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

Lance McKee lmckee at opengeospatial.org
Wed Jan 12 16:16:09 UTC 2011

I think that in the next few years the institutions of science will  
conclude that most data should be published online with metadata and  
that the data should be discoverable, assessable, and *accessible  
according to terms defined in the metadata*. Today we have a narrow  
spectrum of options, but tomorrow we will have a broad spectrum of  
options, as in the attached figure from an article (http://www.geoconnexion.com/uploads/geo_rights_intv7i5.pdf 
) about how standards for Web service-based rights management of  
geospatial data are advancing in the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

I think it's important to consider that two currencies of science are  
involved in the new business models of data curation -- money and  
recognition --- and both need to be managed in a Web services  
transaction environment. This cannot be accomplished without adequate  
Web service interface and encoding standards.

In my opinion, the discussion of CC0 vs public domain is good to have,  
but it is subordinate to the broader discussion of how we bring  
science into the Internet age. The broader discussion is most  
productive if it takes place as a discussion of requirements (the  
"Enterprise View" in the RM-ODP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RM-ODP)  
for technical standards. The standards can't be developed until the  
participants and stakeholder -- commercial and non-commercial -- agree  
on an overall vision. It can be done, as evidenced by the work of  
inclusive, consensus-based open standards development organizations  
like the OGC, W3C, IETF, OASIS and others.


Lance McKee
Senior Staff Writer
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)
+1 508-752-0108
lmckee at opengeospatial.org

The OGC: Making location count.

On Jan 12, 2011, at 10:38 AM, 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>  
> 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> 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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> open-science at lists.okfn.org
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