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

P Kishor punk.kish at gmail.com
Sat May 17 14:13:33 UTC 2014

I don't think there is a canonical answer (yet). Fwiw, the GEOSS Data
Sharing Principles state that

> All shared data, metadata and products will be made available
> with minimum time delay and at minimum cost;

> All shared data, metadata and products being free of charge
> or no more than cost of reproduction will be encouraged for
> research and education.

Here in the US the federal govt. allows recouping the cost of reproduction.
There is an apocryphal story about some nut job who wanted a printed copy
of *all* the climate data from the National Climate Data Center. Legally
obligated to comply with his request, they informed him that he would have
to pay for a few hundred truckloads of 8.5"x11" sheets of paper before they
could run his print job, and that was enough to make him back off.

I can imagine a variation on the above principle -- any cost above and
beyond the cost of maintaining and serving data that has already been
budgeted for should be paid by the requestor, and so on.

On Sat, May 17, 2014 at 5:33 AM, 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
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Puneet Kishor
Manager, Science and Data Policy
Creative Commons
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