WikiPathways:CC0 Announcement

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April 2, 2017

In our continuing effort to make pathway knowledge as widely accessible as possible, WikiPathways is adopting the Creative Commons CC0 waiver. The CC0 waiver is the current recommendation for data and databases, especially scientific data. It essentially removes any concerns and doubts about the free legal use, reuse, and remixing of our collected pathway information, while leaving untouched the ethical norms for attribution in research communities [1].

This action is consistent with our original intent regarding content licensing and terms of use. When we launched in 2008, the CC0 waiver did not exist. In consultation with leaders in open science, we choose the simplest, least obtrusive model at the time, the CC-BY license and a clear terms of use. This approach has served us well, but now we can do better. CC0 will enable broader data integration with other resources, such as Wikidata, that would otherwise be restricted [2]. And our terms of use will remain unchanged [3].

We are not alone. There are many scientific data resources adopting this improved option, including: figshare for data and datasets, BioMed Central (BMC) for supplemental data, Sage Bionetworks and Wikidata for contributed data, and many more [4]. Why are we following licensing standards for scientific data when our content consists of drawings? Well, when you draw a pathway using WikiPathways tools, you are in fact building a data model that is stored, redistributed and integrated into numerous scientific tools and databases [5].

The CC0 waiver will go into effect on the 1st of May, 2017. If you would like to opt-out for content previously contributed, please contact us prior to this date. If you are an enthusiastic supporter of this plan, you can choose to adopt the waiver immediately by posting the following text in your WikiPathways account page: “I hereby elect to apply CC0 to all my contributions to WikiPathways.”

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