Research Remix

April 10, 2008

Make All Research Results CC-BY

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Heather Piwowar @ 10:01 am

Thanks to Klaus Graf for putting it so succinctly (and PMR for echoing it):

There is a simple solution (I will repeat it because it is important like a mantra):


Make all research results CC-by.

Really. The publishers, yes. But also You. Me. All of us. Try it. Start small, ok, but start. Put your raw data up on a website and slap a Creative Commons license on it.

Be the change you want to see.


  1. I can see the chant now..’Fair use is not enough, make your research CC-BY! What do we want? Free data! When do we want it? Now!’…repeat ad nauseum…

    Comment by Cameron Neylon — April 10, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  2. Cameron, I *love* it. I want me a tshirt. Well, a placard and a tshirt. :)

    Comment by Heather Piwowar — April 10, 2008 @ 10:29 am

  3. Thanks both.
    BTW make sure you do not conflate “free as in beer” with “free as in speech”. That’s why we prefer the term Open (as in Open Data) – “libre” has not yet gained a foothold.

    The Open KNowledge Foundation

    Comment by peter murray-rust — April 10, 2008 @ 11:51 am

  4. Splendid =)

    All of my output has been CC-BY since 1st Aug 2007:-

    Admittedly, this relates to music not research but it was great footing for what was to follow. Yes you guessed it – research.

    @ PMR,I have recently used the term ‘free access’ couple but won’t be doing this again. Honest Gov.

    Trilliant good ideas for tshirts folks. I have a neat idea as to how to make this a reality ;-) Whhoosh

    Comment by McDawg — April 10, 2008 @ 12:13 pm

  5. Or CC0. :)

    Comment by Dorothea Salo — April 10, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  6. Yes, good point!
    If you don’t need attribution: CC0 (

    Comment by Heather Piwowar — April 10, 2008 @ 12:47 pm

  7. But ‘open’ didn’t scan. Well that’s my excuse anyway…

    Comment by Cameron Neylon — April 10, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  8. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but ALL is too much. Personal and sensitive data have to be excluded. So also business microdata. There may be other categories, but those are the obvious ones. I think there are legitimate questions on how raw the data should be (or not). And there must be classes of data where without extensive documentation damaging mis-interpretations are likely. But with caveats I like the idea…

    Comment by Chris Rusbridge — April 11, 2008 @ 1:54 pm

  9. Yes, you are quite right. There are certainly kinds of data and situations for which CC-by is not appropriate. ALL is too much.

    It’s tough. These are the minority of situations, but they get the majority of attention. As a result, the message that MOST data can (and should?) be widely and openly and freely shared is rarely trumpeted.

    Especially since I’m in a biomedical department, in trumpeting I’m usually careful to include the caveats. Didn’t this time… thanks for calling me on it, so as to keep the call real and responsible in its enthusiasm.

    Comment by Heather Piwowar — April 11, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

  10. I think a lot of people like the idea of CC-BY but are not sure how to do it technically. That’s one reason I suggest Wikispaces for open notebook applications – CC-BY is the default for all free content. You can also use Google’s advanced search to make sure that your website is properly configured and makes it through the license filter.

    Comment by Jean-Claude Bradley — April 13, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  11. Please don’t make research data CC-BY.


    Comment by Ari Friedman — April 15, 2008 @ 9:30 am

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