#IUCR2011: reply from CCDC on restrictions on redistributing CIFs

I wrote to Colin Groom of the CCDC requesting the release of authors’ raw CIFs (supporting information) into the public domain. I have now had a reply which I publish below. This will alter what I say at my presentation tomorrow (2011-08-29, Monday).


Apologies for the delay, I left the IUCr early on Saturday […].

The CCDC has arrangements with a number of publishers, whereby we are able to process CIFs into CSD entries and supply the source CIFs to those who request them. Supply of the source CIF requires the requestor to identify the CIF, either by reference number or by providing the reference to the article in which they are described. It is my understanding that these arrangements were put in place to satisfy the demands of publishers – they indicate that requestors have access to the journal article in which the CIFs were published. The CCDC makes no charge for this activity.

The entire, curated, value-added CIF collection does, of course, form the CSD. This is provided at below-cost to academic scientists. Where academic scientists have a genuine lack of funds, access to the CSD is subsidised by the CCDC charity. Of course you have access to the CSD.

No restrictions are made on the research use to which the CSD is put; however redistribution of the CSD is not permitted. Licensees are also required to seek permission from the CCDC prior to releasing derivative works and related services. These restrictions were put in place to satisfy the demands of publishers and, because the CDCC continues to rely on subscriptions to the CSD to fund its ongoing developments, to secure the future of the resource.

The distributed CIFs, and CIFs derived from the CSD, contain statements such as they “…may contain copyright material of the CCDC or of third parties” These were drafted several years ago and were put in place to deal with copyright claims of various publishers at that time. I recognise that there are changing views regarding the copyright of data. I also recognise that technological developments continually present new research opportunities and demands on data. We have therefore, been reviewing the services that the CCDC provides and the terms under which they are provided. Ian Bruno is leading this review. His primary consideration is how the CCDC can ensure that we maximise the accessibility and benefit of structural information both now and into the future. Unfortunately, this review is not yet complete, however, we will consult widely and welcome your views on these issues.



First thanks to Colin for his reply. Now my comments:

p.1 This indicates that it is impossible to discover the CIF unless one has access to the journal article.

p.2 I am not asking for access to the CSD, only to the raw CIFs which were contributed as part of the publication process.

P3. The restrictions on re-use are twofold – (a) from publishers (b) to create a monopoly for the CCDC to secure its income

P4. I understood from yourselves that this review would not be complete before the end of the calendar year 2011.


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