IPR is short for Intellectual Property Rights and generally describes – either by agreement or law – the four w’s; when who can do what to which data. Research data is governed by many of different regulations, and often takes the context of the research in to account – e.g. who funds the data. Furthermore, rights in terms of e.g. copyright, patenting etc. are key issues when dealing with IPR.
As a researcher, you should always try to clarify the rights regarding your own research data, and keep in mind that you might not need to apply the same IPR conditions if you have multiple data sets. Also, you should pay attention to whether or not you are using other peoples data, and how this may effect your research.
As part of the IPR clarification, you should make sure to specify who can decide on the sharing of data. We distinguish between two kinds of sharing; 1. bilateral sharing between two parties, 2. publication of data.
With regards to bilateral sharing, you can define a set of terms that are similar to IPR. These can be governed by a contract or similar.
When you publish data, you usually associate a standard license to data. These are often available in the repository that you choose. A standard license lists the conditions that govern your data, e.g. how to apply proper citation, use for commercial purposes etc. Creative Commons or Open Data Commons are frequently used for this purpose.
When you begin sharing your data in public or semi-public portals, you are sure to be faced with licensing your data. Licensing tells a human – or a machine – what they can do with your data under which conditions / terms.