[License-discuss] license for code used for scientific results?
hunteke at earlham.edu
Mon Apr 30 19:22:15 UTC 2012
At 2:14pm -0400 Mon, 30 Apr 2012, Nigel H. Tzeng wrote:
> You probably have already done this but I suggest seeing if the
> ScienceCommons and NeuroCommons projects offers something to your liking.
Embarrassingly, I had not run across those. I'll get back once I've had
a chance to digest them. Thank you for the pointer and those links.
> IMHO you are better served to release under a permissive license and
> build a community that encourages sharing than attempt to force
> sharing. The neurocommons project is an excellent exemplar in my
> opinion. I believe most of their code is BSD or something similar.
The problem is that at this point, we're not building a community, but
rather adding to an already existing community. In the same breath, I'm
painfully aware that as an academic (more specifically a graduate
student), I have roughly $0 to litigate or otherwise enforce any license
issue that may arise. And this is the rub for more than just my
research group. We basically already "live with the fact that not
everyone will follow it" (Bruce, in a sister sub-thread). In plainer
language, the bottom line is that a law is only as good as the
combination of "enforceability" and willingness of a people to follow it.
However, we believe there is more than one reason why folks in our
sub-sub domain don't freely share their (academically oriented) code and
data, including such "simple" problems as
- Don't know how
- Don't have a venue to do so
- Don't believe anyone outside of their crew might be
interested in recreating their results
- Embarrassed by (perceived) quality of code
- Afraid someone will implicate them with bad use of their software
- Are not encouraged to do so by our journals.
We believe the reluctance to share code is *not* because of much (if
any) malicious intent, and we believe having a GPL-esque license would
be one more data point with which to make a compelling argument for
openness in our community. Having an added incentive, like a "legally
binding, if not directly enforceable" license, could help change the
ecosystem. In this sense, a BSD-style license doesn't respond to what
we want because it enables the status quo.
> Regarding your desire for an OSI approved license that meets your
> criteria...I pretty sure it doesn't exist.
We're not tied to OSI approval; that statement was more of an attempt to
elucidate that we were hoping for an OSI approved license if it existed,
and to ask if the text of the OSI licenses was free for us to munge into
our own license. In essence, what is the license for each OSI license?
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