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Note

In accordance with the Guidelines for the Financial Exploitation of Research Results at ETH Zurich,

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This reporting process does not apply to software and scripts made available under an open source licence recognised by the Open Source Initiative. However, open source software and scripts must still be registered with the ETH Data Archive.  This also includes scripts that you would like to publish as part of research data publications. In addition, the responsible professor must ensure that all requirements for open source licensing are met in accordance with the guidelines.

Instructions and information on the registration process

Publication in the Research Collection

After successful registration at the ETH Data Archive, you are welcome to publish your open source software with the corresponding license text in the Research Collection. To do so, upload the license text as a separate file together with the scripts/source code or include the license information in the header of the script. Alternatively, you can create a "Metadata Only" item in the Research Collection and link the ETH Data Archive item created during registration to the Research Collection.

If you publish your software in the Research Collection under the publication type Software (not as part of a dataset), you can also assign one of the following open source licenses in the publication process. In this case, the license is displayed on the landing page of the software publication.

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ETH Zurich is entitled to the exclusive exploitation rights of software created within the scope of an employment. It therefore specifies how software can be published.

How are software and programming code defined?  

The Swiss Copyright Act (URG) protects works, i.e. intellectual creations of literature and art that have an individual character. The requirements for individual character of computer programs (software) are very low. They are therefore protected by copyright.
Consequently, every computer program necessarily requires a license for distribution to third parties (e.g. via Research Collection). This applies to all software, programming code and scripts.

What kind of software and programming code/scripts can be uploaded to the Research Collection?

Only software and scripts that fall under the exceptions for open source software of the Guidelines for the Financial Exploitation of Research Results at ETH Zurich (Art 3.3) can be uploaded to the Research Collection. The following can be published:

  • self-developed software with an open source license
  • self-developed programming codes/scripts with an open source license
  • programming codes/scripts from third parties with open source license
    Please only upload programming code/scripts from third parties if you have either modified them or can not reference them with a persistent identifier. Mark third-party programming code/scripts in your research data (e.g. in the readme).

Software that is not published as source code or exploited under a commercial license cannot be published in the Research Collection. For licensing of commercial software, ETH members must contact ETH transfer.

How are software and programming code/scripts licensed? 

Software and programming code/scripts created during an ETH employment and published (e.g. in the Research Collection) must be licensed under a recognised open source license in accordance with the ETH Zurich's Guidelines for Research Data Management. This also includes any programming code/scripts that are published as part of research data. 

The following open source licenses can be used for licensing software and programme code/scripts:

License name
License text
Apache License 2.0http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0
BSD 3-Clause Licensehttps://opensource.org/licenses/BSD-3-Clause
BSD 2-Clause Licensehttps://opensource.org/licenses/BSD-2-Clause
GNU General Public License 3.0http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0
GNU General Public License 2.0http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0
GNU Affero General Public License 3.0http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl-3.0.html
GNU Lesser General Public License 3.0http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-3.0
MIT Licensehttps://opensource.org/licenses/MIT
Mozilla Public License 2.0http://www.mozilla.org/MPL/2.0/
Common Development and Distribution License 2.0http://opensource.org/licenses/CDDL-1.0
Eclipse Public License 1.0http://www.eclipse.org/legal/epl-v10.html

If you would like to license your software under a license not included here, please contact us before uploading the files.

Definition of "Software"

In Switzerland, copyright protects works, i.e. intellectual creations of literature and art that have an individual character. This includes literature, music, paintings, sculptures, films, operas, ballets and pantomimes. Computer programs (software) are also protected by copyright.

The requirements for the individual character of computer programs are very low, so that to date there are only a few examples worldwide where a court has ruled that a computer program does not have an individual character.

Therefore, every computer program can in principle be regarded as protected by copyright and necessarily requires a licence for distribution to third parties, regardless of whether the computer program is small or large. Thus, not only complete software packages, but also scripts that you have created in the context of research data publications and may wish to publish are subject to registration under the ETH guidelines and require a corresponding licence if the software is passed on.Please note the following two cases when assigning licenses:

  • Publication of software only (publication type: Research Data > Software) in the Research Collection

Enter the license in the header of the source code or as a separate file (LICENSE.txt) and select the corresponding open source license during the upload in the tab "Enduser License".

  • Publication of research data with programming code/scripts in the Research Collection

To license programming code/scripts that are part of your research data (publication type: Research Data > Dataset / Data Collection / Other Research Data) you need to include the license in the header of the source code or as a separate file (LICENSE.txt). For the research data that accompanies your programming code/scripts you can select a separate Creative Commons license in the Research Collection on the tab "Enduser Licence".

Creative Commons licenses are not suitable for software and open source licenses are not suitable for research data. For more on Creative Commons licences, see Creative Commons Licences.

What must be registered with the ETH Data Archive?

Open source software developed at ETH and made available to third parties must be registered with the ETH Data Archive. This encompasses all software that is recorded in the Research Collection with the publication type "Software". These files must be registered in the ETH Data Archive before uploading. Alternatively, you can also enter a "Metadata Only" entry in the Research Collection and link the entry created during registration in the ETH Data Archive to the Research Collection.

Programming codes/scripts created and published as part of research data publications may also be subject to registration (see Guidelines for Research Data Management, foot note 17).  The research group leader ensures adherance to the research data guidelines of ETH Zurich. This also includes, for example, guaranteeing the requirement for open source licensing.

Please contact ETH transfer about the registration of commercial software.

Instructions and information on the registration process