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Open Source Licenses For Academic Work?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the attribution-citation-and-extra-pepperoni dept.

Education 173

An anonymous reader writes "We're in the process of submitting a scientific paper describing some techniques for data analysis. We'll be releasing the associated code, so we're faced with choosing an appropriate license. My supervisor insists there should be a citation clause, requiring any published article that uses results of the software to cite our paper. Of course, ideally, free software shouldn't have such encumbrances, and I initially tried to talk him out of it. However, in academia, the issue of attribution and citation is very important. Also, it is not a restriction on use of the software per se, only on publication of results. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any such license. So I wondered: what do other academic Slashdotters do?"

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Creative Commons Attribution (5, Informative)

xous (1009057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085025)

Not one of 'em crazy academics but wouldn't this do?

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

Re:Creative Commons Attribution (2, Informative)

swimin (828756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085053)

He wants them to attribute when they use the results of the code, not when they use the code.

Re:Creative Commons Attribution (2, Insightful)

xous (1009057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085095)

I misread that.

I don't think it is possible to enforce restraints on the output of an application.

Think of the implications of Microsoft if was able to have a similar clause in Microsoft Word, Wordpad, notepad, or even Windows.

I think the best thing he can do is ask for citations/attribution.

Re:Creative Commons Attribution (4, Insightful)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085453)

If you accept the basic premise of EULA's, which specify a contract, then that contract can do basically anything it likes, within the law.

Existing EULA's can and do put restraints on what you are allowed to do with an application. Consider for example 'student' versions of software, such as Matlab, Visual C++, etc, that cannot be used for commercial or research purposes. Also a lot of scientific software has a 'no commercial use' clause.

But is it OSI Certified open source software? No. (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085627)

If you accept the basic premise of EULA's, which specify a contract, then that contract can do basically anything it likes, within the law.

But once you've gone that route, you've probably already given up the idea of using an OSI approved open source license.

Re:Creative Commons Attribution (3, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086443)

If you accept the basic premise of EULA's, which specify a contract, then that contract can do basically anything it likes, within the law.

Existing EULA's can and do put restraints on what you are allowed to do with an application. Consider for example 'student' versions of software, such as Matlab, Visual C++, etc, that cannot be used for commercial or research purposes. Also a lot of scientific software has a 'no commercial use' clause.

Before I begin: IANAL. I have, however, read widely on law, particularly copyright and contract law. The following is not legal advice.

What you say is true, as far as it goes.

But you see, saying "you can use this program, as long as what you are doing falls into one of these categories" is entirely different from stating what you can do with the output of the program after you've finished using the program.

Contracts have limits on what they can achieve, and when the requirements of a contract start to seem too onerous, courts tend to decide that the contract's aims are outside of the scope of a contract.

I've never seen a relevant test, but I would expect that a contract that attempts to stifle the freedom of speech of one its parties would be very difficult to enforce, except in very specific circumstances. Such circumstances would probably include stuff like near-equality of bargaining power between the parties, which isn't the case here (where there's a producer/consumer relationship). Contracts that cannot be simply terminated without leaving behind residual obligations are harder to form, too. In this case, you can't just say, "I don't agree to that any more" and stop using the software, because you still have the results that you obtained from the software.

My suggestion to the OP is quite simply this: pick any OSS license you like. I'm fond of BSD/MIT style licenses, and they are (as you can guess by the names) popular with academic institutions, at least in the field of CS. Release the software under that license, and put a note in the documentation politely asking people publishing results obtained from the software to include a citation to the paper about it. Include suitable example references in a number of formats, so it's particularly easy to cite.

Really, people will want to provide a citation. It backs up their paper with more depth, provides additional information about the methods they have used and gives the reader more confidence in their results to know how they were derived.

Why not just trust people?

Re:Creative Commons Attribution (2, Informative)

matria (157464) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085583)

FSF ruled that a website using PHPNuke (GPL) had to retain the copyright notices for PHPNuke on page footers and in the Generator metatag since this was generated by the CMS code.

And this copyright notice will be present on the generated pages footer and in the HTML source as a Metatag called Generator. Those messages are now compliant with the 2(c) section of the GPL license and CAN'T BE REMOVED.

http://phpnuke.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=6966 [phpnuke.org]

Re:Creative Commons Attribution (2, Insightful)

stm2 (141831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085895)

But I guess they want citation in publications (academic paper), not just displayed in software.

Re:Creative Commons Attribution (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085665)

He wants them to attribute when they use the results of the code, not when they use the code.

Personally, I think this wrong-headed.

It seems to me that one of two cases apply: the software in question is critical to reproducing the results presented, in which case it would be mandatory to cite the software in any real peer reviewed paper. Or the software is not critical in reproducing the results, in which case the developers don't merit citation in the paper, although they may be deserving of gratitude and a pat on the pack.

For example, should people who used LaTex or Open Office to prepare printed materials used in the course of their research cite those products? Only if the particular materials produced could only be produced in precise form by that software.

Now suppose you used postscript to produce images used for vitual perception experiments. Well, you'd probably want to publish the routines, and certainly stipulate they ran on such and so a Postscript implementation, if there were any chance at all that different implementations would render those images differently.

Now, in cases where results are produced that are dependent on a particular piece of software, whether that software be proprietary, open source, or in the public domain, it is academically dishonest NOT to cite the software, in my opinion.

Enforcing the license? (4, Insightful)

haluness (219661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085037)

So, if you were to get such a license and then somebody published a result without citing your software (as opposed to mentioning that they used the software), how would you (or your boss) enforce it?

Would your boss really sue another academic for not citing the software?

Of course, as an academic myself, not citing the paper for some software that I used, is sloppy anyway.

Re:Enforcing the license? (3, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085123)

or Boo Hoo, what if someone read your paper and then did not cite it in their derivative work?

Citations are a matter of academic integrity and publishing ethics not law.

Re:Enforcing the license? (1)

robertjw (728654) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085293)

Citations are a matter of academic integrity and publishing ethics not law.

Not yet...

Re:Enforcing the license? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085319)

Citations are a matter of academic integrity and publishing ethics not law.

This is usually true, and I won't argue exceptions here. I'm also not going to be drawn into discussion of cases of abuse, although any of us are capable of finding such instances.

