Enquiry about data openness at BMC

Enquiry Status: Resolved (Open)

Started: Mon Aug 30 18:12:50 2010
ID: 4249d5c1-3863-495d-907a-52c61e64bb6f

Message:

To: Iain.Hrynaszkiewicz@biomedcentr....

Subject: Enquiry about data openness at BMC

Date: Mon Aug 30 18:12:50 2010

Status: Sent

Dear Iain,

Continuing our previous conversations about BMC's interest in open data, I'm writing to you today, with Peter Murray-Rust, on behalf of the Open Knowledge Foundation. As you know, the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) is a non-profit global organization dedicated to the creation, dissemination and labelling of Open Knowledge.

On behalf of the OKF, we are writing to a large number of science publishers to ask for confirmation of their policies with respect to data published within their journals.

There is now great public interest in the Open availability of scientific data for validating scientific findings, detecting fraud and exploring new hypotheses. It is generally accepted by publishers that data per se are not copyrightable: several statements by publisher associations have made this point explictly. The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and International Association of Scientific, Technical, & Medical Publishers (STM) issued a joint statement in 2006 recommending that "research data should be as widely available as possible." (http://www.alpsp.org/ForceDownload.asp?id=129) The 2007 Brussels Declaration from the STM states in part:

"Raw research data should be made freely available to all researchers.  
 Publishers encourage the public posting of the raw data outputs of research. 
 Sets or sub-sets of data that are submitted with a paper to a journal should 
 wherever possible be made freely accessible to other scholars." 
 http://www.stm-assoc.org/public_affairs_brussels_declaration.php

Combined with the acceptance and increasingly widepread adoption of the Panton Principles (http://pantonprinciples.org/), it is now possible to articulate policies that are consistent with the publication and reuse of Open Data.

We would like to ask your for clarification on several points with respect to your journals. It will help everyone if your answers are clear so that users of your material can know what they may and may not do without requesting further permission.

  1. May users extract raw data and metadata (contextual facts about data collection) from supplementary information published in your journal?

  2. May users extract raw data and metadata from figures, tables, and text in the narrative of your published articles?

  3. May users extract this information from freely available articles and supplementary information, as well as those that are available by subscription only? For the latter, users would obtain access through an existing subscription.

  4. May the extracted data be used as Open Data [1,2] without discrimination against users, groups, or fields of endeavor?

  5. May users expose the extracted data as Open Data [1,2], in a manner consistent with the Panton Principles (http://pantonprinciples.org/)? Specifically, may they expose the extracted data on the internet under a Public Domain, PDDL (http://www.opendatacommons.org/licenses/pddl/) or CC0 waiver (http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CC0)?

  6. May users obtain articles and supplementary materials (other than audio and video) from your website via automated means for the purposes of extracting raw data, if it is done in a manner that does not place undue burden on your resources? Users would obtain access through an existing subscription where necessary.

  7. Will you consider displaying the OKF's "Open Data" button (http://opendefinition.org/button) as a means of clarifying to readers and users the Open parts of your material?

Our questions are being asked through the OKF's IsItOpen(Data) service (http://www.isitopendata.org), which has been designed to clarify in what sense published and online datasets are actually open. IsItOpen(Data) saves everyone time by allowing a question to be asked just once and making the reply permanently visible in a high-profile site.

On behalf of the scientific community, thank you in advance for your response. The clear labelling of Openness will save scientists hundreds of years' work per year in asking permission and speculating. Enabling open access data, both for use and reuse, will help to validate published findings, discourage fraud and misconduct, and explore new research areas. Your clear support for these principles will demonstrate the value you place on these activities and surely benefits science.

We look forward to hearing from you. Could you let us know the timeframe in which we might expect a response?

Sincerely,

Heather Piwowar, [email protected]

Peter Murray-Rust, [email protected]

on behalf of the Open Knowledge Foundation, http://okfn.org/

[1] http://www.opendefinition.org/1.0/

[2] http://www.opendefinition.org/licenses/

--
Sent by "Is It Open Data?" http://isitopendata.org/ A service which helps scholars (and others) to request information about the status and licensing of data and content.

