Springer (in survey) doesn't know data can't be licensed, no CC0

  • Lisa Neidert's picture

    Author: Lisa Neidert

    Date: 14 Jun, 2016

    I'm not sure I understand this.
    Data can be licensed. There are all sorts of licenses for data that have
    potentially identifiable information - census tract, latitude/longitude
    coordinates, exact dates of events, etc.
    The conditions of these licenses are typically (a) no redistribution; (b)
    no re-identification; (c) return/destroy at end of license period.

  • Wenbo Chu's picture

    Author: Wenbo Chu

    Date: 14 Jun, 2016

    This is an interesting finding.
    Open licences have not gone as far as we imagined.

  • Herman Stehouwer's picture

    Author: Herman Stehouwer

    Date: 14 Jun, 2016

    Dear all,
    I normally don't respond, but in this case: it is Springer. CC0 is not
    in their interests.

  • Puneet Kishor's picture

    Author: Puneet Kishor

    Date: 14 Jun, 2016

    I don’t understand this either. That tweet itself is confusing at best and misleading at worst. Giving Jonathan the benefit of doubt (he is a very, very smart person), I will assume there is stuff that we don’t know, like who administered that survey, who answered the survey, what was the context of it, was it specific to a certain dataset, etc.
    There are kernels of truth in the assertions that both Gail and Lisa are making. Data can certainly be licensed. Anything can be licensed. The sole of my shoe can be licensed, the day-old stubble on my face can be licensed. But it is the basis of the license, and whether or not that license is worth respecting or enforceable that matter.
    *If* there is creativity in the data, I can use a *copyright* license. If there is no or very low creativity, then a copyright license may not be used. Of course, if I am an idiot or a just a pain-in-the-ass-person, I can still slap a copyright license on data even if there is no creativity, and doing so hampers the useful progress of my science or art, but hey, there is no copyright on stupidity. And, therein lies the problem with this whole focus and obsession with copyright when it comes to science. It elevates to a level of importance something that shouldn’t be elevated in the first place. It makes a lawyer out of the least qualified of us and makes us all stupid. See the “Wouldn’t” portion of “Shouldn’t, Wouldn’t, Couldn’t” (http://punkish.org/Shouldn't-Wouldn't-Couldn't). And then there are other non-copyright licenses that only muck up the matter.
    But I digress, so back to Springer. Springer owns BioMed Central, and BMC were one of the first adopters of both CC BY for articles and CC0 for data, and I wrote a blog post on that (https://blog.creativecommons.org/2013/12/18/biomed-central-moves-to-cc-b...). I realize that this is weird, but BMC is very supportive of the OA movement, and have been a first-mover even though they are owned by someone who is owned by someone who is owned by someone who is inscrutable.
    The only moral of the story is that tweets are very bad data points for valid conclusions.

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