However, academic integrity is important to those of us involved, and if someone transgresses, he should expect to have his ass kicked. It is that integrity that makes the academic community useful to the general community at large. Take that away, and you end up with a gaggle of squabbling, backbiting buffoons who hold nothing sacred except their own careers.

Re:Enforcing the license? (2, Funny)

Patrick May (305709) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085351)

Oh, Congress!

Re:Enforcing the license? (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085515)

And if you take a coffin away from a corpse you'll have a dead body... I fail to see your point.

this is going the opposite direction, though (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086095)

A clause like this is attempting to inflate citation counts beyond what would normally be expected, mainly by forcing even marginal use to result in a citation when often it wouldn't merit one (I don't cite, say, the manual for the Dell computer I use).

Re:Enforcing the license? (5, Interesting)

trainman (6872) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085461)

This was exactly my thought, we GPL all the software out of our lab. We also have a prominent notice on our download page giving the proper journal citation for this particular piece of software, so users know what to put.

However to not cite software used, particularly when the exact citation line is given to you so easily, in academic would be considered academic dishonesty. Sloppy as you said. And would reflect very poorly on the author of the paper if it were ever to come to light.

Since you can't really enforce it without a costly lawsuit, you simply have to have faith other academics will follow the same attribution code to cite sources, including software.

What might be more useful is writing this to a prominent journal in your field as a letter to bring attention to this issue, to help teach those older academics who never thought about the issues of citing software.

Re:Enforcing the license? (5, Interesting)

iter8 (742854) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085573)

We do the same, release the software under the GPL along with a request to cite the proper journal references. You can't really enforce that, but we seem to get plenty of citations, so I think it's an honor system that mostly works. When I review a paper, I try to make sure the authors cite the software they use and if the paper describes original software, they release it. I don't really trust the results from black-box software.

Re:Enforcing the license? (2, Informative)

shaitand (626655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086215)

'

This was exactly my thought, we GPL all the software out of our lab. We also have a prominent notice on our download page giving the proper journal citation for this particular piece of software, so users know what to put.

However to not cite software used, particularly when the exact citation line is given to you so easily, in academic would be considered academic dishonesty. Sloppy as you said. And would reflect very poorly on the author of the paper if it were ever to come to light.

Since you can't really enforce it without a costly lawsuit, you simply have to have faith other academics will follow the same attribution code to cite sources, including software.

What might be more useful is writing this to a prominent journal in your field as a letter to bring attention to this issue, to help teach those older academics who never thought about the issues of citing software.'

Outside of a few fringe cases where the paper is about software citing software would be a little silly. Unless use of the software is implicit to the use of a source of data like a database.

You cite sources of information (including information that influenced your conclusions) not tools. That is akin to claiming an art student should cite the brush, canvas, and paint used in each painting. It doesn't matter how novel any of those things were unless the painting was a demonstration of the tool in question. Only sources that inspired the work need be cited.

Re:Enforcing the license? (1)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085569)

Since you are an academic, you would know that there are worse consequences for an academic than getting sued. Loss of professional reputation is, IMO, worse than this. Something that would definitely happen if you happen to use someone's work without properly attributing it to them.
The review process is usually capable of weeding this out when it comes to experimental results etc., but when it comes to software, this is a little harder for a reviewer to spot. It is really up to the user of that software as to whether they value their academic reputation over something like that.
There is no good reason to not cite it (unless it slipped your mind - not likely to happen, or you set out to steal other people's work, in which case, the plagiarist has no business being an academic). By citing other people's work, you only increase the visibility of your own paper (setting aside other considerations - given how citation tracking systems work).
So, not only is it improper to not cite someone's software / paper, but also it is harmful to you, even if you do not get caught.

Re:Enforcing the license? (2, Insightful)

f(x) is x (948082) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085597)

Of course, as an academic myself, not citing the paper for some software that I used, is sloppy anyway.

So you cite the paper for every piece of software you use (ssh, Linux, gcc, etc.)?

As a member of the networking / distributed systems community, researchers certainly don't cite all of the relevant tools they use. Testbeds (like Emulab and PlanetLab) and simulators (NS2, etc.) are cited in the results section because the reader needs to understand the methodology of experimentation. However many researchers use tools created by researchers to run their experiments (CoDeploy, PLuSH, PLMAN, Stork, etc.) and these are rarely cited because they do not alter the results.

The unfortunate reality is that citations are a metric of "credit" in the academic community and the lack of citations presents a problem for researchers who build tools.

Re:Enforcing the license? (1)

haluness (219661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085963)

> So you cite the paper for every piece of software you use (ssh, Linux, gcc, etc.)?

Of course not - but it only applies to software that is so common that everybody will know about it, such as ssh or Linux.

Even for some cases, such as say nmap, I'd at least include a reference that lists the URL. I'm lucky that the journals I submit to, allow that.

You mention researchers running their experiments with certain softwares and not citing them since it doesn't change the results. In my mind that's a sloppy paper. Maybe, for an expert in the field reading the paper, those codes are well known. What about someone entering your field? If they try to reproduce the work, and don't use say Stork, will any differences in their results be due to bad data, bad methodology or the lack of use of Stork?

If your results depend on a piece of software, make sure that a reader knows exactly what was used and how to get it. That might mean a paper or a URL. In the absence of that the paper is just advertising and not a contribution.

Re:Enforcing the license? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086239)

'will any differences in their results be due to... the lack of use of Stork?'

If you have adequately explained your methodology then reproducing the results shouldn't depend upon the tool you used to implement that methodology. If using another tool to implement the method changes the results then the results shouldn't be considered valid in the first place.

Re:Enforcing the license? (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086309)

The unfortunate reality is that citations are a metric of "credit" in the academic community and the lack of citations presents a problem for researchers who build tools.

<sarcasm>This is only reflecting the fact that those are unable to add proper value to their respective fields, which again shows that the metrics work well.</sarcasm>

In my days the underlying attitude was reflected by the creation of the label 'Rechenknecht' (appr. compute-slave) for the sub-professoral members of the scientific (so called) 'community' who did most of the work.

CC.

I'd actually be *less* likely to cite (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086081)

Citations are generally a matter of academic integrity (giving credit where it's due), and assistance to the reader (pointing out sources for statements that are argued for or proved elsewhere, and further reading). I rather dislike attempts to interfere in that judgment process.

