[open-science] Openness and Licensing of (Open) Data

Andy Powell andy.powell at eduserv.org.uk
Fri Feb 6 11:45:54 GMT 2009

> > It's an issue of control - if researchers feel they have 
> ownership of 
> > this protocol/standard then there will be fewer barriers to 
> adoption. 
> > If there is a perception that the protocol is "owned"
> > by lawyers, which is what I believe will happen if it is called a 
> > license, then there will be very strong resistance.
> So much as hint to a scientist that a lawyer might "take 
> their work away" and you have a fight on your hands.  Doesn't 
> matter if the perception is not accurate; it's very common 
> (I'd say almost universal) and likely to be very difficult to change.

Interesting (to me at least!) that the concern that "a lawyer might
'take their work away'" doesn't appear to have been a problem in the
adoption of open licences for software?  Are scientists significantly
more wary of lawyers than programmers?  I suppose the difference is that
software space was already burdened with heavily protective licences and
that the introduction of open licences was perceived as a step in the
right direction, at least by those who like that kind of thing.

Similarly, in the cultural heritage space, it seems to me that any
slowness to move towards openness of digitised artifacts (for example)
is not caused by a concern that CC is codified as a set of 'licences' or
that lawyers might have been involved in their creation, rather with
more fundamental concerns about the impact of being 'open' on business
models and the like.

Research Programme Director, Eduserv
andy.powell at eduserv.org.uk
+44 (0)1225 474319

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