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on the internet for anyone to access and copy. For more information see:

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Message:

To: Iain.Hrynaszkiewicz@biomedcentr....

Subject: Re: Enquiry about data openness at BMC

Date: Sat Sep 11 22:10:00 2010

Status: Sent

Dear Iain and Matt,

On behalf of the OKF, we'd like to publicly thank you for BMC's rapid and clear response to our enquiry. Your response is appended to the bottom of this message; As we discussed, I'm sending this follow-up email from IsItOpenData to make your response publicly viewable. You can see the thread here:

http://www.isitopendata.org/enquiry/view/4249d5c1-3863-495d-907a-52c61e64bb6f/

Thanks again for your leadership in support of Open Data.

Sincerely,

Heather Piwowar and Peter Murray-Rust

--------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Iain Hrynaszkiewicz

Date: Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 4:00 AM

To: Heather Piwowar, peter murray-rust

Cc: Matthew Cockerill

Dear Heather and Peter,

Please find attached BMC’s response to this letter, as tracked changes in the original text. This response is co-signed by BMC’s Managing Director, Matt Cockerill and me, Associate Journal Publisher. Look forward to catching up at Science Online tomorrow.

Kind regards,

Iain

PS. Our latest open data project has just been announced: http://bit.ly/dkCVw6

Iain Hrynaszkiewicz Associate Journal Publisher BioMed Central 236 Gray's Inn Road London, WC1X 8HB

  1. May users extract raw data and metadata (contextual facts about data collection) from supplementary information published in your journal?

Yes

  1. May users extract raw data and metadata from figures, tables, and text in the narrative of your published articles?

Yes

  1. May users extract this information from freely available articles and supplementary information, as well as those that are available by subscription only? For the latter, users would obtain access through an existing subscription.

Yes

  1. May the extracted data be used as Open Data [1,2] without discrimination against users, groups, or fields of endeavor?

Yes

  1. May users expose the extracted data as Open Data [1,2], in a manner consistent with the Panton Principles? Specifically, may they expose the extracted data on the internet under a Public Domain, PDDL (http://www.opendatacommons.org/licenses/pddl/) or CC0 license (http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CC0)?

All BMC research content is published under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/about/openaccess), meaning that the copyrightable material within it can be freely redistributed as long as attribution is given. We recognize that the copyright-ability of data/facts varies by jurisdiction, creating potential obstacles to reuse, and so we support the Panton Principles goal of explicit open licensing of data, putting it into the public domain to ensure maximum interoperability. This is particularly necessary because providing full attribution for all facts/data in a large collection may not be practical. Putting the Panton Principles into practice needs to be done in careful consultation with the scientific community to ensure that researchers still receive appropriate credit for their contributions. Rather than restricting access to data through restrictive licensing terms, cultural norms need to be defined for the assignment of credit, priority with respect to initial publication and the determination of reasonable embargo periods. Field such as astronomy, economics and genomics have already made significant progress in this direction. BioMed Central has drafted a position statement on data sharing, Open Data and licensing, and we invite the wider scientific community to join the discussion to help us define an explicit Open Data licensing policy going forwards.

  1. May users obtain articles and supplementary materials (other than audio and video) from your website via automated means for the purposes of extracting raw data, if it is done in a manner that does not place undue burden on your resources? Users would obtain access through an existing subscription where necessary.

Yes

  1. Will you consider displaying the OKF's "Open Data" button - http://opendefinition.org/buttons - as a means of clarifying to readers and users the Open parts of your material?

Yes – we already do.

--
Sent by "Is It Open Data?" http://isitopendata.org/ A service which helps scholars (and others) to request information about the status and licensing of data and content.

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on the internet for anyone to access and copy. For more information see:

http://isitopendata.org/about/