Generally of course I do cite the paper for software I use, though it depends somewhat on the journal style (some journals prefer footnotes for software instead of normal references, unless the software's paper is something other than a manual, e.g. also proved some new result that you rely on).

Re:Enforcing the license? (1)

rasputin465 (1032646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086243)

Of course, as an academic myself, not citing the paper for some software that I used, is sloppy anyway.

And as an academic myself, I completely agree. If someone were to use this guy's code in the results of a publication, they would have to cite the code's maintainers... and that is something that the journal referees should enforce. If a journal's editors are doing their job, they will not let someone publish any results without a thorough explanation of where those results came from.

So I guess my point is, there should ideally be no issue of enforcing such a citation restriction.

What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085043)

I see no issue with attribution, in terms of referencing the original authors for the results of any work done with the software.

How would this be contrary to open source ideals?

NAMD License (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085061)

The NAMD license [uiuc.edu] has a similar clause. It might be worth looking into.

Re:NAMD License (1)

Adam Hazzlebank (970369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085657)

I find this cause, and the NAMD one quite obnoxious. It's not really ethical to demand that someone cite your paper in their work, even though they quite obviously will in any case (if you didn't a referee is almost certainly going to pick you up on it).

Re:NAMD License (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086155)

The NAMD license [uiuc.edu] has a similar clause. It might be worth looking into.

Personally I think this is silly/stupid. If this was the only game in town for the work I was doing I'd hire a student to reverse engineer the algorithms and release it under BSD/GPL.

(Of course you're entitled to release the stuff you wrote under whatever license you want, but that doesn't make it a smart choice.)

Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic (2, Interesting)

BarneyRubble (180091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085067)

The Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license looks
like what you need

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It allows others to modify and adapt your work as long
as they attribute the original in the manner specified by you.

Re:Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085149)

I don't think that will work.

It would work if there was a section reading: 'YOU ARE FREE: to use the software or any derivative and publish any output produced. UNDER THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS: you must attribute the use of the software in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

CC BY SA currently has nothing specifying conditions that must be filled regarding the results of the program.

Unnecessary and Silly (5, Insightful)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085071)

Your academic papers don't have such a licensce. They are cited because it's considered unethical not to do so. The same would apply to using your source code.

Also, your license can't actually enforce the citation clause. I mean whoever uses the code won't necessarily be the same person who writes the paper. Additionally I have some doubts that the kind of clause you are interested in would be legally enforceable.

Science works because we trust other scientists to cite our work if they use it. If we kept our work secret unless other scientists signed agreements to do so nothing would get done.

Re:Unnecessary and Silly (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085099)

But you might want to consider one of the many licenses that prevent intermediate parties from passing on the source code with all references to your group stripped out.

To elaborate on my prior comment it's not clear to me whether merely using a copy of your code for research purposes without passing it on would be covered as a type of fair use and hence not require accepting the license in the first place.

Re:Unnecessary and Silly (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085563)

That's not how fair use works - using an entire piece would never fall under fair use, under any definition or description I've read. Also, references to the group cannot be stripped out if they're part of the licensing conditions, even under the BSD license.

The submitter should trust that paper authors will cite properly if they've used the software to obtain scientifically relevant results. Any paper that doesn't cite the software used is pretty useless anyway, the reader won't know where they got the relevant result from. Here's an example [valgrind.org] of existing practice in this area by a software author. I would say your supervisor is being impractical if they insist on doing more than that, a cite clause would probably put off a lot of users and packagers.

Re:Unnecessary and Silly (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085195)

Why not look at some of licenses to come out of academia, the MIT license (from MIT) and the BSD license (from UCB), or the University of Illinois Open Source license? All of these are roughly equivalent. There are a few issues:
  • If your work was publicly funded, then a permissive license is the only ethical solution, since it is the only way of ensuring that your work benefits those who funded it.
  • Citation, as you point out, is an ethical issue, not a legal one. If someone uses your work and doesn't cite you, then this is unethical. Pursuing them legally is expensive (will your organisation fund this?) while a letter to the editor of the publishing journal is cheap and more likely to have the desired effect. If you include a note in the documentation suggesting the paper to cite, most people will (it's easier than thinking, and bulks out the references section...)
  • You are in academia. Your value as an academic is measured by your reputation. The more people use (or are aware of) your work, the greater this reputation will be. Any clause in a license which limits distribution or use is going to harm your reputation in the long run.

Re:Unnecessary and Silly (1)

Adam Hazzlebank (970369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085697)

You are in academia. Your value as an academic is measured by your reputation. The more people use (or are aware of) your work, the greater this reputation will be. Any clause in a license which limits distribution or use is going to harm your reputation in the long run.

As an academic I for one would find this clause obnoxious and avoid using your software if at all possible.

The poster should also be aware that most academic institutions assign copyright to the author of the software (as long as the software is not of commercial value) you are therefore free to make your software available under any license you please. To avoid a dispute with your supervisor you could dual license it (GPL and BSD with a citation clause for example).

Re:Unnecessary and Silly (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085931)

I'd avoid the GPL for academic work. One of my supervisor's former students released a library under the GPL, and it was completely ignored in terms of attributed use. At least one company has produced (successful) products violating the license (bugs and symbols match) but the university doesn't intend to sue them and the former student doesn't have the funds to do so personally. If he had released it under a more permissive license, then they would have had no reason not to credit him. There are now a number of independent implementations of the same algorithms, and people use derivatives of those and cite them instead of his work.

Re:Unnecessary and Silly (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085265)

I'm with you. Making it a legal requirement is silly.

The other option is to add a note asking people to PLEASE cite the paper when using results derived from the program. Stick the citation in the command-line output or display it prominently (or a link to it) in the window of the program. There's nothing wrong with making such a request and it doesn't prevent the software from being considered "free". It's what I do.

If you make it easy for people to find the information needed to properly cite it, is there any legitimate reason not to do so in an academic environment? Not that I can see. It's sloppy not to say which tools you are using, and if there is a published paper describing them, it is discourteous not to cite it.

Having a proper citation makes it easy to track who is using the work (e.g., it will probably show up in the Science Citation Index [wikipedia.org] ), and that makes it easier to justify to granting agencies that it is worthwhile to continue to support it financially.

Personally, I would never make such a citation manditory, but I would encourage people to do the right thing and, like I said, make it easy for them to find the correct citation information.

