BioMed Central supports the goals of the Panton Principles for Open Data in Science but putting them into practice needs to be done in careful consultation with the scientific community to ensure that researchers still receive appropriate credit for their contributions.
Rather than restricting access to data through restrictive licensing terms, cultural norms need to be defined for the assignment of credit, priority with respect to initial publication and the determination of reasonable embargo periods. Fields such as astronomy, economics and genomics have already made significant progress in this direction.
BioMed Central has drafted a position statement on data sharing, open data and licensing, and we invite the wider scientific community to join the discussion to help us define an explicit open data licensing policy going forwards.
The statement discusses what we see as “the Five Ws” for open data, which includes a proposal that, from a specific date, any author submitting to a BioMed Central journal would agree to dedicate the data elements of their article and supplementary material to the public domain and apply an open data conformant licence, such as Creative Commons CC0.
We invite the scientific and publishing community to join us in defining the optimum way to put the Panton Principles into practice. Comment publicly on the draft statement by using the comment function on this blog. Alternatively, contact us to get involved.