NBN proposed response to ‘Licensing of data within GBIF’ consultation

The NBN Trust would like to open this response for comment.  Please could you inform us by 9am Friday 13th June if you:
1         Support in full with the NBN Trust’s position on this consultation as summarised below
2         Support the position below with minor changes (please let us know what changes you would recommend)
3         Disagree entirely with the draft submission below, and why.
Please send responses to r.stroud@nbn.org.uk

Background to current GBIF CC0 Consultation

There are currently five topics being discussed as part of a GBIF consultation.

  • Request for feedback on a proposal to require data publishers to waive rights when publishing data through the GBIF network (equivalent to Creative Commons CC0)
  • To establish a set of community-developed norms for publishing and using biodiversity data, including guidelines for citation and respecting restrictions on commercial use.  
  • Modify the GBIF publishing process to allow data publishers to flag datasets that they wish to restrict from commercial use (as defined in the norms).
  • Move this forward within six months following approval of this model
  • Develop a citation model built upon the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system, whereby each dataset has a DOI, and all citations reference the datasets used through DOIs.

More details can be found on the GBIF website here

Deadline for completed responses to GBIF: 14 June 2014

Q1. The approach outlined would significantly clarify licensing and aims to promote fair use and citation via a set of community norms. However, data publishers would no longer be in a position to claim to copyright over data. Do you support GBIF taking this position?

The National Biodiversity Network (NBN) supports GBIF’s direction of clarifying and simplifying data publishing licenses to encourage use of data. A robust system, that is well understood by data publishers and data users, based around some form of Creative Commons has many advantages. The NBN believes that a move to more openness would be beneficial for biodiversity in the UK (and globally) in terms of research, conservation and education.  Furthermore, a Creative Commons license is consistent with the INSPIRE Directive.

However, given the considerable efforts that many data collectors, curators and publishers have put into creating and maintaining data collections the NBN considers that there should be an obligation on data users to cite all sources. Therefore, a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) is a preferred solution allowing re-distribution and re-use of a licensed work on the condition that the creator is appropriately credited.

With regard to commercial use of data, there are already many forms of commercial use of biodiversity data in the United Kingdom. However, the NBN’s Data Exchange principles state:

“Biodiversity data suppliers should try to arrange resourcing of information provision so that charges for not-for-profit uses are minimal and charges for commercial uses are realistic but do not prevent the use of biodiversity data. Biodiversity data users should expect to contribute to sustaining the provision of biodiversity data through contributing either in kind or financially to the collection, collation and management of biodiversity data, or at the point of use”.

Making data freely available for commercial use may be seen as undermining the NBN data exchange principle.  The proposal to enable some datasets to be flagged as restricted from commercial use is seen by the NBN as critical.  Not all UK data suppliers will want to use this control but we feel that an open data model from which some suppliers can opt out will be more conducive to increasing data use than a model that restricts use of all data based on the wishes of the most conservative data publishers.

The ability to flag datasets as restricted from commercial use will enable those who do not need to comply with INSPIRE to opt out if they wish.

Finally, we fully support the proposal to establish a citation model built upon the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system, and ask that this be in place before the CC0 license is introduced.

Q2. Do you believe that there are additional factors which should be considered at this time?

The NBN Trust would prefer a 12 month time scale for implementation to enable the NBN to align their inhouse Terms and Conditions accordingly to align more closely with those of GBIF and to provide time for in country consultation and development work.

Q3. Do you foresee any substantial risk arising from this approach, in particular regarding the willingness of data holders to continue publishing through GBIF?

The NBN believes that the proposed changes will be seen as a significant threat to some UK data providers. As a result some will almost certainly respond by requesting the removal of their data from GBIF. While there are enormous benefits in open data, some data providers have reasons for retaining copyright and control of data for the purpose of monetising and publishing. Some data providers may also lower the resolution of the data that they provide to GBIF.

Q4. Are you interested in contributing to collaborative documentation on this topic?

Yes, the NBN is keen to be involved in any ongoing work on licensing of data so that we ensure the NBN processes are aligned and supported by the UK’s national network of data providers.

Web design by Red Paint