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

Angus Whyte a.whyte at ed.ac.uk
Wed Jan 12 16:15:54 UTC 2011

It may be worth posting on this to the JISC repositories list. The 
argument I've seen put forward by open access advocates there is that 
authors should retain copyright rather than comply with publisher 
requests to hand it over. Even if they could legally give up their moral 
right, are you saying it is in the public interest for researchers to 
give up their right to be attributed?

Angus Whyte

Dr Angus Whyte
Curation Research Officer
Digital Curation Centre
University of Edinburgh
Crichton St, Edinburgh EH8 9LE

On 12/01/2011 15:38, Marius Kempe wrote:
> 1) You said it yourself - "a few dozen lines of code can pull in data 
> from a large number of source, potentially making it tricky to keep 
> track of all the attributions". One day not very far from today, 
> scientific texts will be the raw data of natural language science 
> knowledge engines, and then the situation for text will be exactly the 
> same as that for data. Using CC0 today will make this easier in the 
> future, for all the same reasons that you support CC0 for data.
> 2) Using CC0 simplifies the science IP landscape; it would allow us to 
> tell unconverted scientists to simply use the public domain for all 
> works, rather than a hodgepodge of CC0 for data, CC-BY for PLoS One, 
> CC-BY-NC for Nature's Scientific Reports, etc etc. Much simpler to 
> say: publicly funded science belongs in the public domain.
> Best,
> Marius
> A footnote: Google did not provide snippets of copyrighted books 
> "without much trouble" - they fought a long, protracted legal battle 
> that cost them more than $100 million 
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Book_Search_Settlement_Agreement).
> On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 3:08 PM, Thomas Kluyver <takowl at gmail.com 
> <mailto:takowl at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     I'm having trouble seeing the advantage of CC0 over CC-BY for
>     writing. For data, a few dozen lines of code can pull in data from
>     a large number of sources, potentially making it tricky to keep
>     track of all the attributions. Writing is generally done by
>     humans, so it's hardly onerous to point to sources.
>     The scientific search engine example you give (on Quora) would
>     most likely be exempt under 'fair use' or equivalent provisions,
>     and in any case, I would consider the links it provides to be
>     attribution. After all, Google provides 'snippets' of
>     all-rights-reserved works without much trouble. Even if we can
>     produce software intelligent enough to read free text, and
>     synthesise interesting summaries from it, we'll undoubtedly want
>     links to the originals (would automatic summaries actually
>     infringe copyright?).
>     What could we do if all scientific writing was CC0, that couldn't
>     be done if it was all CC-BY?
>     Thomas
>     On 12 January 2011 13:51, Marius Kempe <m.kempe at qmul.ac.uk
>     <mailto:m.kempe at qmul.ac.uk>> wrote:
>         The other point that I feel is worth making is that many of
>         the reasons that the Panton Principles and Open Biblio give
>         for using the public domain apply equally to scientific texts
>         - why should open scientists advocate a confusing two-tiered
>         system of public domain for data and bibliographic records but
>         copyright licensing for papers and books?
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