Documentation for end users describing how to effectively use the license selector. This tool can for example be used in the B2SHARE service during deposition.

Modified: 16 January 2017


The license selector tool allows a user to attach a specific license to their data set or software package in order to protect it from certain usage or abuse. This document is targeted at all users that want to add a license to their data set, but don't know which license suits best to their data set distribution and rights requirements. The selector tool is an addition to the B2SHARE service.

This documentation describes the functionality of the License Selector, release version 0.0.6.


The license selector tool is provided to ease the selection of the correct license to attach to your data-set or software package without requiring expert knowledge of every available license. By answering a few questions in a wizard-like interface, a user will be guided to a single or set of licenses which can be selected for inclusion in their metadata upon publishing. The tool is by no means mandatory to use, but purely aimed as a support for the publishing user.

The license selector tool developed by a team led by Pawel Kamocki (researcher IT Law at IDS Mannheim, Germany), made available as open source software: https://github.com/ufal/public-license-selector

Locating the tool

The tool becomes available during the metadata definition step when creating a new record to publish in the B2SHARE service. The tool is located under the 'Select license' button next to the license text field. Click on it to open the tool.

Figure 1: Locating the license selector in the B2SHARE service.


During usage, the tool will ask the user some questions which will narrow down the possibilities of license choice.

Figure 2: Opening screen of the licence selector tool in B2SHARE.

The questions in the wizard are:

  • What do you want to deposit?
    You can either choose 'software' or 'data' here. Choose the latter if your work doesn't contain any code.
  • If you have chosen 'software':
    • Is your code based on existing software or is it your original work?
      As you have chosen 'software' at the previous question, you now have to select whether your code you are about to publish is based on previous work (done by other people) or solely your original work. If you choose 'Based on existing software', the tool will provide you with a list of supported well-known software licenses. Choose the one that either matches the one of the original work or is fully compatible with it.

    • Do you want others who modify your code to be forced to also release it under open source license?
      If you have chosen 'My own code' at the previous question, you now have to indicate the restrictions you want to impose on your own work while being used by other people. If they release their work, which is based on your original work, you might want to enforce that they release it under an open-source license.
    • Is your code used directly as an executable or are you licensing a library (your code will be linked)?
      This question verifies whether your code can be used as a stand-alone executable or only as a library of another piece of software. Depending on your answer on this question, a final list of possible licenses is derived.
  • Or, if you have chosen 'data':
    • Is your data within the scope of copyright and related rights?
      If you choose 'no' here, your data automatically falls under the Public Domain (PD) license.
    • Do you own copyright and similar rights in your dataset and all its constitutive parts?
      If you choose 'no' here, the following additional questions will be asked:
      • Are all the elements of your dataset licensed under a public license or in the Public Domain?
        If you choose 'no' here, you are not allowed to publish this data set!
      • You will be asked to choose the licenses present in your dataset
        After selection, the wizard continues with the questions below.
        • Do you allow others to make derivative works?
          Select 'yes' if you allow other researchers to alter your data and publish it.
        • Do you require others to share derivative works based on your data under a compatible license?
          Select 'yes' in order to force other researchers to publish their derived work under a compatible license with similar rights and duties as your chosen license.
        • Do you allow others to make commercial use of you data?
          Select 'yes' to allow commercialisation of your data.
        • Do you want others to attribute your data to you?
          This question will only be asked in case you answered to allow publication and commercialisation of derivative work and you require no compatible license. Select 'yes' to make sure your original work is attributed in the new publication.
      • After finishing all questions and selections, a final set of licenses is shown from which you can choose your license to attach to your work.

For every license in the final set, a small description is given along with an indication whether your work will be publicly available when chosen and the license logo. Click on the 'See full text' button to read the complete license description.

Figure 3: Example license result.


  • If you feel that you have given the wrong answers, or the correct license doesn't show up, you can use the 'Start over' button to start from the beginning
  • Press the left or right arrows to re-answer specific questions
  • Press one of the buttons in between the arrow buttons to go to a specific question
  • You can use the search field to find licenses with specific keywords.

Summary flow

For simplicity, the following figure gives an overview on how the different choices affect the possibilities for available licenses to select.

Figure 4: License selector decision flow diagram.


Support for the License Selector is available via the EUDAT ticketing system through the webform.

If you have comments on this page, please also submit them though the EUDAT ticketing system.

Document Data

Version: 1.0.1


Hans van Piggelen (SURF)


Kostas Kavoussanakis (EPCC)