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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Question about free (as in freedom) data from

From: Isaac David
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Question about free (as in freedom) data from free software
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2015 19:00:03 -0600

Free the data at the time you publish your paper. Private information is not proprietary, it's the act of publishing and distributing it what raises questions of freedom. This is why free software solves a social, not just individual, problem.

In acordance to the scientific ethos, one would imagine that scientists would actually celebrate and not fear the liberation of data, and that they would leave the task of isolating plagiarizers to the scientific community. Since data is your evidence, hindering the reproducibility of results that make use of your own evidence sounds very anti-scientific. Plagiarism is something all researches need to deal with and it has never been an excuse to not disclose the data, because disclosing the data is vital to the scientific method.

I think point (2) presents a more interesting dilemma. I would advise you and your collegues to make the necessary considerations to protect the endangered animals while also releasing the data. Could the separation of GPS data from their images be enough?

Congratulations for persuasive work.

Le mer. 28 oct. 2015 à 16:32, Pen-Yuan Hsing <> a écrit :
Hello, As I mentioned a couple months ago, I met some fellow scientists at a conference, and asked them to continue development their wildlife image analyses program as Free Software (as in Freedom). I was glad that they were receptive to the idea (even though they keep going back to calling it "open source".... oh well), so I think this is a good first step! At the moment they are still looking for funding for their next stage of software development, so not much new progress has been made (though if you know of funding sources for developing scientific Free Software please do tell!). However, in our conference call today about this software, one of our colleagues brought up the issue of the *data* that's being processed by the software. According to him, there will be two problems: (1) If the data is released to the wider public, there might be other scientists who would "steal" the data, publish the work/analyses on it, preempt our efforts, and we won't end up being able to publish any papers. Since peer-reviews scientific journal papers are the "currency" with which academic performance is judged, we shouldn't release our data because others might "steal" them. He said we should at the very least embargo and restrict access to the data for e.g. five years before releasing them. (2) Since a lot of the data are photos of wild animals, what if some of the animals are endangered or sensitive to human encroachment? Since GPS metadata is associated with our images, what is a poacher sees our data and use it to hunt down the endangered animal? He said maybe we shouldn't release the data at all/ever, doing so would be "irresponsible" and possibly cause great harm. Be default, I think all scientific data should be completely released under the equivalent of a CC-BY-SA 4.0 Intl license, or even into the public domain. But when my colleague raised points (1) and (2) above, I couldn't think of any good rebuttal! I realise this mailing list focuses on Free Software, but in this case I think the liberation of the *data* that the software processes is very important, too. So, what do people think about points (1) and (2)? If the expertise is not on this mailing list, is there another place/forum where I can discuss the issue of Free Data (as in Freedom), "open data", and "open access"??? Thank you!

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