[open-science] Share Alike? Or not?

Matthew Todd matthew.todd at sydney.edu.au
Thu Jun 14 12:00:07 UTC 2012

Hello everyone,

Another licence question. Our open science projects on The Synaptic Leap
are covered by a creative commons licence - currently a slightly
out-of-date CC-BY-2.5.

The open source drug discovery for malaria project (taking place on the
same site, but also elsewhere) is generically covered by CC-BY-3.0


We need to deal with the various inconsistencies, and since we're writing
up the first paper on the malaria work we need to firm up the overall
licence. This brought up the following fact: I don't know whether we should
be Share Alike or not.

My feeling is that anyone should be able to use whatever we do, provided
there is attribution. To be honest our desire for attribution is mainly
about insisting on good practice - don't use something without quoting the
source. Partly it's about wanting to try to recruit more people to a
unified project.

However, there's a question about whether we ought to be insisting on Share
Alike. I need clarification on the following from knowledgeable people:

The Share Alike licence we'd use (
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) includes the following
phrase: "If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may
distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to
this one"

The key word is "distribute", meaning that under the terms of that licence
it would be possible for a company to take the results from our malaria
work, internalise those results and use them to make money via a patent,
correct? Since that process does not involve "distributing" anything?

Is that correct? I am keen not to bar commercial spin-offs from our work. I
am keen to avoid licences that might make companies wary. Naturally those
spin-offs should not restrict what we are doing in any way.

By NOT using share-alike, are we exposing ourselves to some difficult
situation we've not predicted?



MATTHEW TODD | Senior Lecturer and Honours Coordinator
School of Chemistry | Faculty of Science

Rm 519, F11 | The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006
T +61 2 9351 2180  | F +61 2 9351 3329  | M +61 415 274104
E matthew.todd at sydney.edu.au  | W

This email plus any attachments to it are confidential. Any unauthorised
use is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please
delete it and any attachments.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/open-science/attachments/20120614/c7c6a33a/attachment.html>

More information about the open-science mailing list