[okfn-discuss] [BlueObelisk-discuss] Database Licensing question

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Thu Feb 24 16:02:15 UTC 2011

many thanks for this - it should be a valuable resource.

I have copied in my colleagues at OKFN (who created the Open definiiton) and
they should be able to help. I add my personal views below

On Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 3:32 PM, Steffen Neumann <sneumann at ipb-halle.de>wrote:

> Hi,
> I am looking for suggestions for licenses for MassBank.
> www.massbank.jp (and msbi.ipb-halle.de/MassBank) is a federated database
> of mass spectra from various contributors. We don't require
> any contributor agreements, and simply collect what we're given.
> Currently, neither the database as a whole nor individual records
> have a license statement, which I'd like to remedy asap.
> Each contributor might have some opinion about licenses
> for his/her own records, so I'd like to not impose anything,
> rather suggest one (or few) plausible options.
> I agree that you should do "best endeavour" to discover the past
contributors.  However I think you will find it almost impossible to have
different licences within tyhe DB. I'd try to get agreement that "everyone"
agrees that they should use licence XYZ for the data and database.

> I read enough on the web to pull my initial idea to go
> with something like CC-*, and now intend to suggest
> one of four listed on http://www.opendefinition.org/licenses/#Data
This is the right place to go to :-)

> My questions:
> 1) Currently I aim to have a license field added to
>   each individual record, or would it be necessary/desirable
>   to have a license for the database as a whole ?
> My personal opinion is that microlicensing like this solves very little and
can cause problems. 2) If we license each record, is it feasible to have

  under (say) four different licenses in a single database ?
>   We could e.g. provide batch downloads for all records
>   with the same license.
> Comments ?
> What we have done on Crystaleye (http://wwmm.ch.cam.ac.uk/crystaleye) is
to state that all data are governed by PDDL and then to add OPEN-DATA labels
to each item. (The labelling is not yet complete!) This alerts the community
to the existence of Open Data as a concept.


> Steffen
> --
> IPB Halle                    AG Massenspektrometrie & Bioinformatik
> Dr. Steffen Neumann          http://www.IPB-Halle.DE
> Weinberg 3                   http://msbi.bic-gh.de
> 06120 Halle                  Tel. +49 (0) 345 5582 - 1470
>                                  +49 (0) 345 5582 - 0
> sneumann(at)IPB-Halle.DE     Fax. +49 (0) 345 5582 - 1409
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Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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