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

Heather Morrison Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca
Mon Jan 27 16:06:26 UTC 2014

hi Mark,

The point with respect to the potential for incorrect derivatives has to do with derivatives per se rather than how the derivatives are licensed. Any license that permits derivatives could just as easily permit incorrect derivatives as correct ones. My point is that there are valid scholarly reasons for hesitation about granting blanket permission to create derivatives.


Heather Morrison

On 2014-01-27, at 10:44 AM, Mark MacGillivray <mark at cottagelabs.com<mailto:mark at cottagelabs.com>>

I can't let this particular piece of misinformation slip by. Just as well I have access to this discussion so that I, and others, may correct you.

On 27 Jan 2014 14:49, "Heather Morrison" <Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca<mailto:Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca>> wrote:
> Another reason why I think scholars and funding agencies alike should hesitate before demanding CC-BY is the potential for derivatives to cause harm through the spread of misinformation. My understanding of the study of toxicology is that a common saying, for good reason, is that the difference between a drug and a poison is a dose. Unleashing the creativity involved with automated derivatives may have benefits, but if a doctor is relying on a derivative that inserted a zero in the wrong place, the result could be death. Note that I am not demanding that derivatives be forbidden, rather suggesting that there are substantive reasons for hesitation about requiring that all scholarly works permit derivatives on a blanket basis.

Your argument here has absolutely nothing to do with cc-by, and everything to do with quality of research and the ability to assess and correct it and to make it appropriate for consumption by particular user communities.

You can tell by the fact that your example postulates an incorrect cc-by derivative and implies it is comparable to a non-cc-by but correct derivative. Thus you implicitly assume, and obfuscate from your reader the option to independently judge, that all non-cc-by works can somehow be taken to be correct by virtue of their license condition.

However I could already take a piece of your work, regardless of license condition (and I could pay to access it if necessary), and write my own work with reference to and reliance upon yours. But my own work could be quality, or terrible, or purposeful fraud. I could succeed in publishing my new work under any form of copyright I desire, and in a highly reputable and expensive journal.

My point being, you can spread misinformation as much as you like, regardless of copy rights.

So the choice is, would you rather make it easier or harder for others to access and independently verify your claims?

I would further argue that if particular forms of copy right are capable of imbuing quality as your argument suggests, despite the fact that nowhere do the definitions of any form of copy right make guarantees as to the quality of works to which they are attached, then the very concept of copy right is inappropriate for application to scholarly works.


> Now to explain just how fortunate Bjoern and others in his situation are:
> If your university and research are 100% publicly funded, then I would suggest that this is a special case. I would argue that this should be the norm - I favour fully publicly funded higher education. However, in much of the world this is not the case.
> Some reading:
> Denhart, Chris. Forbes July 2013: how the $1.2 trillion college debt crisis is crippling students, parents and the economy:
> http://www.forbes.com/sites/specialfeatures/2013/08/07/how-the-college-debt-is-crippling-students-parents-and-the-economy/
> Freeman, Sunny, July 2013 Huffington Post Canada: Student Debt Canada: Post-Grads Delay Adult Life, Struggle with Payments, TD says:
> http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/07/24/student-debt-canada-_n_3646153.html
> TD is Toronto Dominion, a very conservative Canadian bank. This is Forbes and TD explaining that student debt is a huge issue.
> In Canada and the US student debt is non-forgivable; it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, no matter what. I argue that we are in effect asking the next generation to take on this burden to "invest" in their education then sign off on trade deals that have the effect of eliminating a large portion of the high-paying jobs for which they were investing. This is why I suggest that students, at least in North America, are in effect subsidizing both universities and taxpayers. For example, in the case of research, there are many grad students taking on a huge debt load some will never recover from in order to do research in the public interest.
> North America is not unique, however. For example, see this article from the Guardian on the desperate situation of universities in Greece:
> Smith, Helena, September 25, 2013. Austerity measures push Greek universities to point of collapse.
> http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/austerity-measures-push-greek-universities-collapse
> Meanwhile, in the UK:
> Malik, Shiv. November 25, 2013. The Guardian. Poorest students face £350m cut in grants.
> http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/nov/22/poorest-students-face-350m-cuts
> The cuts to student funding in the UK are particularly troubling to me in the context of UK's publisher-friendly open access policy. It strikes me that the UK is more concerned with the health of publisher profits than the prospects of the UK's own next generation.
> best,
> --
> Dr. Heather Morrison
> Assistant Professor
> École des sciences de l'information / School of Information Studies
> University of Ottawa
> 613-562-5800 ext. 7634
> http://www.sis.uottawa.ca/faculty/hmorrison.html
> Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca<mailto:Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca>
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