For Approval: Academic Citing License

Johannes Kaiser jkaiser at
Mon Sep 27 04:55:26 UTC 2004

Hi David,

I got you and I did not mean to complain or blame you for anything. On 
the contrary: Thank you for the advice and directions!

Regards, Johannes

On 27 Sep 2004, at 5:34, David Burley wrote:

> Greetings,
> 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

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