The Protocol is a method for ensuring that scientific databases can be legally integrated with one another. The Protocol is built on the public domain status of data in many countries (including the United States) and provides legal certainty to both data deposit and data use. The protocol is not a license or legal tool in itself, but instead a methodology for a) creating such legal tools and b) marking data already in the public domain for machine-assisted discovery.
As well as working closely with the Open Knowledge Foundation, Talis and Jordan Hatcher, Science Commons have spent the last year consulting widely with international geospatial and biodiversity scientific communities. They’ve also made sure that the protocol is conformant with the Open Knowledge Definition:
We are also pleased to announce that the Open Knowledge Foundation has certified the Protocol as conforming to the Open Knowledge Definition. We think itâ€™s important to avoid legal fragmentation at the early stages, and that one way to avoid that fragmentation is to work with the existing thought leaders like the OKF.
Also, Jordan Hatcher has just released a draft of the Public Domain Dedication & Licence (PDDL) and an accompanying document on open data community norms. This is also conformant with the Open Knowledge Definition:
The current draft PDDL is compliant with the newly released Science Commons draft protocol for the â€œOpen Access Data Markâ€ and with the Open Knowledge Foundationâ€™s Open Definition.
Furthermore Creative Commons have recently made public a new protocol called CCZero which will be released in January. CCZero will allow people:
(a) ASSERT that a workhas no legal restrictions attached to it, OR
(b) WAIVE any rights associated with a work so it has not legal restrictions attached to it,
(c) “SIGN” the assertion or waiver.
All of this is fantastic news for open data!
Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at jonathangray.org and he tweets at @jwyg.