Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, September 01, 2008

Open licensing to enable reproducible research

Victoria Stodden is the winner of this year's Access to Knowledge writing competition, for her paper, Enabling Reproducible Research: Open Licensing for Scientific Innovation.  (This link points to a draft; the final version isn't yet online.) 

Abstract:   There is a gap in the current licensing and copyright structure for the growing number of scientists releasing their research publicly, particularly on the internet. Scientific research produces more than the final paper: the code, data structures, experimental design and parameters, documentation, figures, are all important for communication of the scholarship and replication of the results. I propose the Open Research License for scientific researchers to use for all components of their scholarship. It is intended to encourage reproducible scientific investigation, facilitate greater collaboration, and promote engagement of the larger community in scientific learning and discovery.

There is an analogy between the development of culture postulated by the Creative Commons licenses and fundamental scientific methodology: both envision advances through building on work that has come before. The Creative Commons licenses are designed to facilitate the creation of culture through the modification of existing media, whereas scientific understanding grows through the reproduction and extension of current scientific research. Providing an Open Research License in the spirit of the Creative Commons licenses serves to allay fears that prevent a scientist from publicly releasing all the scholarship by including an attribution component, as well as a provision that derivative works carry the same license. I argue using the ORL can only increase our scientific understanding, at very minimal cost.

The competition is sponsored by the Information Society Project at Yale Law School and the International Journal of Communications Law and Policy, with a $1,000 cash prize put up by Kaltura.  The prize will be awarded next week at the A2K3 Conference (Geneva, September 8-10, 2008).  Congratulations, Victoria!