[Open-access] [open-science] Open Science Anthology published

Heather Morrison Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca
Sun Jan 19 15:49:20 UTC 2014

There are different perspectives in whether open access must include blanket pre-approval of commercial re-use rights downstream. Of the fully open access journals listed in DOAJ, for example, many do not use CC licenses at all and many that do use NC. Scholars who do use CC-BY licenses sometimes complain when they see people selling their work downstream. I argue for a broader understanding of open access modelled after Suber's short definition, along the lines of "open access works are digital, online, free of charge to the reader and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions". It is premature and a distraction to focus on particular licenses or licensing elements. Meaningful technical manipulation and re-use is best pursued thorough technical approaches, such as best  practices for formats and consistent metadata. What has made the development and rapid spread of transit applications is a consistent standard for common standard-related information such as bus number, bus stop, scheduling. If every city follows a pattern and releases the data openly then apps can develop and spread quickly. A focus on licensing would not achieve this effect.

Analysis of this example may be useful to highlight why more thought is needed on the question of licensing. Many would agree (including me, for this example), that prohibiting commercial use would stifle development and be largely counter-productive. On the other hand, with no restrictions on re-use, one future possibility is a scenario where everyone has to pay for transit information that is now free. That is, if people use commercial apps and not government services, governments may not continue to develop public services. This may be just fine if the commercial sector provides awesome service, for free, on an ongoing basis. However, one of the potential pitfalls of open licensing we should be paying more attention to is that "no downstream restrictions" includes "no downstream restrictions on paywalls".

In summary, the view that open access can be usefully narrowly defined through legal terms is the view of a subset of the open access community.


Heather Morrison

On Jan 19, 2014, at 7:36 AM, "Emanuil Tolev" <emanuil at cottagelabs.com<mailto:emanuil at cottagelabs.com>> wrote:

Discrimination based on field of endeavour I thought was the problem.

Even if some copyright exceptions allow use in situations in which the license didn't *intend* to allow such use, the license still discriminates based on the type of activity ("field of endeavour") - doesn't allow commercial use.

The legal ability to use something for commercial reasons and being told not to by the license are two separate things, though obviously related. Being told not to by the license makes it a non-open license according to OKD.

This isn't to say non-commercial licenses are evil in all situations, I can't pass that judgement. But if you use a non-commercial clause, you certainly can't call the thing "open access" - it's accessible to some part of the population, but it is not "open". Like this anthology (which by the way looks like it's quite nice).


On Sunday, 19 January 2014, Pal Lykkja <lykkja at gmail.com<mailto:lykkja at gmail.com>> wrote:
What is the problem with CC-NC if it will be possible to reuse like TDM throught copyright exceptions that EU are working for?

Pål Lykkja

On Sat, Jan 18, 2014 at 8:45 PM, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk<javascript:_e({},%20'cvml',%20'pm286 at cam.ac.uk');>> wrote:
Sounds useful.

One comment. CC-NC is not Open Access under BOAI- and OKD- definitions. I'd urge you to make the book CC-BY. If there are reasons that you can't do this, please drop the term "Open Access" and call it "free-of-charge". CC-NC forbids many forms of redistribution and re-use

On Sat, Jan 18, 2014 at 7:40 PM, Ulrich Herb <u.herb at scinoptica.com<javascript:_e({},%20'cvml',%20'u.herb at scinoptica.com');>> wrote:
Dear lists,

perhaps this might be of interest: Yesterday an anthology on Open Science was published: "Opening Science - The Evolving Guide on How the Internet is Changing Research, Collaboration and Scholarly Publishing". It has been edited by Sönke Bartling from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg and  Sascha Friesike, researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute in Berlin. The anthology knows four manifestations: it is available as a printed book,  as an Open Access e-Book or PDF collection under a CC BY-NC license, and as an editable living document via Github. for further information please visit:

Best regards

Ulrich Herb

scinoptica science consulting and publishing consulting
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Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge

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