Being able to redistribute or reuse parts of scientific knowledge, such as information encoded in biological databases, is an essential driver of innovation. Today, UniProt - one of the most widely used life science databases in the world and a flagship resource of SIB and its partners EMBL-EBI and PIR - adopts the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license to encourage the creation of derivative products.

UniProt, an open science pioneer

SIB is committed to the principle that research data and findings should be freely accessible to everyone: scientists and clinicians, but also members of the public who are playing an increasingly active role as informed participants in biomedical research and health care initiatives.

Pioneering this open science principle are knowledge resources like the Universal Protein Resource or UniProt, which has been freely accessible since its inception in 2002. UniProt is also one of the ELIXIR Core Data Resources, recognized within Europe as being of fundamental importance to the wider life science community and the long-term preservation of biological data.

cc license 

A deriver's license to encourage knowledge reuse

While UniProt has been freely accessible until today, the distribution of UniProt 'derivatives' - products and services that build on UniProt - required prior permission. The motive for this was to ensure data quality and avoid confusion about the responsibility for these derivatives, a motive shared by many public data resources and agencies.

The latest version of the Creative Commons Licenses addresses these concerns, while facilitating the development of services and software that bring UniProt data to new user communities.

"We are proud to announce today that UniProt is now available under the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license", says SIB Group Leader Alan Bridge of the Swiss-Prot Group. "This license allows all users, academic and commercial, public and private, to use UniProt data in any way they like, and to develop and distribute derivative products and services that build on UniProt without requiring prior permission."

'Trading in derivatives' for a data rich future

"A derivative is also the name given to a financial trade that provides the buyer with an option on the future" concludes Alan. "It is our hope that an expanded 'derivatives market' for UniProt will help promote the development of more innovative applications and a brighter, data rich future for biomedical research."

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