Community discussions

The Open Biblio core team are a small bunch, but there’s a wealth of people out there providing information and suggestions to make our work better and more widely known. The List is a key way for people to post ideas, so here’s a round-up of some posts made over the last couple of weeks as food for thought:

Sebastian Nordhoff updated us on his efforts towards bibliographical data for the world’s lesser known languages, Langdoc. This brought into sharp relief the ever-pressing issues surrounding publishing licences, as the collections here are CC-BY-NC. Sebastian supports the Open Biblio principles, which explain data should be released as CC-0, but explained that some data has sensitive issues associated with the languages involved. Sebastian followed the discussion with this post which explains the release in more detail.

The complex issue of orphan data was raised by Karen Coyle. An organisation that hosts – but did not create – bibliographic data she wished to use declined to release the data under PDDL / CC0, because there is no specified ‘owner’ of the bibliographic records and they do not consider themselves to have rights to grant any license. Suggested solutions included claiming ownership to allow any original owner to come forward, or using or other facilities to store and release the data. Mark MacGillivray cautioned that finding work-arounds, “…Promote[s] the idea that things found… on the internet with no claims attached to them are not freely available. Promoting such a default stance would do nothing except promote the interests of people who want to own everything”, which somewhat goes against the idea that things should be open by default; Adrian Pohl agreed, citing Public Domain Mark 1.0 as a way of declaring, ‘This already is public domain because no one has rights over this data and thus no one can license it’. The ever pragmatic Peter Murray-Rust declared, “The risk [of being sued] is less than being hit by an asteroid. Go ahead”. The issue of ‘owner-less’ data rumbles on and Karen made the pertinent point that, “As more and more data (and metadata) comes onto the web we will have more of these situations” and that there should be a way for the holder of a piece of information to declare he/she claims no rights, not even physical ownership rights, over the data once leaves his/her database.

Mark circulated the news that Research Councils UK is considering changing its open access policies, to mandate that all RCUK-funded papers be made freely available six months after publication. Although the draft says that research council funding may be used to support payment of authors’ fees in open access publishing, it does not go as far as the Wellcome Trust’s policy which extends to paying to publish even when a grant is used up… But it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Roderic Page pondered the difficulty of differing languages within the same article (as opposed to a translation of the article, which is a different record), which goes back to the crux of simplicity vs complexity as explored by the dev team and discussed here.

All this and more is available on the List here where you can sign up to be part of the discussions as well as peruse the archives.

Profile photo of Naomi Lillie

About Naomi Lillie

Naomi has been working for Open Knowledge since 2011 and is based in the UK. She supports operations, projects, staff and the community network.
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