[open-science] [Open-access] Open Science Anthology published

Emanuil Tolev emanuil at cottagelabs.com
Mon Jan 20 13:01:56 UTC 2014

I've got nothing to add to Mark's description of Cottage Labs. I'm a
software developer, not a currently active scholar. I'd rather that all
scholars and the public could access each other's work. I'd also like to
see good business and not-for-profit initiatives building on top of that
work and making it even easier to access, relate, analyse and derive value
from (and drive research forward). I want all the text, all the data and
all the metadata open (as per the Open Definition ideally) so that this
kind of innovation can develop, coming both from scholars themselves and
others who wish to help scholarship.

The GPL is a great example. The GPL is copyleft, i.e. -SA. Turned out,
though, that companies can't always share all their code for competitive
"Amazing! Sharing is forever encouraged and *required*!", said those who
liked GPL.
"Err..", said the software developer who received tens of requests for dual
licensing from companies wanting to use his GPL code in great commercial
applications that he would have allowed without asking. They couldn't
open-source their core products though.
"I just wanted to share my code and I was told this is how you do open
source by a friend. I don't really want to deal with all this admin work.
Rejecting them all is bad too, I like some of them a lot. Maybe I need to
change my license."

HypotheticalSoftwareProject changelog:
Most recent version:
- Now dual-licensed under MIT ( http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT ) and GPL

"Hm, we don't like this. You should have just left them in the mud if they
wouldn't share their enhancements to the code." - said supporters of the
"Well, actually they did share some *other* code and other stuff, because
they felt compelled to and it has so many benefits, like attracting
talented developers. Also it got really bad really quickly - I never
realised other open source projects would be prevented from using my code
and now I'm really angry!"
- "Huh? How come?", asked the GPL supporters.
- "Well if they've picked MIT to be commercially friendly or because they
didn't care about forcing sharing, they can't use the GPL. It's copyleft,
remember? They have to release a GPL version of their code if they use any
of mine! I never meant to force other developers to pick a license for
their work!"
- "Well, they should make this little bit of effort and join the true
sharing community and make sure their work is forever shareable.", retorted
GPL supporters.
- "I'm angry now I'm even spending time on this issue. I wanted to code and
share my code. And discuss this with others. Not discuss licenses. I am no
longer participating in this discussion."

HypotheticalSoftwareProject changelog:
Most recent version:
- No longer licensed under the GPL. If you want to use the GPL code for
some odd reason, go back to the version which had it. Beware, no support of
any kind will be offered for old versions. Use the latest version to report
any problems or bugs.

And so, except in some exceptional cases, nowadays the majority of open
source code is not GPL, but one of the other ones listed here under Popular
Licenses: http://opensource.org/licenses , all created to serve different
needs, but none containing blanket restrictions like -NC and -SA. (There
are still quite a few GPL projects.)

Obviously papers are not code and one wouldn't necessarily mix & match text
from papers to produce new papers. However, the lessons learned from trying
to apply downstream restrictions still hold true. (And besides, who am I to
say there isn't a truly good and innovative idea to be had in mix &
matching scholarly papers.) Newly minted software developers like me
usually know this: Do. not. restrict. usage. of. your. open. source. code.
without exceedingly good narrow reasons forced by a very specific situation
on you. You will end up hurting causes and projects you like, and will not
stop those who only wish to take and not contribute back.

I feel that there's such a big push for CC-BY because people are concerned
about fragmenting the scholarly sector in superficial legal ways. The
cracks take a lot of time and frustration to close, and we'll end up
consolidating anyway, because the benefits of consolidation so greatly
outweigh the negatives in practice. If we don't flock towards one (any one)
license or a small group, look what happens:
http://opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical . This situation is frustrating
- how can I tell if any 2 or 3 licenses are compatible? What if I'm given
the task of combining materials licensed under 2 or 3 of them? I'm not a
lawyer, I don't know! So I just won't perform the task.
Or if it's critical, I will combine the materials and ignore the licensing.
I have no other choice. I've no time to deal with this!

I'd really rather that this situation does not repeat from the software
sector into the scholarly sector.

I'm definitely against forcing a license on people. However, I don't
consider it necessary to pick a different license to what everybody else
has picked if that serves my needs too. CC-BY seems to serve scholars'
needs (I'm not one, hence "seems").


> On 20 January 2014 00:24, Heather Morrison <Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca>wrote:
>>  Thank you for the clarification, Mark, this is most helpful. It strikes
>> me that you are talking about coding and open source. This is very
>> different from open access to scholarly journal articles and monographs,
>> and the questions around copyright and licensing are very different as well.
>>  Wouldn't the GNU public license be more appropriate here than any of
>> the CC licenses?
>>  best,
>>  Heather Morrison
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