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

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Thu Jan 13 11:37:07 UTC 2011

I agree with all you have said - I also agree that bringing science into the
Internet age is the most important thing.

On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 4:16 PM, Lance McKee <lmckee at opengeospatial.org>wrote:

> 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*.

I hope this is true. One of the aspects of geo-* is that it is required by
many other sciences and so there are multidisciplinary interests which
provide and urgency. As you point out we need to consider money - data is
not a costless operation - and in geo- there are many aspects of human
infrastructure which rely on geo- 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)<http://www.geoconnexion.com/uploads/geo_rights_intv7i5.pdf%29> 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.
> The problem is that every science is different (I'm simplifying them into
distinct areas but of course they overlap). They have different amounts of
history, practice, money-generation, regulation, etc. I like the spectrum of
categories you have such as "emergency". In the future I think we shall work
towards such a model for many disciplines.

"data" is not a simple or uniform concept.

Where it is possible to create organizations which are Open, non-profit (in
reality as well as name) which are distinct from practice , it can work.
Where the potential metadata creation is managed by a data provider which
thinks in a capitalist monopolist manner then the system is broken and
locked into dysfunction for decades. That's the case in chemistry - my own
subject - where there is no central community activity for metadata (there's
one small effort on identifiers) and where the major agggregators of data
see this as a monopolistic advantage. This holds in many scientific
subdomains and the primary challenge is to free this. It is unlikely to
happen through the process of managed consortia and workshops (there *are*
some slight indicators in chemistry, but I'm not optimistic).

Therefore we have to creatre an alterantive Open economy of data and
metadata. This is not easy as both of these may be attacked (without
justification but with corporate power). This is what Open Streetmap did -
they liberated much geo- data with 2-3 years. They same can happen
elsewhere, especially where government and non-profit depends on

That's why I see the OKF and related orgs as having a bottom-up role in
changing the world. Even if the first version is imperfect it change
people's attitudes. It hopefully changes the ideas of the large knowledge
corporates (though I'm an idealist).

So every power to OGC. I wish the model worked in every scientific
discipline. Unfortunately it doesn't.

So we are building Open Scholarship - Open Access, Open Bibliography, Open
Citations, Open Data. Some of these in some fields will give early results.
Others will take a decade or more

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