[Taxacom] Re; Botanical Plagiarism

Robert Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Mon Mar 11 18:03:19 CDT 2013

Rich Pyle wrote:

"- (Potentially) specimen data owned by an institution (although I think we
should foster a culture where such data are not considered copyrighted)"

Stephen Thorpe wrote:

"Specimen data owned by institutions is another "can of worms" (that's worms, not
WoRMS!). If it from a publicly funded collection, then there ought to be no
copyright. Otherwise, institutions could charge revisers for not only access to material, but also
for publication rights to the specimen data!"

Whoa... How did this one sneak in? Where did the institution get the specimen data for its collection? The institution didn't make up the data, so unless it did some substantial re-working of the data from the collector or the donor or both, how can it claim copyright? Or is assigning a registration number to a specimen lot a copyrightable act of creative endeavour? Should I explicitly claim copyright on the data on my specimen labels before I deposit specimens in a collection?

Here's what GBIF says (http://data.gbif.org/tutorial/datasharingagreement):

"Owner of data: The legal entity possessing the right resulting from the act of creating a digital record. The record may be a product derived from another, possibly non-digital product, which may affect the right."
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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