Announcing the Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data

December 16th, 2007 by John Wilbanks

Today, in conjunction with the Creative Commons 5th Birthday celebration, Science Commons announces the Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data (“the Protocol”).

The Protocol is a method for ensuring that scientific databases can be legally integrated with one another. The Protocol is built on the public domain status of data in many countries (including the United States) and provides legal certainty to both data deposit and data use. The protocol is not a license or legal tool in itself, but instead a methodology for a) creating such legal tools and b) marking data already in the public domain for machine-assisted discovery.

You can read the Protocol here.

We built the Protocol after a year- long process of meetings and consultations with a broad set of stakeholders, including representatives of the geospatial and biodiversity science communities. We solicited input from international representatives from China, Uganda, Brazil, Japan, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Peru, Belgium, Catalonia and Spain.

We expect to convert this work into a working group with founding members from our existing communities of practice. However, the world is moving very quickly in terms of data production, and as such we created the Protocol as a guide and as a tool to bring together the existing data licensing regimes into a single space.

As part of that decision, Science Commons has worked with data licensing thought leaders and is pleased to announce partnerships with Jordan Hatcher, the lawyer behind the Open Database License; Talis, the company behind the Open Database License process; and the Open Knowledge Foundation, creators of the Open Knowledge Definition.

Jordan has drafted the Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and License – the first legal tool to fully implement the Protocol. It is available at his Web site. This draft is remarkable not just for the Public Domain Dedication but for the encoding of scholarly and scientific norms into a standalone, non-legal document. This is a key element of the Protocol and a major milestone in the fight for Open Access data. Talis, a company with a strong history in the open science data movement, played a key role in birthing Jordan’s work, and we’re pleased to work with them as well.

We are also pleased to announce that the Open Knowledge Foundation has certified the Protocol as conforming to the Open Knowledge Definition. We think it’s important to avoid legal fragmentation at the early stages, and that one way to avoid that fragmentation is to work with the existing thought leaders like the OKF.

We will be launching a wiki for comments on the Protocol soon, and will announce a strategy for versioning the Protocol in 2008.

15 Responses

  1. » Protocol for implementing open access data » business|bytes|genes|molecules, on December 16th, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    […] the 5th anniversary of Creative Commons, Science Commons just announced the Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data (”The Protocol”). Four months ago, I had […]

  2. Open Data Commons » Blog Archive » Licences now available for comment, on December 17th, 2007 at 5:50 am

    […] the protocol here and read the announcement on the Science Commons blog here. The Open Definition is available at […]

  3. Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog » Blog Archive » Good news for open data: Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data, Open Data Commons PDDL and CCZero, on December 17th, 2007 at 10:28 am

    […] night Science Commons announced the release of the Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data: The Protocol is a method for […]

  4. Jayson Falkner, on December 17th, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    I’m excited to see the protocol announcement. We might have joined the efforts more recently than others, but I wanted to add a link to the effort of the Tranche project to implement this protocol.

    The project uses the same P2P techniques that make tools like BitTorrent share data well, but we’ve added in a set of features that are required for hosting and citing peer-reviewed scientific data. We’re pretty popular in the field of Proteomics, and we’re proud to be supporting the Science Commons open access efforts.

  5. Luxcommons » Blog Archive » Plenty of good news, on December 19th, 2007 at 4:14 am

    […] read our press release for more information about how they work and who we’re collaborating with. The announcement of CC0 on the Science Commons […]

  6. Science Commons » Blog Archive » Ensuring the freedom to integrate — why we need an “open data” protocol, on December 20th, 2007 at 9:44 am

    […] 0 (3) « Announcing the Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data […]

  7. Dati liberi « Moto browniano. La verità, vi prego, sul Web 2.0, on December 20th, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    […] 20Dec07 Pochi giorni fa il progetto Science Commons, costola di Creative Commons, ha lanciato il “Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data”, protocollo che dovrebbe consentire di integrare legalmente tra di loro dati e database di natura […]

  8. Alexander Portnov, on December 24th, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    This protocol is good news for all people interested in open access.

  9. Great post on GeoData licensing « Into The Pudding, on January 11th, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    […] since I had the same reaction as many OSM community members to the news of Creative Commons’ recently published “protocol” on open access data – it’s great for scientists, but doesn’t help much […]

  10. Lance Irby, on April 1st, 2008 at 9:51 am

    congratulations! the very first living open data access methodology encoding scholarly and scientific norms in a non-legal document.

  11. Lance Irby, on June 23rd, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Jayson thanks for the proteome link, the collaborations links are very good:


    Lance Irby

  12. Ares Vista, on June 1st, 2009 at 11:37 am

    This protocol is great news! I can’t wait to see the effect of this on the scientific community. Thanks for letting us know!

  13. Sydney, on September 19th, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Great information. Im happy I cam across this. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Barbara28, on October 10th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Both of these examples illustrate how librarians are not just adding new software but tweaking it to improve the experience for their users. ,

  15. Edward Lane, on October 10th, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking your feeds too now, Thanks.