Re:Unnecessary and Silly (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085435)

Best of all, provide a short list of papers about the software and BibTeX for all of them somewhere easy-to-find in the program documentation. I've only used one program that did this, but it makes life a lot easier when writing a paper relating to it - rather than having to hunt some vaguely-relevant reference, you just paste the BibTeX into your .bib file and you're done.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085491)

Ask people to cite it at the beginning. You could have a lawyer do a "by turning to page 2, you agree...," but I think it would basically never be worth the cost of enforcing that agreement--although it might make people more likely to take your request seriously.

(Or is might make them think you're an blowhard.)

Re:Unnecessary and Silly (2, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085501)

Your academic papers don't have such a licensce. They are cited because it's considered unethical not to do so. The same would apply to using your source code.

Yeah. Also, if someone uses the code to do calculations they're going to publish, then the publication is going to need to include enough information so that readers will be able to determine how the calculations worked. The easiest and most straightforward way for to accomplish that is simply to give a reference to the paper describing the code. As a concrete example, when I was a grad student and postdoc doing nuclear physics, I used this [matfys.lth.se] program to do a lot of my calculations. Every time I published a paper that included those calculations, I needed to give a reference to T. Bengtsson, Nucl. Phys. A496, 56 (1989), because that was the only way to supply the reader with enough information to be able to understand (and possibly reproduce) exactly what I'd done.

Science works because we trust other scientists to cite our work if they use it. If we kept our work secret unless other scientists signed agreements to do so nothing would get done.

Yep. And the flip side of the ethical necessity for giving proper citations is that it's totally unethical to try to force someone to cite your work via some kind of artificial legal mechanism. Getting your work cited is the gold coin of academia, just as getting votes is the gold coin of politics. Forcing someone to cite your paper against their best judgment is as unethical as forcing someone to vote for you against their best judgment.

Re:Unnecessary and Silly (1)

poincaraux (114797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085641)

"Your academic papers don't have such a licensce. They are cited because it's considered unethical not to do so. The same would apply to using your source code."

You'd certainly think so, but it turns out that lots and lots of people either 1) don't mention the software at all or 2) mention the software by name, but don't include a citation.

People often think 2) is OK because it allows people to reproduce the results of the paper.

I happen to have a decent amount of experience with this, haven written some software that's used in at least 10x more papers than the number in which it's cited.

Plagiarism (2, Insightful)

holizz (737615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085093)

It's not like they can use your work without attribution in academic papers, since that would be plagiarism, right? So any specific clause that required citation would be unnecessary.

How do you prove where that output came from? (1)

cheebie (459397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085103)

How in the world would you enforce such a licensing clause? Unless the output is DRMed in some way, they could just remove any markings that indicate it came from your program. Besides, an ethical researcher using your program would already cite the source of the data and an unethical researcher would just ignore any stipulations in the license.

Use the oldest and best License (2, Interesting)

aauu (46157) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085111)

Use a BSD License. This license goes back to the 1970s.

Ask nicely. (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085117)

To be honest, I think your best option is: "Ask nicely."

Seriously, academia and publishing and citation is a massive reputation system. It almost entirely works on the honor system, with formal inquiries occurring (rarely) when there are major transgressions. Let's say you find or write some complicated open-source license that requires citation. The code will still be available. Unscrupulous people could still use the code and publish without citation. Do you really think you (or your supervisor) would ever bother suing them? I highly doubt it. But you would certainly spread the word that these researchers don't cite properly. You would certainly bring up this issue during peer review. This is where the real damage to them will occur.

So, my recommendation is to just skip the middle-man, and don't bother with the unconventional FOSS license (which would just confuse people who want to use the software but won't ever publish anything). Wherever you post the code, just include a prominent request (on webpage, in README, and code headers) along the lines of "If you publish any work that uses this software, please cite XXX." Most scientists would be happy to add that citation. The only ones who wouldn't are the ones who try to pass off other's work as their own: do you really think they care about respecting copyright?

This is, at least, the procedure used in my field. Publish your paper. Release the code using a standard FOSS license.. Add a citation request. Done.

Re:Ask nicely. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085387)

just include a prominent request [...] along the lines of "If you publish any work that uses this software, please cite XXX." Most scientists would be happy to add that citation. The only ones who wouldn't are the ones who try to pass off other's work as their own: do you really think they care about respecting copyright?

Well said. A nice, simple and polite approach. One could safely delete all other posts on this topic, and it would be fully and succinctly answered here.

Re:Ask nicely. (1)

Adam Hazzlebank (970369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085713)

To be honest, I think your best option is: "Ask nicely."

Agreed, including a citation requirement is more likely to get my back up and make me reconsidering using your code than anything else.

BSD, MIT, etc licenses (4, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085127)

The BSD license is from UC Berkeley, the MIT license is of course from MIT, llvm is from the University of Illinois / NCSA and uses a license almost identical to the BSD license, etc. For some reason, this sort of "free as in knowledge" type license seems to be rather popular among educational institutions.

My supervisor insists there should be a citation clause, requiring any published article that uses results of the software to cite our paper.

That is a restriction on how it can be used, and I seriously doubt it is at all compatible with Open Source. It certainly wouldn't be compatible with Free-as-in-FSF software.

pointless (3, Insightful)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085129)

If they use your software in a manner that, from an academic point of view, requires citation, then they are going to cite you anyway if they are honest.

If they use your software in a manner that, from an academic point of view, does not require citation, then your clause puts them in a difficult position. For example, their editor might insist the citation be removed, but then your license kicks in.

Besides, how are you going to enforce this anyway? Are you going to sue? What kind of damages and remedies are you going to put in there?

I have been there: just use a standard license. (5, Insightful)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085135)

Just pick a standard OSI license, tell people who want to cite it how they can, and trust that it will work out. Don't try to force people to use your software in any peculiar way, even if that way does not seem "evil."

I asked a related question here [slashdot.org] several years ago. I have completed my schooling and released some open source software, some of which has been used and cited.

Copyright licenses generally protect holders from having others distribute their works in a way that they do not want. They do not place many restrictions on how the legally obtained work can be used. You might be able to use an end user license agreement that attempts to mandate citation & worse restrictions (such as not being able to publish software benchmarks) have certainly been imposed. Some authors even mandate registration before others can receive the source code & can then see who may be using but not citing their software. But I think this may actually be counterproductive & it certainly wouldn't be considered free software.

