[odc-discuss] Open licensing for reference data

Jordan S Hatcher jordan at opencontentlawyer.com
Fri Nov 12 17:23:49 UTC 2010

On 8 Nov 2010, at 23:24, George Moody wrote:

> I'm curious to know if there is an interest in an ODC-BY or ODbL variant that
> omits the "free to adapt" provision.  Such a license would permit data to be
> redistributed freely in unmodified form, but not in modified form unless it is
> clear that modifications have been made.
> Some of our freely available data sets have been in use for 20 to 30 years, and
> there is a large literature of published analyses of them that makes them
> particularly valuable.  It's critically important, though, that any researcher
> who uses them should know that he or she has a complete and unaltered copy of
> the data that were used in previous studies, and not a version that has been
> modified, augmented, or abridged.  Otherwise, their analyses are not comparable
> and others may not be able to reproduce them.

Can't this be solved technically, as MJ suggests, by referencing the original database and by allowing people to make their own comparisons?

Also, as a practical matter won't the academic norms of citation and attribution provides lots of practical protection?  As in reputable researchers wouldn't use datasets that they had altered without letting people know?

And if the original dataset is published, can't people do something along the lines of a diff between the two datasets or hashes (as suggested) to catch the disreputable users?


Mr. Jordan S Hatcher, JD, LLM

More at: <http://www.jordanhatcher.com>
Co-founder:  <http://www.opendatacommons.org>
Open Knowledge: <http://www.okfn.org/>

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