[open-science] SPARC author addendum uses CC-NC licence and now all hybrid publishers have followed

Nick Barnes nb at climatecode.org
Mon Dec 12 23:48:57 UTC 2011

On Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 18:25, Marcus D. Hanwell
<marcus.hanwell at kitware.com> wrote:
> The open source world has a lot of experience to offer here, and I
> don't know of any OSI approved licenses with non-commercial clauses. I
> hope that the open access community is able to take a similar path, so
> that we can concentrate on the science.

I think Marcus is right, that the software world has experience to
contribute here, so I'd like to say a few words about motivations and
schools of thought in that world.

In free software, there are broadly two schools of thought on this
question of commercial benefit, which may be caricatured as follows
(bearing in mind that there is a wide spectrum of thought and this is
just an illustrative sketch).  Both schools are motivated in
contributing by a desire that their contributions be used - helping
others who help them in return, working collectively working to solve
a shared set of problems - and each school includes many who feel that
commercial benefits should flow, at least in part, back to the
contributors.  The distinction between the schools is in the relative
strength of these motivations.

In school A, the sense of injustice of an unrewarded contribution,
when money made from a creation doesn't flow back to the creator, is
felt more strongly than the urge to contribute.  That is, school A
would rather not contribute than fall victim to such an injustice.

In school B, the sense of benefit from having one's problems solved,
and the inherent pleasure of creativity and of contribution, outweighs
this sense of injustice.  That is, members of school B would rather
that their contributions are used, even if it is to someone else's
commercial benefit with no gain to themselves.

Approximately speaking, school A chooses GPL-like licenses ("viral"
licenses, akin to CC-SA) and school B chooses BSD-like licenses (very
liberal, akin to CC-BY).

Of course, many people - including myself - feel both these
motivations, and others, in varying mixes (and there are other
orthogonal axes of distinction, such as free / open source), and many
people contribute to projects without choosing the license.  I myself
used to choose GPL-like licenses (although usually more terse examples
such as the Sleepycat license), and now greatly prefer to use BSD
licenses for my own works.
Nick Barnes, Climate Code Foundation, http://climatecode.org/

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