Academic integrity necessitates describing your work accurately in such a way that others can reproduce it. To do this, others will need to say what software they used to obtain the results they publish & they should choose to cite you. This won't always happen, but it will probably happen more frequently than you or your advisor think. It is certainly valid to write or call other academics who you know use your program and ask that they cite your paper in the future. In extreme situations, you can send a note to the editor of the journal that considers such papers that didn't cite your work & most editors will err on the side of strongly encouraging authors to add a citation.

Most other free/open source software that is used a lot in the sciences does not have a EULA of the type you subscribe, yet many are popular & are cited. They may have a FAQ entry or a mention in their README on what should be cited, but they don't try to make it legally binding.

You should ask yourself why you want to release it as free and open source software. Presumably, you hope that others will use it (obscurity is a worse threat than piracy) & maybe even to help you improve it. You also probably want to obtain some kind of academic prestige (which can come not only in the form of citation, but also from name recognition of both the program and the authors of that software). The best way to get this to happen is to write a solid piece of work that can do something that other works that cost (financially, time invested, and responsibilities involved) the same or less can't do as well and that other people want to do. Use a standard FSF/DFSG/OSI license (such as the GPL) & trust that everything else will work out. Getting quirky will discourage use of your software.

Don't Forget Copyright (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085137)

You can state that the materials can be reproduced as long as the copyright note is maintained showing authorship.

We surf slashdot, not publish papers and code! (2, Funny)

h4x354x0r (1367733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085139)

You'll give the rest of us a bad name if you actually produce anything. Stop that.

Remember what you're licensing (1)

Maximalist (949682) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085145)

Licensing software is a copyright concept (unless you've patented it). Folks only need a license (and can only be bound by one) if they're infinging on one of the copyright monopolies: making copies, distributing copies, and making derivative works.

So you can only attach conditions of any sort if your proposed licensees will be doing any of those acts. It doesn't sound to me like you could build a license to covers your desire to get credit in papers when somebody has simply used your software. Use of software is not (under most reasonable interpretations of the law, MAI vs. Peak notwithstanding) something that triggers the need for a copyright license.

Use comments! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085147)

Why not incorporate the paper and the code together in the forms of extreme commentary? That should strike an appropriate balance I would think.

Standard citation expectations work pretty well (1)

ganv (881057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085169)

In my field, researchers have usually just published it with an open source license and relied on the standard academic citation expectations to lead the people that use it to cite their work. It has worked pretty well. The drawback is that after a few years they become a part of the general knowledge base that doesn't get cited anymore for standard usage...but that seems to be about as it should be.

Separation of the church and state. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085199)

Re-write the paper putting a restriction that it not mention the code.

The B is BSD is for some university called Berkley (2, Interesting)

cullenfluffyjennings (138377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085205)

The important thing to have cited is your results in your paper, not your software. Many academic institutions have been writing open source software for a long time, in fact many of the open source licensees that are used every day come from software that was developed in academic institutions. Things like MIT license, much of the motivation behind the GNU license, BSD, the list goes on. None of them require attribution.

Not a Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085213)

There is already a system for enforcing citation.
It's called referees and editors. It works a lot
better than licenses and lawyers ever will.

I currently have 8 contributed packages on
CRAN [r-project.org] .
All have conventional open source licenses.
None say anything about citation.

However R does have a "citation" function that
tells users how to cite R and how to cite R
packages.

Citations are cheap. Scientists will cite if
you just tell them how. It helps if you are
part of a well understood system, so citation
is simple.

what's wrong with priority? (1, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085223)

I publish a paper on new research, I get priority, no amount of pissing about by other people removes that priority, regardless of what may be attempted.

I am, and remain, the originator of that work, it cannot be patented by anyone else, or copyrighted, because my own work precedes that of any other. My permission must be sought, and even if given, cannot ever remove my priority.

Further developments based on it may be copyrightable by others, but this again does not remove my priority on the original research.

That's been the case for hundreds of years.

If you're wanting to ensure others cannot use your work for anything without express permission, that's a different issue, and why would you want to do that for academic research?

If its being done for business, and being financed by a company, the issue is moot, they own it.
If not, quit whining, you are either a scientist who wants to share their work openly (for which priority is fine), or a scientifically minded businessman who wants to turn a buck. Either is fine, but if your a business type, don't screw around, admit you want to make money and copyright/patent your work.

In the UK all you have to do is write your name on a work, and its copyrighted anyway, not sure about the US.

As for code? Well I've used the GPL for all my research related code, and I've had no problems.

Re:what's wrong with priority? (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086431)

I publish a paper on new research, I get priority, no amount of pissing about by other people removes that priority, regardless of what may be attempted.

However, when you are trying to get a grant, or tenure, or a promotion, the boards examining your work will want to know if it has had any impact. Citations to it indicate impact.

MIT license + extra restrictions clause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085233)

What I've commonly seen is the GPL / MIT / whatever license with an extra condition tacked in. The MIT license for example, has a section for additional restrictions sitting right there. In some software I've released, I wanted to use the MIT license, but depending on how the user builds it, it acquires the GPL restrictions. So I just put that rider in the MIT extra-stuff section.

Don't enforce, request (1)

prayag (1252246) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085241)

The problem is that the OP (or his boss) wants people who use their software to cite their paper which also uses this software. I make sure to cite the software in my papers but I generally link to the homepage of software.

You can release the software under GPL and add a ReadMe requesting that the user cite your paper instead of linking to the webpage. May be adding the BibTex of the paper as well. I am sure that researchers would be glad to add the citation considering they have to cite anyways (researchers are morally and ethically bound to)

Trolling for unwarranted citations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085259)

Looking from the outside, it seems to me your supervisor wants to use a "citation clause" to artificially inflate the citation count for this paper. The number of citations is a metric for academic performance when your super comes up for promotion or tenure. The administration at your school may think that's fine and dandy, but to me it's called "gaming the system". Please reveal the super's name so I can look for other more "authoritative" references and avoid giving him citations. People who work that way should be flipping burgers, not doing research. That's my way of gaming the system!

