Open access publications are made available under an open license, typically a Creative Commons license (CC license). The license identifies the copyright holder, usually the author, and specifies the conditions for re-use of the work (user’s rights).
A general condition of CC licenses is that the person making use of the work must attribute, or give credit to, the original author of the work. The way in which the work should be attributed is often specified. Beyond this condition, other conditions for re-use of the work are determined in specific CC licenses. We give a short description of the most common licenses here, but for a full description of all Creative Commons licenses, please visit: https://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/
Creative Commons - Attribution CC BY
End users are allowed to copy, distribute, display, and perform the copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way requested.
Creative Commons – No Derivative Works CC BY-ND
End users are allowed to copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it, with credit to the author.
Creative Commons – Non-Commercial CC BY-NC
End users are allowed to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work — and derivative works based upon it — but for non-commercial purposes only, with credit to the author.
Creative Commons – Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives CC BY-NC-ND
This license is the most restrictive of the main licenses, allowing redistribution only. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download the work and share it with others as long as they mention the author, but they cannot change the work in any way or use it for commercial purposes.
For detailed information on all the Creative Commons licenses visit:
For researchers who would like to know more about Creative Commons licenses, there is a helpful guide from OAPEN-UK: ‘Guide to Creative Commons for Humanities and Social Science Monograph Authors’ (2013).