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

Carl Boettiger cboettig at gmail.com
Tue Dec 13 00:09:17 UTC 2011

Thanks all for this excellent discussion.  A few questions:

I think that explanation does a nice job of distinguishing potential
motivations from an author's perspective, though it is not entirely
clear if it extends to the publisher.   If I understood correctly, you
are asserting the groups do not differ in their personal expected
economic benefit, but only in the expected financial benefit their
work might have to others?   I'd like to be convinced that motivation
Marcus outlines in scenario A with the GPL is indeed the motivation of
the publisher to choose NC. (since economically it only makes sense in
a zero-sum game).   Do we agree that publishers cannot profit directly
by having NC and do it only out of the sense of injustice Marcus

The other interesting issue you (and several others) raise is the
parallel between share-alike and non-commercial.  Creative Commons
explicitly differentiates between these (and adds a no-derivatives
option to boot), & Wikipedia uses the share alike clause.  While I
understand how they are legally different things, it seems we have a
provocative and convincing argument that they NC, SA, and ND are
effectively equivalent.  If not, how would you modify Marcus's
statement to reflect the analogy between SA-based software and
NC-based publications?


On Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 3:48 PM, Nick Barnes <nb at climatecode.org> wrote:
> 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/
> _______________________________________________
> open-science mailing list
> open-science at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-science

Carl Boettiger
UC Davis

More information about the open-science mailing list