Just release it, it'll get cited (1)

bmwm3nut (556681) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085273)

In any code I release, the comments at the top state which paper should be cited if this code is used. Academics are all smart enough to know that they should cite papers and code, so just make it easy by pointing to what you want the citation to say. Everyone of importance will cite your paper/code without issue.

R asks nicely, and makes it easy (2, Informative)

Zarmvenius (321933) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085287)

Take a look at http://cran.r-project.org/doc/FAQ/R-FAQ.html#Citing-R

Most papers to use R (or other statistical software) will in fact cite it. R makes this easy, by providing built-in citation strings. Do this, and well-behaved researchers will cite your software.

Don't over-complicate this (1)

aremstar (1142513) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085329)

The work of the published paper is protected by the publisher. The copyright release form does just that -- transfers the copyright from the author to the publisher (i.e. ACM, IEEE, Springer-Verlag, etc.). As other posters pointed out just pick a license that suits your needs to cover the code. If you are distributing the code online include a LICENSE.txt file or include your chosen license at the header of every source file. Ridiculous and complicated instructions (such as the famously outrageous instructions by the publishers of "Numerical Recipes in C" http://www.nr.com/com/info-copyright.html [nr.com] , below) will only annoy your fellow academics.

If you are the individual owner of a copy of this book, we hereby authorize you to type into your computer, for your own personal and noncommercial use, one machine-readable copy of each program. You are not authorized to transfer or distribute a machine-readable copy to any other person.

In my experience in the academic world very rarely somebody uses (code, ideas, etc.) without citing. And if that happens you can name-them-and-shame-them.

Re:Don't over-complicate this (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086283)

s/protect/appropriate/ig

Claiming copyright on a work you had nothing to do with isn't "protection", and if a judgment were awarded, I doubt the author would receive any of the damages.

The only reason scientists write articles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085335)

The only reason scientists write articles is to be cited!
Seriously, citations are the currency with which a professor gets promoted, tenured, and invited to give talks. There are awards for being highly cited.
Besides, citation is basically an acknowledgement. Using someone else's work without acknowledgement, is, to me, pretty wrong.

Explanation should be (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085363)

Licenses can and should restrict use of source code.

Results are obtained by using the software, not by using the source code. A source code license cannot restrict use of the compiled software, because it is out of the scope of copyright law.

There is no law against using source code you were able to download and doing what you like with the results. You don't have to accept a software license of any kind to be able to do what you want with the results.

Your end user has to accept and follow a software license to modify and distribute a copyright work, or to perform other acts restricted by copyright law.

The data in a table of results is not a copyright work; they're just the facts of that run of a computer program.

To legally restrict use of results: you require instead a EULA or a contract. Which also makes the software not considered 'Open'

It is better to use a license that requires maintaining copyright disclaimers for distributions of the source code, for example, GPLv2 (since GPLv3 is considered bad).

Or say the Open Software License [opensource.org]

Or if you wish to not require source code distribution in derivative works: MIT License [opensource.org] , Academic Free License [opensource.org] , or a Creative Commons Attribution [creativecommons.org] license.

Your school's legal team (2, Insightful)

ring-eldest (866342) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085373)

How about you talk to the lawyers your school keeps around for this kind of stuff? Since you're going to be obligated to follow whatever their rules are anyway, you might as well defer to them now instead of after their lawsuit.

Such a license already exist - the old BSD license (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085433)

Dude,
Just go with the old BSD license. I believe you're looking at Clause 4, iirc.

Citation clause (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085449)

> Also, it is not a restriction on use of the software per se...

Yes it is, and with it your software will never be included in any major Linux distribution.

BTW is your suoervisor actually the author of any of the software? If not perhaps you could keep him happy by attaching his terms to the copies of the software distributed with the paper and then release it under your preferred terms elsewhere.

Who Dares(Publishes First), Wins (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085457)

In the Diamond Age, ownership of an idea is significant. For example, the blinking light on an Ethernet card. The inventor of the concept patented the idea, another company used the idea without communicating it to the inventor. The inventor's resulting favorable ruling can be found at. WAIT! You sound like a pretty smart person, go find it yourself. And of course, after all those hours of searching, I maybe not telling you the truth. Personally speaking, it's good to see students learning the various aspects of knowledge. I hope you use the same energy in your "Ethics, and Logic" class, that you used in your introduction to elementary software engineering class.

Relevant Quote (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085477)

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If you're ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."

--Howard Aiken (maybe)

Try the ALPS license (1)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085481)

Algorithms and Libraries for Physics Simulations [comp-phys.org] has two licenses, one for the basic libraries and one for applications. They both require citations as a condition of use. Library [comp-phys.org] license and applications [comp-phys.org] license.

The important bit is common to both licenses:

This license grants permission to use, reproduce, display, distribute, execute and transmit the Software, and to prepare derivative works of the Software, and to permit others to do so for non-commercial academic use, all subject to the following conditions:
1. In any scientific publication based wholly or in part on the Software, the use of the Software must be acknowledged and the publications listed in the accompanying CITATIONS.txt document must be cited.

Aside from this clause, the library and application licenses are based (loosly) on the (version 2) LGPL and GPL respectively.

Best way to get citations... (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085551)

...is to tell people which paper they should cite. People will cite something when referencing your software. Because it is required and because there is no reason NOT to cite your paper.

However, sometimes, you don't know which paper to cite. To avoid this, you should tell people which of your papers describes best your software. Moreover, it will concentrate citation on a single paper which is usually better.

The only solution is AGPL license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085567)

I think that a clause that impose citation on program results is always void. A clause that require citation on paper based on program result is probably always void. From a paper can derive others papers and for sure these cannot be under your license.

A license is valid only if there is the copyright statement:

      Copyright (C) Year1, Year2, ... YearN Name1, Name2, ... NameN

      where
      * YearX is a year where the code has been modified
      * NameX is the name of a copyright holder

Also you can add WEB address:
      site: http://myuniversity.univ/myresearch_paper.html [myuniversity.univ]

You can use as NameX your name, your professor's name, ... the institute name, ...

When one person use your software to make a derivate work or distribute it unaltered he must not cancel or alter the copyright statement (if the license do not let do that). So all people can see that the original work is your and can see the WEB address that you have choose.

If one make a new paper with your software or a derived one, he can must distribute the source (if you have choose a right license, for example GPL, AGPL, ...) and if one read the source he found your copyright.

