Archive for July, 2008
PMR: I hope that this message finds its way to the policy makers in academia as they have the power and the responsibility to act. In many cases the academic staff are unable to find the information they want or to allow it to reach those that they would hope to collaborate with. Not only are there patent and copyright restrictions, but universities often sign draconian contracts with the gatekeepers of scientific information. For example software companies can revoke licences or even sue the universities if we publicize bugs in the program. Publishers require libraries to sign contracts that forbid the use of the information in ways that individual staff don’t even know about. It’s only hearsay but I understand that these can include “excessive downloads” or data-mining. In no way can any of this be seen as anything other than holding science back.John Sulston, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize for medicine, has launched a new research institute, the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester. Sulston is using the launch to highlight his views on openness in science and the need to reform innovation and intellectual property policy. (Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam.) See the op-ed co-authored by Sulston and Joseph Stiglitz in the July 5 edition of The Times:See also coverage in The Times and the BBC.… The question of “Who owns science?” is therefore a crucial one, the answer to which will have broad-reaching implications for scientific progress and for the way in which the benefits of science are distributed, fairly or otherwise. Two of the most pressing issues concern equity of access to scientific knowledge and the useful products that arise from that knowledge. … The second issue we wish to highlight is that of access to science itself. The ideal shared by almost all scientists is that science should be open and transparent, not just in its practices and procedures, but so that the results and the knowledge generated through research should be freely accessible to all. There is a broad consensus in the scientific community that such openness and transparency promotes the advancement of science and enhances the likelihood that the benefits of science are enjoyed by all. For more than a hundred years, these principles have been the bedrock of academia and the scientific community. We call upon all interested in the future of science to join with us in an active and open-ended search for answers.
List of data repositories The Open Access Directory (OAD) list of Data repositories is now open for community editing. OAD is a wiki, and you can help the cause by adding or revising entries to its lists.Data repositories are becoming very important now and it’s clear that they are primarily useful if they are Open. Some subjects such as bioscience have had a long history of Open data repositories – and if the Wiki listed every one it would dominate the field. Of course there are lots of nuances to discuss. What is Data? and what is Open? And I’ve spent time on this blog discussing these. At present I’ll just reiterate that we should label data as “Open Data” (from the Open Knowledge Foundation). And should protext freedom with Community Norms, not licences or contracts. Every creator of an Open data resource should label it as such. All you need is:
Chris Rusbridge of the Digital Curation Centre (Edinburgh, UK) has come up with a great idea which I think has captured the zeitgeist. He started with “negative click” repository – and has mutated the name to Research Repository System. I was about to blog something just to say that I really supported his idea but hadn’t time to comment more when I suddenly found SEVEN Posts on his blog.
Here’s the latest post – it links back…
suggested it should contain these elements:
- web orientation
- researcher identity management
- authoring support
- object disclosure control
- data management support
- persistent storage
- full preservation archive, and
I’ll try to find time to add comments. However we are preoccupied and very actively building our own repository system here for crystallgraphic and chemical data in the Department and I’ll be blogging bits as we go along. I’ll try to keep in sync with Chris.
For me the true repository system has to be invisible…perhaps in the way the web is going. Universal = invisible. But that will take a while