[Taxacom] IPBES: a new challenge (not for cynics)

Paul Kirk p.kirk at cabi.org
Tue Jan 11 10:59:57 CST 2011


Copyright protection on the publications is not the main issue - it is the data they contain which we all want open access to - the gramatically correct prose wrapping it are largely irrelevant. The solution is simple ... scan, OCR, markup/parse and extract. This could be pipelined if someone had the resources (and the orbs) to do it. Google already does the first two steps to every pdf made available to them on the web, what they do not do is the second two steps - it's this that T.B.-L. refers to in his TED lecture.
 
Paul
 
Dr Paul M. Kirk
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From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu on behalf of Francisco Welter-Schultes
Sent: Tue 11/01/2011 16:42
To: Fabian Haas; agosti at amnh.org
Cc: TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] IPBES: a new challenge (not for cynics)



This is much a sociopolitical problem, on which we currently have
only little influence. What we can certainly do, is to try to
increase our influence a little on the legal preconditions of access
to scientific information.

It is certainly easier to justify a release of copyright protections
for scientific publications of the 1960s and 1970s, because nobody
needs to make money with this information any more.

I see way less chances in getting all scientists (much less
politicians connected with/under pressure of commercial business)
convinced that copyright protections for currently published works
should be omitted, ignored or modified.

As a taxonomist I experience every day that it is easier to work with
literature of the 1860s than of the 1960s. If I am asked why so many
species are not accurately known yet and why there are no solid
compilations of species lists, an important part of the answer is
"because it takes so long to compile all this information from
literature sources published in the past decades". Restricted
literature access in the 1960s-1990s period is definitely an obstacle
for my work.

And the only reason for that is a legal restriction, not a technical
or funding problem for the digitisation of the involved literature
body.

Literature after 2000 is currently easier accessible because I
usually get PDFs of the papers I am interested in.

Francisco

University of Goettingen, Germany
www.animalbase.org

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