Now I only know that AGPL give you a better protection: it require that it someone make a derivate work and let people to access the binary program with a network (for example internet), than he must also redistribute the source with the modification (and your copyright statement).

So all people who look the source can see something like this:

####
Copyright (C) 2008 MyName, MyProfessor, MyUniversity
E-Mail: MyProjectEmail
home: http://myprojectsite/ [myprojectsite]

This file is distributed under AGPL license.
####

For more detail read the AGPL text on http://www.gnu.org/ [gnu.org]

Here is what the Univ of California campuses use: (1)

jeeves99 (187755) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085633)

We've never had a problem with someone using our software without citing us appropriately. Most cases people *want* to cite us because it justifies how they used it in their own work and helps them get the paper accepted by the reviewers. If your boss is worried about people not citing your software, then your software is completely derivative anyways (your software does more than just compute the mean, right?).

We were worried about big-pharma companies using our software for drug discovery, so we had UC give us license text that does the following...
- Gives full rights for non-commercial entities to use and modify the software as long as the notice is retained.
- Absolves UC of any damages that might result from using the software
- If you are a commercial entity, you cannot use the software until you contact the University and setup a licensing agreement.

Here is that license text....

-----------------
Citation: First Author, et al. Journal of Whatever (2008)
-----------------
Copyright 2008 The Regents of the University of California
All Rights Reserved

Permission to use, copy, modify and distribute any part of this software for educational, research and non-profit purposes, without fee, and without a written agreement is hereby granted, provided that the above citation and copyright notice, this paragraph and the following three paragraphs appear in all copies.

Those desiring to incorporate this software into commercial products or use for commercial purposes should contact the Technology Transfer & Intellectual Property Services, University of California,

IN NO EVENT SHALL THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BE LIABLE TO ANY PARTY FOR DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING LOST PROFITS, ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

THE SOFTWARE PROVIDED HEREIN IS ON AN "AS IS" BASIS, AND THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA HAS NO OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE MAINTENANCE, SUPPORT, UPDATES, ENHANCEMENTS, OR MODIFICATIONS. THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS AND EXTENDS NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER IMPLIED OR EXPRESS, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR THAT THE USE OF THE SOFTWARE WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY PATENT, TRADEMARK OR OTHER RIGHTS.

And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085663)

Ok, let's say someone breaks your precious license. Are you actually going to sue them?
Also, if people are going to plagiarise then most Universities I know of will kick you out whether your a student or a professor

Don't invent licences; specifics of research soft (1)

basiles (626992) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085683)

I agree with the previous poster. Don't invent your own license, and use a general purpose free software license (like the GPL). In addition, usually academic software (particularily in fields which are not computer science) is very often extremly specialized, and very often only academics will want to use it. Hence, in practice, your concern should be more that your software is used (and hence, academic credit is given thru citations) than anything else. Your fellow researchers will certainly cite you if they try your software.

erm...! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085695)

Sounds to me like your supervisor has completely missed the point of open source and proper academic procedure. Hats off!

take a different approach (1)

lazarus corporation (701348) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085699)

"in academia, the issue of attribution and citation is very important" - true, but strictly speaking it's the attribution and citation of other research, not the research tools. After all, you don't find many research papers citing that they were typed on Microsoft Word with tables created in Microsoft Excel.

However, you've tried to convince them of this and they still want to go ahead, and it's your job to sort it out to their specifications. So...

The ideal solution would be to make the software so damn good that citing the use of your software in their publications is a good way for the external researchers to prove the integrity of their data analysis.

I might even suggest a reverse-psychology strategy with something along the lines of:

"You may only cite the use of {SOFTWARE} to guarantee the integrity of your data analysis if all data analysis has been done with {SOFTWARE}."

...and then provide a few suitable icons like this one:

http://validator.w3.org/images/valid_icons/valid-xhtml10 [w3.org]

Publishing Ethics (2, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085725)

"...what do other academic Slashdotters do?"

I always provide attribution because it's part of the rest of the ethics of science. But for code, don't expect everyone to continue to attribute the paper itself, just the source lab and university. We use the EEG system most common to labs like ours. Everyone mentions the vendor in their work, but nobody mentions the validation papers and review of same. Similarly, everyone mentions what statistical analyses they use, but hardly anyone would even know where to begin to find the original publications validating them. If the code becomes widely accepted, expect it to become commonplace enough that the lab and university get mentioned, but not the paper.

And to be that widely accepted, you'd need to either provide ample validation in this publication, or better plan on doing a validation paper as a follow up. Enlisting similar labs for the latter would give your analysis more weight and them a worry-free pub, and everyone wins. If your analysis doesn't happen to be novel enough to warrant this (say, it's a mash up of previously known analyses) then your validation is reference of the sources, but it's not something you can expect much referencing to.

court cases and copyright clauses (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085763)

A couple of points.

First, I would go with one of the Creative Commons license which require attribution and possibly share alike, and put the citation info in the README or similar file. Most people will *gladly* cite your work, and if you make it easy for them to know which citation needs to be used you make their life *much* easier -- not: I have spent weeks trying to track this kind of thing down in the past. I also have a project on the back burner looking into a numerical instability in an open source package. When the analysis is completed I will need to document the impact to the community and the literature. While the original publication has been cited a couple hundred times there is also a few thousand projects (mostly in the grey literature) that has used it and not properly cited the reference. So, improper citation happens all the time (from sloppiness), but there is little you can do about it but my experience is that most people are glad to cite the original work.

Second, in the US anybody can sue anybody...

There has been a number of court cases where CC, GPL, and other such licenses has been tried in US and international courts, and yes they hold up. For example, from wikipedia :

  launched a bus stop ad campaign promoting their cellphone text messaging service using the work of amateur photographers who uploaded their work to Flickr using a Creative Commons-by (Attribution) license. Users licensing their images this way freed their work for use by any other entity, as long as the original creator was attributed credit, without any other compensation required. Virgin upheld this single restriction by printing a URL leading to the photographer's Flickr page on each of their ads. However, one picture, depicting 15 year-old Alison Chang at a fund-raising carwash for her church,[20] caused some controversy when she sued Virgin Mobile. The photo was taken by Alison's church youth counselor, Justin Ho-Wee Wong, who uploaded the image to Flickr under the Creative Commons license.[20]
" The case hinges on privacy, the right of people not to have their likeness used in an ad without permission. So, while Mr. Wong may have given away his rights as a photographer, he did not, and could not, give away Alison's rights. In the lawsuit, which Mr. Wong is also a party to, there is an argument that Virgin did not honor all the terms of the nonrestrictive license.

