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

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Wed Jan 12 18:30:15 UTC 2011

On 12 January 2011 13:51, Marius Kempe <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?

[Only just catching up with this thread]

It's important to remember that the Panton Principles specifically
cite centrality of reuse and the *publicly funded* nature of work as a
reason for the PD-only approach. I should also point out that PP first
and foremost advocate 'open' data (as in http://opendefinition.org/)
with the PD recommendation being a further recommendation on top of
that. At least IMO (and I'm more of a social scientist than a
scientist) I really don't see much issue with Attribution in the
scientific area for data or publication.

As I wrote in a follow in a post last year:

The Open Knowledge Foundation’s general position is one of supporting
open data where “open” data includes data made available under
licenses with attribution and share-alike clauses, though
non-commercial restrictions are definitely not permitted (see
http://www.opendefinition.org/ for precise details). The reason for
excluding non-commercial is simple: share-alike is compatible with a
commons open to everyone but non-commercial is not.

Panton Principles 1-3 are, in essence, saying make data “open” in the
sense of http://www.opendefinition.org/. Principle 4 goes beyond this
to specifically recommend public-domain only for data related to
published science, especially where the work is publicly funded.

The rationale for this “stronger” position, at least for me, was that
a) science has existing (very) strong norms for attribution (and, to a
lesser extent, share-alike) b) science has strong up-front funding
support from society which reduces some of the risks that share-alike

That said, I should emphasize that, in my view at least, the key
feature is that the data be made open — public domain
dedication/licensing is “strongly recommended” but if you end up with
an attribution or even share-alike type license that is still far, far
better than not making the data available at all, or licensing it
under non-commercial or other conditions.



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