Friday, October 23, 2009

Licensing Question


A group of students is doing a project for a Business School course here at Western. The project consists of examining a business problem for an existing business, and offering data-based resolutions to the business. In this specific case, they wish to do market research.

So, working through the flow chart:

-I assume that I will be able to find them the data they need from the DLI collection (I meet with them Wednesday) >> approved

-They are authorised (students) >> approved

-To be used for academic purposes >> approved – kind of, depending on the next question

-But then what (if anything) can they give to the business (which is a requirement of the project)?


Since this is an assignment they have to do within their course, this falls within the license. They can use the data to do their work but they cannot share the data with the business. They can certainly share their analysis, this is no problem but they cannot provide the business with the data sets they used to do their analysis. The idea is that results/analysis can be shared and make public so that everyone can profit from the analysis.

I should may add one point to clarify:

The results can't be used only privately by the business unless the data are purchased. If the business doesn't want to have the analysis made public or shared, they would have to buy the data to be used from StatCan and then have the students do the analysis.

Additional Question

I’m a little unclear now as to the circumstances under which the students can give the report to the company.

How could/should the students make the report public or shared in order to give it to the company? I certainly expect that it will be given to the professor for evaluation together with the company, but suspect that that would be insufficient. Would a policy of dissemination on demand be sufficient – i.e., if they or the professor are asked for it, they would give it to other people in addition to the company? Would it need to be more active dissemination?


We had the same sort of situation here at Queen’s.  What ended up happening is that the products of the students’ work (various reports that used DLI data) were put up on a departmental ‘working paper’ site that was open to the world.  Just the reports – no data.  The local agencies that prompted these research efforts can tap into the working paper site, but so can everyone else.

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