Besides, if they do not properly cite eventually the reputation gets around for them either being sloppy or disreputable -- and that is rarely good. Also, everyone drops a citation, acknowledgment, or may simply not know about some obscure reference, so why attribute to disreputability or malice what could easily be explained by laziness or a bad day. So, my thought on the matter is to just be clear and make it easy...

Hard Code Attribution in Output (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085773)

Easy.

Put comments in the code pleasantly stating your appropriate, legitimate request that users of your code make an attribution in their publication that they used your software to produce data used in the paper.

Right after that comment, code a section that puts, on every page of output or every X output records in the datafile, something like "Output produced by XXX program developed by YYY at ZZZ".

So, the output has your reference in either (or both) a page header/footer and embedded in the output data file. That "stamp" is unavoidable unless someone edits the output files or the program code.

So, that way, you've asked nicely and put your desired attribution in the code; only the people who you couldn't prevent from ignoring your request anyway will bother to defeat your output "stamp".

QED

look at NEST's license (1)

grounded_roamer (794712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085881)

The guys from NEST initiative [http://nest-initiative.org/index.php/Main_Page] had to deal with same issue. They have their own version of GPL, requiring a citation [http://nest-initiative.org/index.php/Software:License].

a related question on open source release (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25085937)

I have a related question, but is slightly OT.

I've gone several rounds with one of the universities tech. transfer legal staff...

I have a a couple of projects before that I have literally thousands of hours invested in before coming to the university. I wanted to be clear about what they, my prior employers, and I own. Basically they said anything that I do while there, they own -- even the bug fixes. At one point the lawyer started yelling at me about circumventing the universities rights when I brought up the topic of open source licensing. In the end I basically told my bosses that I cannot work on the following 6 projects, due to conflict of interest, until I have a memorandum of understanding with the U...

So, my question is how did you get open sourcing past your universities tech. transfer legal staff?

Summarization of the other posts (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085989)

I think what many of the other posts are saying is that you should go with a GPL license and then hope that fellow academics do the right thing and give credit where due. I'd like to further suggest that you request, near the license statement, that the person cite your work. Afterall, the other posts are right, you're not going to sue if someone uses your software without proper citation, so why make it part of the license? Put at the top of each file a polite request to cite and you'll probably get more people doing so than if you bury it in the middle of a license that, honestly, most researchers won't bother to read.

From an academic (1)

Medieval_Thinker (592748) | more than 5 years ago | (#25085997)

FWIW, I publish my materials for conferences, etc. under the GNU Free Documentation License. I have had people ask "So I understand what this means if I want to print your paper and distribute it to my department. What if I want to take your project and modify it for my classes?"

I reply that this is really my hope, and that if they publish it or present on the project, as a fellow academic, I would expect them to cite me as a source. I would also hope that if they improve the materials, they would let me know so that I could benefit.

This is the way the academic world functions.

BSD is minimal but do what you want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086045)

We use BSD that includes a statement about our institutes that cannot be removed from any derivative work. That's the only limitation of the BSD license.

fairly common in computational biology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086199)

NCBI ( http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov ) requests this with several of their software packages, you might have some good luck finding boilerplate text in their downloads that you could copy over.

Copyright statement for open-access journal (1)

jonbaron (578700) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086207)

Other replies have noted that a citation requirement is difficult to enforce but that citation is also a canon of academic ethics. The journal I edit thus "asks nicely" for citation. See http://journal.sjdm.org/copyright.htm [sjdm.org]

use the GPL (2, Interesting)

osssmkatz (734824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086241)

the GPL does have a detailed description of the attribution issue in their preamble. Asking for attribution on GPLed work as a condition of use is perfectly compatible with the GPL license.

(The above refers to GPL v.2)

--Sam

Hardcode Attribution in Output (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25086277)

Ask nicely in the "How To" doc you distribute with the code and everywhere else. Put a comment in the code that asks nicely.

Right after that comment, hardcode into the output (page header/footer or every X records of the output data file) "Data Produced by XXX Program Developed by YYY at ZZZ".

That way the output will be "stamped" with the attribution you seek and only those who wouldn't do what you ask anyway will bother to edit the code or output files.

QED

Use GPL, academics will cite your article anyway (1)

mok000 (668612) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086281)

Like noted by another slashdotter, the citation is only relevant in case someone else uses your program to create results that are later described in a scientific journal.

In such cases, academic authors will cite your paper anyway. At least they should, and such things is one of the things that reviewer s will check.

My advice is to use an already existing free software license. GPL will give you the maximum protection as an author of academic software. In the README file, put a notice giving the reference to your paper, and state that you'd appreciate a citation. In other words, don't make it a part of the license, which will also make it difficult to include your software in various distributions.

Referees should enforce this... (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086299)

If you are refereeing a paper for a scientific journal, and the article just says 'then we crunched the numbers and the answer was 42', then the referee should reject the paper until they cite their computational methods. Otherwise the research isn't reproducible and then it's not science.

Use a well-known license (3, Interesting)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | more than 5 years ago | (#25086327)

Two points to keep in mind:

  • don't write your own license, use a well-known license that people already understand;
  • don't include an advertising clause.

You may be able to convince your supervisor by citing the examples of BSD Unix and X11, which brought fame and money to their creators (the CSG at Berkeley, and project Athena at MIT) while using extremely liberal licenses -- the MIT/X11 license (which is what I use for my research) and the 4-clause BSD license, albeit with the advertising clause not being enforced.

You may also want to cite the following anegdote. Two years ago, I was compiling a Linux LiveCD [jussieu.fr] for our first, second and third year undergrads. One of the pieces of software I wanted to include was a Prolog compiler from a well-known Portuguese university which we use in third-year courses.

Unfortunately, the Prolog implementation was covered by a fairly strict license that would significantly complicate our distribution process. After a few exchanges of e-mail with the copyright holders, they told us that we were welcome to do whatever we wanted, but they'd not change the license for us.

After consulting with our legal department, we decided we could not include the Prolog compiler.

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