Creative Commons

Add a creative commons license to your body data to help others

After joining a government conference last week, I realised there is more to the quantified self movement than learning from your own body data to improve just yourself. The data we are collecting can be useful for the health of people worldwide.

By providing the data we collect from our self tracking to scientists and yes, even the government, better research and health policy can be made. But to do this we need a structured way of giving up our data – and Creative Commons is the answer.

The Creative Commons license isn’t just for images, blog content or video. It stretches far beyond that, with Science Commons and Health Commons powered by the Creative Commons license. So your body data is already applicable.

Commercialism is an issue though. Do you really want companies making money out of your personal data? Well, it depends on your end goal – and for me, it is using the information I collect to help better others, whether or not the company that requires the data is out there to make a profit. So I propose the following license for your body data: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Which looks like this:

Creative Commons License
David Clare’s body data by David Clare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.This license means that others can use your data, included for commercial purposes, so long as you are attributed in the work and the work created is put under the same license as your data is. That’s actually quite a strict license, but it creates a circle of sharing where people pass it on. The license is also approved for Free Cultural Works.

Update: Commenter Eric points out that Creative Commons recommends the CC0 license for data. Find out more about this license here.

This is only the start. Once we begin to share our body data, there is then the further issue that devices are not uniform, nor is the data they pump out. It may be tricky for research scientists to pull the information together.

What is next is the tracking device companies themselves buying into open body data, giving all users the option of sharing their data for research purposes. Uniform metrics should also be used, no Nike Fuel points please. And maybe there is a buisness opportunity here too – become the company that pulls all this information together in aggregate.

Who’s game?




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    • David J M Clare

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks for sharing – that is really useful to know about the CC0 license for data. I have updated the blog post with this.

      On the uniform metrics, I certainly agree – I don’t think we yet have uniform metrics but it would be a great thing to work towards.

      Love that you are building a dashboard – this is exactly what’s needed. I hope the ability to add more devices is coming soon.


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