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Selecting Licenses

When you develop and release software and other research materials for the public, you need to select a software license, which provides rules for its re-use. You should include information about this license in your GitHub repository (and potentially other places as well).

All original code generated in the lab should be open-source with a permissive (non-copyleft) license (MIT, BSD, or Apache). GitHub provides a not fully comprehensive guide to licenses, which can be a good starting point. Relevant considerations include:

  • Can your materials be used for commercial applications, or do you want to reserve it for non-commercial use?
  • Can others redistribute your materials, possibly with attribution?
  • Is it acceptable to modify your materials, or should they be used as is?
  • Can others include your materials in their own patents?
  • Does anyone using your material have to abide by the same rules as your license?

If you contribute to upstream copyleft projects, or if projects branch off copyleft software, those contributions can be licensed in accordance with the upstream project license. This is important to clarify when making the decision about what models and codes to use as part of your research, so start thinking about this early! While openness and transparency are key priorities, we want to make sure that we are in compliance with the terms of software that we use.

Last update: June 26, 2023