May 27, 2022

New Journal Article: “The Elusive Gold Mine? The Finer Details of Creative Commons Licences – and Why They Really Matter”

The following article was published online earlier today by UKSG Insights.


The Elusive Gold Mine? The Finer Details of Creative Commons Licences – and Why They Really Matter


Ruth Mallalieu
University of Sheffield


DOI: 10.1629/uksg.448


This article explores the tensions inherent in the ownership and reuse of scholarly works, with a focus on achieving open access (OA) aims via Creative Commons licences. This US initiative has had an enormous impact on the access to, dissemination and reuse of UK-authored scholarly literature since the Finch report of 2012. However, confusion abounds within the funding, publishing and academic communities about the correct uses and long-term implications of using such licences. This has legal consequences, as well as consequences for the author, readers and institutions who have to report compliance regarding OA in order to secure future research funding. 

Ownership is an important part of this picture. Creative Commons licences are legally binding on licensor and licensee, and only the copyright owner may release their work under such a licence. The complex research funding and sharing ecosystem has resulted in a ‘policy stack’ challenge with authors given little choice about their options. This paper examines some of these challenges through an exploration of current UKRI policy and the copyright licences of one publisher, with a focus on text and data mining. 

Direct to Full Text Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.