Science Commons Protocol

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"In December 2007, Science Commons released their Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data. This protocol, written in the same style as a Request For Comment (RFC), outlines a legal standard for open access to data based on three principles:

  • the protocol must promote legal predictability and certainty
  • the protocol must be easy to use and understand
  • the protocol must impose the lowest possible transaction costs on users

Guided by these three principles and Science Commons' experience in maintaining their database FAQ on Creative Commons licences and data, they arrived at an approach that calls for waiver of relevant IPRs so that data could be treated as close to being in the public domain (without IPRs) as possible. Thus the protocol calls for waiver of:

  • copyright
  • the sui generis database right in the European Union mentioned above and similar protections
  • implied contract rights and rights in tort or delict such as unfair competition or trade secrets

This protocol gets enforced through the use of an "Open Access Data Mark", which will be managed by Science Commons and the sister organisation Creative Commons. They will limit use of the mark to licensing schemes that comply with the protocol, so that users can be assured that the data labeled with the mark meets the criteria of waiving IPRs. The Science Commons protocol thus sets a standard that any licensing scheme can implement." (