My editor is giving me the option to choose between:

  • The Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)
  • The Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivative Works 4.0 International License (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0).

to publish my article in their journal.

If I understand it, the basic difference between the two is that the first one allows for commercial use of the content of my paper from third parties.

Would the first one be less restrictive in terms of citations to my article? What is the most common option for research articles?

  • 3
    The most common open license for research articles is CC-BY, and there are good reasons for it. See also this answer. – Anyon Jan 22 '19 at 0:06

No license nor lack of a license will permit/allow people to cite your work. Citation isn't affected by copyright or by the license of rights. Not even patent holders can prevent citation. People can cite your work whether it has a permissive or a restrictive or no license at all.

License is a distinct issue that determines what people can do with your work other than writing about it. For example, can your work be incorporated in whole or in part in the work of another? Can it be so incorporated into a work for sale? Can someone take your work and extend it, while including your work within their own? These are the sorts of questions addressed by license.

I've often used an NC (no, commercial) license, but never an ND (no derivations) license. They aren't at all the same. An ND license seems odd to me for scientific publications. But always insist on BY, or you are coming pretty close to putting your work in the public domain (which some wish to do, of course).

But notice, that the various licenses of CC and others depend on you retaining copyright. Otherwise you have no rights to license. If you are transferring your copyright to a journal, then it is up to them to license in, not you. In that case, perhaps they are just letting you suggest what you think is the best course for the work. But only a copyright holder can license copy-rights.

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