For Approval: Academic Citing License

David Burley burley at
Mon Sep 27 03:34:00 UTC 2004


Our stance ( is straightforward. We require that the
software meet the Open Source Definition as provided by the Open Source
Initiative. While we are quite familiar with what constitutes and Open
Source License and what doesn't, in certain cases we defer the situation
to a decision by the Open Source Initiative (better safe than sorry on
the less frequent situations, such as this one). So, to make a long
story short, you need to get approval by the OSI for such a licensing
change before we will accept that as a valid license for hosting on

Thank you,

David Burley
Second Level Support Technician,
burley at

On Sun, 2004-09-26 at 16:55, Johannes Kaiser wrote:
> Hi everybody,
> since Russell's CC to this list has not sparked any response yet, I 
> decided to give you the whole story in this mail.
> I have written a relatively large (about 5000 lines in C and F90) 
> scientific program and would like to distribute it to the wider 
> community by making it open source. However, acknowledgment is vital 
> for a scientific career these days. Thus the license would have to 
> include a condition that all (scientific) publications produced with 
> the help of my program or parts thereof must cite a specific journal 
> article. This condition is very similar to the widely adopted "you may 
> change this code but you must reproduce this license" as everybody 
> would be allowed to change my code and apply it to whatever they want 
> as long as resulting publications reproduce one part of the license, 
> i.e. the reference journal article's bibliographic data.
> I have already received two contradicting opinions on the compatibility 
> of the condition with the OSD by Russell Nelson (opensource, no) and 
> David Burley (sourceforge, yes). So, I am very interested in the 
> consensus of all of you.The critical question seems to be whether the 
> condition actually is a restriction on use or not.
> To make the discussion easier (and speed up the potential release of my 
> software), I have added the condition to the MIT license and ask your 
> approval for the resulting thing. Please find it attached to this mail. 
> The differences to the MIT license are:
> 1. new name "Academic Citing License"
> 2. added the reference to the header
> 3. added paragraph 3 with the citing condition
> 4. deleted "substantial" from paragraph 2 to avoid misinterpretations
> This should be compatible with all OSI-approved licenses. Combined work 
> would have to require whatever the other parts license states plus 
> citation according to the Academic Citing License.
> Thanks for taking the time to think about this!
> Cheers, Johannes
> PS: The program calculates, roughly speeking, the amount of ozone in 
> the "stratospheric ozone layer" from new satellite observations of the 
> Earth...think of the nicely colorful plots of the ozone hole over 
> Antarctica.
> ____________________________________________________
> JOHANNES W. KAISER, Dr. rer. nat.
> Remote Sensing Laboratories,  University of Zurich
> Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
> fon: +41 44 63 55149, fax: +41 44 63 56842
> On 22 Sep 2004, at 1:40, Russell Nelson wrote:
> > Johannes Kaiser writes:
> >> I absolutely agree with your point that there should be no restriction
> >> on use. However, most OSI-approved licenses require reproduction of 
> >> the
> >> license itself in derived work. What I want is basically the same: You
> >> may do with it whatever you want, as long as you reproduction of a
> >> citation in the derived work, e.g. journal articles. Therefore, I do
> >> not see that your concern applies.
> >
> > A journal article is not a derived work.  Let's say that your software
> > produces graphs.  If I use your software -- just use it -- to create
> > graphs for a journal paper, that's not a derived work.  No part of
> > your software appears in their paper or any software distributed with
> > their paper.  You can't put a restriction on the use of your software
> > that requires them to say "Graphs produced by Kaiserware Graphworks".
> >
> > And yet your language below implies that if they merely use your
> > program to help them produce their publication, they have to
> > acknowledge use of it.
> >
> >> I would like to make one of my scientific programs publicly available
> >> as open source. In order to make sure that the program is properly
> >> acknowledged the license should include a condition demanding the
> >> citation of a specific reference publication in all publications
> >> prepared with the help of my program.
> >
> > Restrictions on use won't fly.
> >
> >> Since there seem to be different opinions, it might be good idea to
> >> continue the discussion at license-discuss at
> >
> > Okay.
> >
> > -- 
> > --My blog is at  | Violence never solves
> > Crynwr sells support for free software  | PGPok | problems, it just 
> > changes
> > 521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 212-202-2318 voice | them into more subtle
> > Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | FWD# 404529 via VOIP  | problems.
> >
David Burley
Second Level Support Technician,
burley at
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part
URL: <>

More information about the License-discuss mailing list