[odc-discuss] version 1.1 of OdBL?

Jo Walsh jo.walsh at ed.ac.uk
Wed Jul 21 10:40:15 UTC 2010

dear Jordan, all,

On 20/07/2010 12:58, Jordan S Hatcher wrote:
> On 16 Jul 2010, at 20:28, Rufus Pollock wrote:
>>> researcher concern is "anyone can take my work, build on it, i  
>>> won't get the
>>> credit and may lose the opportunity to be funded to further develop the
>>> work".
>> I think here we want to distinguish between attribution requirements
>> (provided by both ODC By and ODC ODbL/BySA) and share-alike provided
>> by ODC ODbL/BySA.
> On attribution, I think it is particularly important to highlight
> the  role of norms within the research / academic community. Citation
requirements (such as for journals) and the both written and unwritten
rules around plagiarism all help contribute to people properly
attributing work without the need for a formal legal license (at least
among researchers/academics, which is the primary audience for other

Bear in mind here that the edges between academia and commercial
activity are becoming ever more porous, and research data often has
quite unintended value to non-academics.

For example, digitised historic maps and vectors extracted from them are
used by DEFRA and consultancies working with them to analyse land use change
to help calculate farm subsidy payments. For-pay family history search
services use historic parish records for data mining. Not even getting
into commercial funding of science labs in exchange for novel methods...

I see ways in which this reality deters researchers from opening data -
because if kept proprietary, then licensing income can be a source of
support for further work. What your jobbing researcher desires, is
a) reasonable expectation of funding for further work
b) improvement in the quality of the work and thus better knowledge

If a researcher is going to open license commercially valuable data (and
i struggle to think of any kind of research data that has no potential
commercial value); then commercial entities are very likely to make
improvements to the quality of non-repeatable data; and ShareAlike will
in theory guarantee that b) happens.

As for a) the big metric in the funding system is publication and
citation. Right now this is about journal publications, as you note;
journals as a whole get a score on how much they are cited, each author
has a bibliographic citation pattern which indicates, bluntly, how much
"impact" their research is having, factored by the journal's score and  
the scores of those making the citations.

Changes to the funding system are still up in the air - something called
the Research Excellence Framework which may not happen now.
But whatever emerges will start to emphasise data citation more. This is
another motivator to have data open - so that it is recordably citable
with a mechanism like Semantic Pingback.

The task would be to convince the researcher that the funding gains that
the measurable impact of data re-use and citation would accrue, outweigh
the nearer-term benefits of proprietary licensing of the data.

*Really* hard times, deep cuts, are envisaged for the next 2 to 3 years.
Harder to make the case for the benefits of openness, chicken, egg...


Jo Walsh

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