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In accordance with the Terms of use, data in PANGAEA are published Open Access, preferably under a CC-BY license.

License location in metadata

The license is explicitly defined in the metadata.

Under which licenses can data be archived in PANGAEA?

Licenses available from the drop-down menu in the Data submission form (Create Issue/License):

Most of the Creative Commons licenses are used in Version 4.0, which addresses sui generis database rights (SGDRs) in addition to copyright and the other copyright-like rights covered in earlier versions. Because SGDRs can impede a user's ability to share, reuse, and modify a work in the same way that copyright can, 4.0 makes it clear that these permissions apply to works that would otherwise be restricted by SGDRs as well. These version have no country specific variants. Older data were published under 3.0 version.

Additionally, PANGAEA can accomodate community-specific license agreements.

Data sets can be password protected (under moratorium) on request of the author. In this case the data can be accessed via a login which is available from the author and metadata are public.

In unpublished data sets (with status "in review", "questionable " or "validated") the license is not shown.

Which license is suitable for my data?

Creative Commons licenses ordered by "openness”

CC-0 / CC-ZERO 88x31.png

“No rights reserved” / “no copyright”

  • Public Domain
  • No attribution required
  • Good Scientific Practice still requires citing of used data, but this is not mandated by the license

CC-BY 88x31.png

BY = shorthand for “BY Attribution”

  • Data is freely available to everyone
  • Usage requires to “cite”/”attribute” the original author(s)
  • No further restrictions on usage

CC-BY-SA 88x31.png

SA = Share Alike

  • Attribution required
  • If data gets included into works (e.g., paper), the resulting work must be CC-BY-SA licensed, too
  • Impossibility to publish a paper with a figure/diagram, analysis, table based on licensed data in a non-open-access journal

CC-BY-ND 88x31.png

ND = No Derivatives

  • Attribution required
  • Data can be used for own publications, but it must be shared unmodified!
  • License mainly in use for artistic work (images, logos)
  • For scientific use, license may make sense for visualizations, images, or maps which are not intended to be modified
  • No cropping / filtering of data, no compilations. Sharing in original form (file format?).

Non Commercial 88x31.png 88x31.png 88x31.png

  • Feels right for scientific data, but no definition of “commercial” in license text
  • Disallows fees for sharing/hosting the data
  • Disallows advertisements on repository’s homepage
  • Impossibility to publish a paper with a figure/diagram, analysis, table based on licensed data in a non-open-access journal
  • German Law: no commercial value of data => No compensation on license violations

GNU GPL gplv3-127x51.png

GNU General Public License 3.0

  • Free software license
  • Guarantees end users the freedom to run, study, share and modify the software
  • Because PANGAEA does not specialize on software archivation, this license is not widely used (and cannot be chosen from drop-down menu in the data submission form)
  • In case you wish to license your submitted software under this license or any other Free Software compatbible license (e.g., ASF-2.0, MIT, BSD, LGPL,...), indicate it to the editor


Recommendation by PANGAEA is to use CC-BY, but also CC0 is possible. In general all CC licenses are allowed, but NC and ND licenses are discouraged as they limit usage. The chosen license must be in compliance with possible terms of usage inherent to the submitted data. In case of conflicts, data submissions cannot be processed.