Jul 15 2008 1:30pm to Jul 15 2008 1:30pm

Openness for Life Science Databases

Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Berkman Fellow

The Science Commons Open Access Data Protocol proposes requirements for interoperability of scientific data. Legal simplicity and predictability can be achieved by waiving copyright and other contractual restrictions, allowing data integrators to reuse, modify and redistribute large datasets. But legal accessibility issues are not the only hurdle to data integration. Technical Open Access allows scientists to download data easily and use them in any way, including ways that initial curators had not considered.

Molecular biology data are subject to terms of use that vary widely between databases and curating institutions. An analysis of contractual and technical restrictions applicable to databases hosted by the Life Science Resource Name (LSRN) Schema reveals that while a few public domain policies are standardized, most terms of uses are not harmonized, difficult to understand and impose controls that prevent others to effectively reuse data. Identifying a small number of legal and technical restrictions allows to appreciate which databases are really open. A checklist for data openness is proposed in order to assist databases curators who wish to make their data more open to make sure they do so.

About Melanie

Melanie Dulong de Rosnay is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, where she leads research in copyright law and information science. She is designing a distance learning course on copyright for librarians in partnership with eIFL. She is also working on open access science and open data policy with Science Commons, and coordinating publications for Communia, the European thematic network on the digital public domain.

Prior to joining the Berkman Center, she participated to research projects on legal metadata and ontologies, rights expression languages, e-science and open access, Internet governance, and technical standardization (MPEG-21). She is Creative Commons France legal lead at CERSA (Administrative Science Studies Research Center) since 2003 and co-edited the collective book International Commons at the Digital Age gathering articles from Creative Commons International leads. Some of her scientific publications in French and in English are available here.

She holds a doctorate in law from University Paris 2, with a dissertation on « Legal and technological regulation of networked information and creative works ». She also holds degrees in political science and law from Universities of Lyon (France), Leipzig (Germany) and Tilburg (the Netherlands) and has taught copyright law at University of Technology of Compiègne, France. She worked at IRCAM, the Institute for Music/Acoustic Research and Coordination at Centre Pompidou in Paris, in a multimedia start-up, in a cultural community center and co-founded an indie music label.

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Last updated date

January 31, 2015