[Taxacom] Your input, please, on attribution, rights and lic...

Robert Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Tue Mar 5 17:18:05 CST 2013

(Responding this way because I already have a couple of dozen registrations on online forums and don't need another, on the wiki, just to make one contribution!)

I agree with Stephen Thorpe that it doesn't sound like a good idea. We've had 100+ years of attribution in the scientific literature ('Fig. 3 redrawn from Smith (1875)') and the scientific community is just as courteous today. And a large aggregator, like GBIF, explicitly recommends attribution in their Data Use and Data Sharing Agreements. So why do you need to clarify attributions, rights and licensing? To restrain 'rogue operators'? People who want to commercialise name lists? Would that work?

For me, this issue highlights again the divide between top-down and bottom-up taxonomic resources. Look at Daphne Fautin's excellent hexacorallian resource:


It's copyright, but its information is freely usable in the old scientific-courtesy sense:

'Cite as: Fautin, Daphne G. 2013. Hexacorallians of the World. http://geoportal.kgs.ku.edu/hexacoral/anemone2/index.cfm'

Or my Australian millipede checklist:


'The text and data on this website are my own work or compilation, and are copyright under a Creative Commons license (attribution + non-commercial, by-nc). You are welcome to use or copy the information on the Millipedes of Australia website for non-commercial purposes. Please cite the Millipedes of Australia URL in your work together with the date you accessed the information.'

Or the Australian Faunal Directory, a free online database run by the Australian government and built from numerous bottom-up compilations:


It seems to me that everybody in the bottom-up game is happy with making data freely available within the scientific-courtesy framework or its Web equivalents, like CC. What top-down ogre do you hope to frighten away with rights and licensing?
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Agricultural Science, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195

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