Sharing Research Data and Intellectual Property Law: A Primer

12 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2016

See all articles by Michael W. Carroll

Michael W. Carroll

American University Washington College of Law

Date Written: August 27, 2015


Sharing research data by depositing it in connection with a published article or otherwise making data publicly available sometimes raises intellectual property questions in the minds of depositing researchers, their employers, their funders, and other researchers who seek to reuse research data. In this context or in the drafting of data management plans, common questions are (1) what are the legal rights in data; (2) who has these rights; and (3) how does one with these rights use them to share data in a way that permits or encourages productive downstream uses? Leaving to the side privacy and national security laws that regulate sharing certain types of data, this Perspective explains how to work through the general intellectual property and contractual issues for all research data.

Keywords: intellectual property rights, research data

Suggested Citation

Carroll, Michael W., Sharing Research Data and Intellectual Property Law: A Primer (August 27, 2015). PLOS Biology 13(8) (2015); American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2016-18. Available at SSRN:

Michael W. Carroll (Contact Author)

American University Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States
202-274-4047 (Phone)
202-730-4756 (Fax)


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