[Open-access] NISO Recommendations on Open Access Metadata

Mike Taylor mike at indexdata.com
Tue Jan 7 10:01:26 UTC 2014

On 7 January 2014 09:53, Cameron Neylon <cn at cameronneylon.net> wrote:
>> But it seems terribly weak not to encode the specific bits of the CC
>> licences, which are nearly always what people want to express and
>> search for, even when an actual CC licence is not used. This
>> specification really needs elements like...
> We went around the loop on this a lot.
> The reason for not doing this is two-fold.
> The first was that any such element could easily be inconsistent with the actual license. So if the license_ref link is to CC BY but someone encodes non-derivative in metadata which do you believe? And inconsistency is already a problem as Daniel repeatedly tweaks us about (with good cause!). So avoiding the risk of adding to that is important.

I acknowledge this point. However ...

Without this, the specification is essentially useless. It's not
machine-readable metadata in any but the thinnest, most legalistic
sense. The specification boils down to "here's a URL to a licence
text, get your lawyer to download it and look it over". I can't do
anything with that.

> The way we did suggest to deal with it in follow on work is a set of best practice recommendations that licenses for scholarly work should handle a specific set of issues - that is there are a set of standard-ish rights that all licenses should deal with. Then in the longer term we could build a registry that would map licenses to standardised rights sets. But this is a huge job because it requires all stakeholders agreeing on what "commercial" use means and what a "derivative" is.

Yes. A huge job that will either never happen, or be ready to use in
ten years, by which point this specification will have been left in
the dust by whatever pragmatic solutions wins out when the standard
turns out not to meet the actual need.

> The other reason something like this wouldn't fly was the purely political one. Some organisations don't like CC licenses and anything that looks like "privileging" them was never going to work. My feeling was that in the end people will use work with CC licenses and simply won't use work with non-standard licenses because its too hard to figure out.

This is the problem with standards organisations, of course. It's why
nearly all the truly useful standards are ones invented by a single
organisation that's out to actually get something done, and only
subsequently adopted by a standards body.

> The basic point was to find something that could both be agreed and be useful. I'm certainly not saying it solves all the problems and it doesn't simplify some things as much as it might but its a step forward - and just as importantly it isn't a step back, which it could have been.

Really? "Not a step back" is the level of our aspirations now?

-- Mike.

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