The License Agreement Form.

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Post-Uploading Activity

The License Agreement Form should name the dataset covered by the agreement and list all of the files that are to be uploaded as part of the deposit. Where multiple datasets are to be deposited, a separate License Agreement Form should be raised for each dataset. This is to ensure that differences between the content and access conditions for each dataset are captured correctly. For example, a dataset may have two versions, a de-identified version and a version that still contains direct identifiers within the data files. Although both of these versions could be covered by a common License Agreement Form, the two datasets need to be distinguished to ensure that the correct access conditions are granted to each. The de-identified version may be releasable as Open Access, but this may lower the utility of the data considerably, whereas the dataset containing the direct identifiers will require stricter access conditions in order to protect the data and adhere to the Data Sharing Principles and Privacy Act 1988 requirements. A separate License Agreement Form for each avoids any potential errors and minimises the disclosure risk.

To prevent disclosure effectively, the Data Owner must consider not only the data itself, but also the environment the data will be released into. By considering both of these factors at this stage, the data is most likely to be managed appropriately, reducing the likelihood of disclosure whilst maximising the potential use of the data. For example, in some cases it may not be feasible to apply protections to the data for utility reasons. In this case, access might only be granted to authorised, trained personnel, through the ADA Secure Environment.

An agreement between the Data Owner and the Data Custodian

The License Agreement Form is arguably the most important item of the deposit, as within this form the Data Owner or their authorised representative agrees that the ADA as Data Custodians are to archive their data. It also provides the ADA with the non-exclusive right to redistribute the data to other secondary users, upon request, and subject to any agreed access conditions. Without a License Agreement Form, a deposit will not be published.

The basic License Agreement describes the conditions under which the ADA agrees to archive and host your data on the ADA Dataverse site. It requires you to identify a Data Category and to select an appropriate Access Category that corresponds to your dataset. For example, it would not be acceptable to have Sensitive Data that includes Direct Identifiers under an Open Access agreement. As a rule of thumb, the less protection applied to the data, the higher the access restrictions that need to be applied in order to preserve security and to prevent disclosure.

Embargoes on your data

In the event that you do not wish your data to be made available to other users for a set period of time, for example if you plan to publish work based upon the data and do not want others to use the data until these works are published. The License Agreement Form allows you to assign an Embargo period to your data. It is usual to Embargo the entire dataset however in the interest of making your research and data available to other users at the earliest opportunity, you may choose just to Embargo only certain Key Variables. The License Agreement Form can be used to capture these requirements. Where an excessive embargo period is requested that effectively prevents the long term release of the data, the ADA Director will be required to agree to this as this goes against one of the key tenets of the ADA Collection Policy.

Access Terms and Conditions

The License Agreement Form provides the ADA with an auditable record of the Data Owner’s chosen Terms and Conditions of Use selection, and License Access Guestbook requirements for the dataset(s). This assists in the effective management of access to the dataset(s) once published. Additional forms are provided to help you in determining the correct selection for your data. See the The License Terms and Conditions of Use and the The License Access Guestbook for further details.


The data collected during any project can hold Sensitive or Personal Information about a living subject, and as a result it is important that the Data Subjects have given their consent for the data to be used for the original intended purposes of the project. Consent is actually layered; thus you first need to establish that consent has been given to release and share the data as an output of the original project or study that is being deposited (whether that be in an identified or de-identified form). Secondly it needs to be determined if consent has been provided by the Data Subject for the work to be made available for secondary analysis and subsequent release to other users.

For the Data Subject to have given consent in its truest form, the subject must be aware that the data is being collected about them and to have agreed to this collection. They must also have given their consent freely and not have been coerced into agreeing to this in return for something.

Where possible the Data Subject should be made aware of the specific organisations that the data may be shared with and have also consented to this (if possible). The more ‘no’s you have to these points, the greater the responsibility placed upon the Data Custodian to protect the Data Subjects identity and the less utility that there will be in the data. Ultimately, be transparent with your Data Subjects and where consent is not provided, ensure that you do not release the data outside of the agreement that you have entered with the Data Subject.

Original signed consent forms can be uploaded as part of a dataset, these files can be archived with the Submission Information Pack (SIP) and should be deposited as ARCHIVE_ONLY documents in accordance with the standard ADA File and Folder Naming Conventions.


It is critical that the depositor of the data is either the Data Owner or their authorised representative; and that they hold the copyright, or are authorised by the copyright holder to release the material to the ADA, allowing it to be published. In most cases, individual researchers have created their own dataset(s) and therefore they, or their institution (depending upon arrangements) own the copyright to this information. However, the facts that the dataset(s) are based upon are not generally theirs and normally belong to the Data Subject, these facts therefore cannot be placed under the copyright. When work is produced collaboratively or is derived from work done elsewhere then the copyright is usually held jointly by the various researchers or their institutions.

Signing the License Agreement Form

The License Agreement Form should be signed by the Data Owner or the authorised representative who is depositing the data and supporting materiel. This signature provides the ADA with the authority to publish the data. It also acts as confirmation that the information provided by the depositor is accurate and that the necessary copyright, consent and ethics considerations have been met. If the deposit is from a government department, the head of the departmental area should sign the License Agreement Form. If from a University, the University will probably hold the copyright rather than an individual named person, hence the signature should be from an individual at a sufficiently high level in the organisation to have the authority to sign the form. Thus a License Agreement Form would not be accepted if it were signed by a research assistant.

Download the License Agreement Form

An example of the License Agreement Form can be accessed at the following link:

The form will be made available online in due course, in the meantime depositors should Contact the ADA requesting a blank copy of the License Agreement Form be sent to them.

ADA Staff can access the form at the following SharePoint link: