[open-science] Fwd: Should scientific text be put in the public domain rather than licensed with CC-BY?

Marius Kempe m.kempe at qmul.ac.uk
Wed Jan 12 13:44:03 UTC 2011

Peter Murray-Rust sent me this message, which has an interesting point that
I had not considered - that licenses serve mainly to incentivize publishing
organizations to share science in an acceptable way. I think this
is debatable however; Green Open Access may rise, for example, as well
online self-publishing, blogs, etc. Moreover, CC0 brings so much clarity to
the scientific re-use process at so little cost (a blurb and a link) that it
seems a shame not to use it.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 8:29 AM
Subject: Re: [open-science] Should scientific text be put in the public
domain rather than licensed with CC-BY?
To: Marius Kempe <m.kempe at qmul.ac.uk>

I tried to post an answer to the blog but couldn't - feel free to add it:

+1 for promoting CC-BY. There are two cases:
* the community functions (or wishes to function) as a community. Many
subdisciplines work like this. Norms are far more important than legal
contracts (which is what CC is). Breaking norms can lead to public
criticism, termination of funding and more.
* the community is dysfunctional and purely competitive (there are many of
these). They won't be bothered by CC-anything - they won't do it.
CC-* is a legal contract whose main current function is to require third
parties (mainly primary and secondary publishers) to honour the wishes of
the authors. It is regrettable that we even have to do this - it's because
many publishers are working for their own self interest anjd not the
community. Publishers, being leagl entiaties, cannot afford to openly break
the law. CC-* is a blunt, but not completely ineffective instrument to
prevent the digital gold rush.
In short - do not use CC-* to try to influence the behaviour of other
scientists. It wasn't designed for that


On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 1:12 AM, Marius Kempe <m.kempe at qmul.ac.uk> wrote:

> Dear All,
> I've started a question on Quora to discuss the topic of whether scientific
> texts (rather than data) should be put into the public domain rather than
> licensed under CC-BY, as it seems an important issue which hasn't been
> extensively discussed. The discussion is at
> http://www.quora.com/Should-scientific-writing-be-put-into-the-public-domain -
> I'd be grateful for any thoughts, particularly from people with legal
> backgrounds.
> Best wishes,
> Marius
> _______________________________________________
> open-science mailing list
> open-science at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-science

Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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