For Approval: Academic Citing License

Johannes Kaiser jkaiser at
Mon Sep 27 04:08:44 UTC 2004

On 26 Sep 2004, at 23:17, Evan Prodromou wrote:

> On Sun, 2004-09-26 at 22:55 +0200, Johannes Kaiser wrote:
>> 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" [...]
> This is where you're mistaken: this is _nothing_like_ the requirement 
> to
> have license notification. That's a restriction on the publication of
> the work itself. You're trying to restrict the publication of the 
> output
> of the program -- a very clear restriction on use.

OK, I see that the condition is a restriction on use *in general*. 
However, I do not see that it needs to be interpreted as a restriction 
on use *in the sense of the OSD*. We are talking about #6, don't we? I 
have the impression that OSD #6 has certain punch-line: It says "[...] 
must not restrict [...] use [..] in a specific field of endeavor." and 
gives "business" and "genetic research" as examples. Accordingly, the 
additional condition does not talk about (nor restrict) the field of 
endeavor: Users are allowed to use the program in all scientific, 
business, private, etc. fields. Therefore, I think the license violates 
neither the wording nor the intention of OSD #6.

> I would suggest that you license your work under one of the already-
> approved Open Source licenses, and add a _reminder_ in the 
> documentation
> for your work that scientists who use your code to make new discoveries
> are obliged through both professional courtesy and thoroughness of
> reference to cite your original article.

That is exactly what I think science should work like! Unfortunately, 
it does not far too often. At least, I know a couple of pretty bad 

> (I'd think this would only be the case if your work represented a
> significant scientific advance in a related field of study. I don't
> think an ornithologist should feel obligated to cite articles on the
> Nautilus file manager just because she used it to keep her records in
> order.)

no problem there :)

Cheers, Johannes

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

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