19 February 2010

Open Data: A Question of (Panton) Principles

Since I have been banging on about the need for open data in science for some time, you won't be surprised to learn that I am in agreement with the following:


Science is based on building on, reusing and openly criticising the published body of scientific knowledge.

For science to effectively function, and for society to reap the full benefits from scientific endeavours, it is crucial that science data be made open.

By open data in science we mean that it is freely available on the public internet permitting any user to download, copy, analyse, re-process, pass them to software or use them for any other purpose without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. To this end data related to published science should be explicitly placed in the public domain.


They form the basis of the newly-formalised Panton Principles for open data in science, and are followed by the four short principles themselves - essentially that there should be an explicit statement of what may be done with the data, and that ideally that data should bein the public domain.

The principles derive their name from the Panton Arms on Panton Street in Cambridge - destined, perhaps, to pass into science history rather as the Eagle pub did 50 years ago.

But given that provenance, and the fact that 75% of the authors of the Principles are British, it's a shame they couldn't spell the word "licence" properly. Sorry for the nit-picking, but it's a question of, er, principle for me...

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3 comments:

Rufus Pollock said...

Glynn, thanks for the great comments and sorry about the license versus licence issue. As you can imagine we encounter this quite a lot, and we've ended up having to take a call on this both here and, in general, and the decision has been that the most international option is to use license ...

Proposal for a better solution (on a postcard) welcome :)

glyn moody said...

@Rufus: I was afraid you'd say that...

How about something simple like

li[c|s]ence

really rolls off the tongue...

Anonymous said...

An American suggests the most International option is English (US)?
I am bowled over…