Data and Code Guidance by Data Editors

Guidance for authors wishing to create data and code supplements, and for replicators.

Licensing Guidance

On this page:

This site does not provide legal guidance. The information below is provided for discussion and as a suggestion only. Authors should consult with a qualified party, such as a university counsel or a lawyer, as appropriate.


When depositing in a Code and Data Repository, a license needs to be chosen. If not chosen through the menu, a license file (typically named LICENSE.txt or LICENSE.md) needs to be provided.

Some guidance on licensing of databases and software:

For the purpose of replicability, journals will usually insist on an open license that allows for replication by researchers unconnected to the original parties, to the extent allowed by other agreements and the law.

Dual-License Setup

Many repositories contain both code and databases. In that case, the repository might contain files under different licenses. For instance, some components may come with more restrictive licenses (MIT License for software from third parties) or more lenient licenses (CC0 license for own code), with a third license for databases.

Dual-license Example

The AEA provides an example of a dual-license setup, suitable for use by depositors to various journals’ data and code repositories (see the LICENSE-template). It combines

Multi-license Example

In the example below, drawn from Greenelab, the specific types of files are identified by “glob patterns” or regular expressions, but explicit naming of files or directories could also be applied.

License: CC BY 4.0 License: CC0 1.0

Except when noted otherwise, the entirety of this repository is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 License (LICENSE.md), which allows reuse with attribution.

Since CC BY is not ideal for code and data, certain repository components are also released under the CC0 1.0 public domain dedication (LICENSE-CC0.md). All files matched by the following glob patterns are dual licensed under CC BY 4.0 and CC0 1.0:

All other files are only available under CC BY 4.0, including:

Except for the following files with different licenses: