#IUCR2011; FOI request for details of CIFs deposited by publishers with CCDC

In a previous post I showed a letter form Colin Groom of the CCDC indicating reasons why the CCDC could not make its deposited crystallographic data (source CIFS) Open


This is disappointing because otherwise we would be able to declare that almost all public crystallographic data was Open – as it is a substantial amount (many thousands) or data files are closed.

One of the reasons given by Colin was that the publishers had added conditions and restraints. I do not know the details of these so I have asked formally for details of numbers of source CIFs and the contracts which might restrain their distribution. I have used the UK Freedom Of Information act since CCDC is part of the University of Cambridge. (In fact all requests for information are ipso facto under FOI, so the additional formality helps to make sure the request is processed appropriately).

I have used the excellent http://www.whatdotheyknow.com to send the request. This helps make sure the request reaches the right place, sets the clock ticking (organizations are allowed 20 working days to reply) and provides a permanent Open record. My request is at http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/contracts_for_and_number_of_sour and reads as below

Dear University of Cambridge,

I am writing to request information from the Cambridge
Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC), one of the listed departments
of the University.
The CCDC maintains a database of crystallography, primarily created
from factual crystallographic data supplied as “supplemental
information” or “supporting data” accompanying scholarly
publications. These data (referred to hereafter as “source CIFs”)
are created by the authors, not the CCDC, and represent part of the
primary scientific record supporting the scientific paper. Some
source CIFs are published in the open literature accompanying
publications (whether Open Access or Closed access). Other source
CIFs are not published Openly and are sent exclusively by various
publishers to the CCDC for deposition (closed source CIFs). [see
public reply
) from Dr. Groom, CCDC]. I wish to know the number of these closed
source CIFs and the contracts between the CCDC and each publisher .
1. Please list all the publishers with whom CCDC has an arrangement
for receiving source CIFs.
2. Please provide a copy of the current contract with EACH
3. Please indicate whether EACH publisher puts any restrictions on
the re-use and redissemination of these source CIFs.
4. Please indicate whether EACH publisher claims any intellectual
property rights over these source CIFs
5. Please indicate whether the CCDC claims any intellectual
property rights over these source CIFs
6. Please indicate for EACH publisher how many source CIFs are held
by the CCDC
7. Please give any information on whether the Advisory Board or
other governing body has discussed the question of making closed
source CIFs Openly available.

This is a valid FOI request (the CCDC hold the information and it
will not cost an undue amount of time or money to provide it).

Yours faithfully,

Peter Murray-Rust

I will keep readers of this blog updated on progress



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