[open-science] Big and open data – who should bear data transfer costs?

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Sat May 17 13:52:14 UTC 2014

Sorry - I phrased my answer poorly. I did not mean that everyone must pay.
There always should be a basic free-of-charge service. However if people
cannot or do not want to use that then is is reasonable to charge for
making it available in easier-to-use forms.

We have recently found a comparable example in Free/Open software where the
code is distributed as GPL and anyone can download and compile it. However
this is technically difficult for people who don't know how to compile
code. The authors have made compiled versions available for a fee.


On Sat, May 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM, Paweł Szczęsny <ps at pawelszczesny.org>wrote:

> 2014-05-17 13:41 GMT+02:00 Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk>:
> > This point has been raised over the years and personally I think it's
> > reasonable to pay for technical costs involved, but they should be
> > **transparent** and acceptable.
> Indeed this point has been raised many times over the years, but each
> time the idea of a payment for technical infrastructure during
> download was trashed as _unreasonable_, at least when discussion
> concerned research institutions in Europe or US. This is the role of
> funding for research infrastructure (and in some places certain taxes)
> to cover such a cost.
> The other thing is that such a payment is essentially a paywall.
> Technical issues aside (all Emanuil wrote is a very valid point),
> putting open stuff behind an obligatory paywall is a bad move from the
> PR point of view. Think Elsevier requiring payment for OA articles.
> That said, some institutions experiment with a freemium model in this
> area, which looks a bit better. You get the data for free, but if you
> need it fast (fast lane, special protocol, etc.) you need to pay a
> fee.
> Best wishes
> PS

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