Publishing and commercialization – Can I have both?

When following the guidelines presented in this page, it is possible to both commercialize and publish your research results.

Research Data

In externally funded research projects, the research data is owned by Aalto University. Research data is one of the results of the project and ownership to results is transferred to Aalto University with Annex 1 of the work agreement.  Funding agencies, such as the Research Council of Finland (former Academy of Finland), require a data management plan with questions about the ownership of research data. In addition, the sui generis database right is always created to the employer of the researcher.

What part of data is published, length of embargo period, and which repository to choose for data are all strategic decisions of the Principal Investigator (PI), taking into consideration law, agreements, policies and ethical principles proteccting the rights of data creators. [email protected] offers guidance in these questions.

For research data that is not publicly funded and published in a repository, and if agreements concerning data allow, double licensing can be utilised in cases where the goal is to sell commercial licenses in addition to distributing a license allowing only academic and other non-commercial uses.

  • First, license with Creative Commons CC BY NC 4.0 license
  • Secondly, license the dataset for a company for commercial use with a separate license.

For data that is in repository with restricted access, different license options apply also to publicly funded data, if that data has restricted access.

Please note that for publishing publicly funded research data in a data repository, only Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license is compliant with the requirements of Open data directive, implemented in Finland with the national law Laki julkisin varoin tuotettujen tutkimusaineistojen uudelleenkäytöstä.

When planning commercialization activities, it is critical to have clear agreements on the ownership of the results. Any other related engagements, such as previously granted licenses or rights of first refusal, have to be clearly documented. 

In most cases, research results are utilized in subsequent research projects, where prior results are used as background information. The project agreement and funding terms applicable to the results may set forth provisions for use in further research.

Research data should be findable, and that requires metadata ( = descriptive information) to be added to Aalto University's research information catalogue ACRIS. Etsin is a research data finder which utilizes the metadata in ACRIS. 

Further information Licensing research data at Aalto University


Managing research data enables its use for both patenting, and publishing as citable data, as long as timing is successful. What does this mean?

  • Before filing the patent application the research data has to be kept as confidential data.
  • After the patent application is filed, the curated research data can be published, also as open data.

Note, that drafting a patent application that will result in a commercially valuable patent requires the co-operation of the researcher and patent attorney. The required time span is typically 1.5 to 2 months.

  • Patents are published. Espacenet offers access to information about inventions and technical developments of more than 90 million patent documents from around the world.
  • The European IPR Helpdesk has issued a fact sheet Publishing v. patenting that examines the different aspects of knowledge dissemination tools, taking into account the different needs and objectives of research organisations/universities  and small and medium sized enterprises/industry. No general rules apply when choosing the right means of dissemination, but one needs to ensure that the chosen tools are in line with the overall strategy of the organisation.

After patent application and other necessary registrations have been filed, the research project results can be utilized in publications and as citable datasets.

Commercialization policy of Aalto University

The Aalto University commercialization policy establishes guidelines for intellectual property that has commercial potential and to which the university is entitled to. Tradable IP consists of patents and registered designs, copyrights, trade- and service marks and  trade secrets.   

Aalto University uses intellectual property to achieve benefits for society. The results generated in research projects can be utilized commercially, for instance, by licensing or assigning them to industry or other partners, such as start-up companies.

Aalto employees shall submit an invention disclosure to the university concerning all inventions and software generated as a result of their employment. Software disclosure should be made for software of commercial potential.

For more information, contact Aalto University Innovation Services

Links to research data management instructions

Follow these links to navigate through research data management instructions.

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Research Data Management (RDM) and Open Science

Properly managed research data creates competitive edge and is an important part of a high-quality research process. Here you will find links to support, services and instructions for research data management.

This service is provided by:

Research and Innovation Services

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