Wednesday 17 June 2009

Training in licensing electronic resources

Here’s a course coming up in September for those looking for an introduction to the licensing of electronic resources.

Licences and their Negotiation
To be held in : The City Suite, Thistle City Hotel, Barbican, London, EC1V 8DS
24th September 2009, 9.30-16.30

Course Outline
This practical one day training event is designed to provide Information Professionals with an introduction to the licensing of electronic resources such as e books, e journals and abstracting and indexing services. This course has been designed to introduce the major components of such licences and why they are important, what are the issues that are likely to cause the greatest difficulty, and will introduce issues related to the fine art of negotiating.

Click here for more details on the UKeiG website.

Friday 5 June 2009

Curation and consent. How much is too much?

I’m researching a DCC Legal Watch Paper at the moment, focussing on consent in research (looking at both the legal and the ethical angles). I have been thinking about all this from a curation perspective. With the potential for reuse of resources or data being an important goal in terms of curation, a key question arises which is:

“What use of their data did the participant consent to?”

The answer to this question has a massive bearing on the useability of that data down the line.

So, for example, did the participant consent to:

  1. only use A (by researcher A); or
  2. use A but by any researcher; or
  3. use A (by researcher A) and use B (by researcher B); or
  4. researcher A transferring the data to researcher B (crucial if option 3 is to be of any practical use and only researcher A has the data); or
  5. use of their data by anyone for any purposes.

Of course, some of the answers could be found in the wording of the consent form (N.B. consent is rarely required by law to be in writing but it is still very wise to secure it that way) but my question is about the picture behind it and the legal and ethical appropriateness of what is written in that form – as well as the effectiveness of that consent for enabling scientific progress.

In an era of open approaches to data, the idea of global consent is quite appealing. It ensures that useful data remains useable (IP and contract considerations aside) and ‘open’. But consenting to any use of your personal data...? It has been said that one of the best things about making data open is the things that will be done with it and created by other researchers that you simply would never have thought of. But when it comes to your personal data (i.e. data about you, that identifies you) are you happy to give consent for it to be used in ways you have never imagined? The answer to this may be yes or no, and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Aside from personal feelings on this matter, would such a wide consent be considered legal? Would it be ethical?

What do you think?