.

I was then asked what happens if one wants to upload a data already published with a scientific publisher.

Do you have an idea about this?

On some publisher website it is stated that “Authors transfer copyright to the publisher as part of a journal publishing agreement, but have the right to: Retain patent, trademark and other intellectual property rights (including raw research data).” (see )

So it seems ok with this publisher but I cannot check for all existing publishers. Do you think that is something general?

All the best,



I’d say that for practical purposes you can safely assume it is a general
practice: researcher’s retain rights on raw data even if a study was
published based on it.

But, although it does not seem to be the case for your depositors, it can
get complicated if you want to get down to “worst case scenario” (other
parties involved, database rights etc), see <




Thanks for the reply and the reference. It is really matching what I was looking for!