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Ensuring the freedom to integrate — why we need an “open data” protocol

December 20th, 2007 by dwentworth

It’s only been a few days since we announced the release of the Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data, and we’re thrilled to see so many people posting responses. The protocol is a guide for people and organizations that want to “mark” their scientific data as open — free to use without restrictions. It was developed collaboratively — an inspiring sign of the momentum that’s been building behind developing common ways to open and integrate scientific databases around the world.

One of the great things about being part of the open science community is that we can work together to help more people understand why the “freedom to integrate” matters. Here are a few excerpts from excellent posts that do just that:

Richard Wallis @ Talis, on the problem the protocol aims to solve: “There is plenty of data out there, but it is often trapped in silos or hidden behind logins, subscriptions, or just plain difficult to get hold of. There again you can also find some data ‘just out-there’ — *can I use it, whose is it, will it stay there, will I be sued for using it, if I start depending on it, will I suddenly have to start paying* — all questions that come to mind.”

Eric Kansa, Society for American Archaeology, Digital Data Interest Group (DDIG), on the legal issues: “Data sources are…highly global, and therefore subject to all sorts of legal jurisdictions and rules…The solution that Science Commons advocates is to essentially move all open science data repositories to a common legal baseline, which is basically the public domain. [Following the protocol, scientific] data repositories that want to be ‘open’ [could] shape their terms of use, copyright, and other policies so their content is essentially public domain and freely remixable with other resources…Comment: Wow!

Glyn Moody, UK journalist and author, on the real-world implications: “The solution is at once obvious and radical…It is this pragmatism, rooted in how science actually works, that makes the current protocol particularly important: It might actually be useful.”

Deepak Singh, co-founder of Bioscreencast, on what the protocol could mean for science: “I consider just the announcement to be a monumental moment. Will it change how scientific information is shared and disseminated? I don’t know. But my hope has always been that Science Commons would lead the way.”

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read the protocol, ask questions and help spread the word. For those of you who would like to learn more about the origins of the protocol and the two new licenses that represent its first implementations — the ODC PDDL and CC Zero — here are a few additonal links you might want to check out:

2 Responses

  1. Science Commons » Blog Archive » Voices from the future of science, on April 2nd, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    [...] more open research coming online, the freedom to integrate information from disparate sources, and the ability to use computers to sort through and make sense [...]

  2. Open Access Data « CSU-Pueblo Library, on June 13th, 2008 at 9:15 am

    [...] But how about the data sets that scientists generate as part of their research? Could this data be shared to further collaborative research efforts? I ran across this blog today and learned something new and exciting about Open Access Data. http://sciencecommons.org/weblog/archives/2007/12/20/ensuring-the-freedom-to-integrate/ [...]