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A Conversation with Peter Suber – Navigating the Complexities of Open Access Definitions

Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with Peter Suber. If you have not heard the name then his website speaks volumes in regards to his interests and involvement in Open Access. The opening line on is website kind of says it all: “I am an independent policy strategist for open access to scientific and scholarly research literature. Most of my work consists of research, writing, consulting, and advocacy.”

I am NOT an Open Access expert. in fact, I can comment that I have found it difficult to navigate the issues. My experience is that when trying to build a community the best path forward is phone conversation when face-to-face is not available. I approached Peter with the following questions and discussion points.

1) Some clarity around Free versus Open access
2) Open Data (http://www.opendefinition.org/1.0/ )versus Creative Commons
3) How ChemSpider is trying to be “Open”
4) Are we allowed to say we are “Open” under our activities?

After a one hour phone conversation with Peter I admit to be much more educated and at ease with how ChemSpider is operating and how we fit into the Open Access and Open Data world. I am clear now with we are doing fine in our position and our intent despite the fact that we may have not yet posted all of OUR understandings of the definitions. There is one major outcome from this for me to execute on. I will be defining our POLICY around openness in the near future when there is a little more bandwidth to get it done. It is very clear that language and definitions are of hypercritical importance in this domain.

One major learning…reach out to talk with the experts. A voice to voice conversation and dialog is far more interactive, entertaining and informative than a web search for definitions. Thank you Peter!

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2007 in Community Building

 

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