Nature releases genome papers under Creative Commons licenses

Nature Magazine's announced that it's going to share all its human genome papers under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licenses.The genomes themselves are not copyrightable and go into a public database, but the papers — which are a vital part of the science — may now be freely copied by any non-commercial publisher.

In the continuing drive to make papers as accessible as possible, NPG is now introducing a 'creative commons' licence for the reuse of such genome papers. The licence (see allows non-commercial publishers, however they might be defined, to reuse the pdf and html versions of the paper. In particular, users are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the contribution, provided this is for non-commercial purposes, subject to the same or similar licence conditions and due attribution.

In 1996, as human genome sequencing was getting under way, leading players stated: "It was agreed that all human genomic sequence information, generated by centres funded for large-scale human sequencing, should be freely available and in the public domain in order to encourage research and development and to maximise its benefit to society" (see These principles have continued to guide the field, and NPG has consistently made genome papers freely available in keeping with them. This new licence allows us to formalize the arrangement.