IUCr response to the Global Information Commons for Science Initiative

Introduction

The Global Information Commons for Science Initiative ( http://www.codata.org/wsis/GICSI-prospectus.html) is sponsored by

  • the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA),
  • the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI),
  • the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP),
  • the World Data Centers (WDC) and
  • the International Council for Science (ICSU),
in collaboration with
  • the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP),
  • the Academies of Science in Developing Countries (TWAS),
  • the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),
  • the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and
  • Science Commons.

It is a multi-stakeholder initiative arising from the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in November 2005. It has the following goals:

  1. improved understanding and increased awareness of the societal benefits of easy access to and use of scientific data and information, particularly those resulting from publicly funded research activities;
  2. wide adoption of successful methods and models for providing open availability on a sustainable basis and facilitating re-use of publicly funded scientific data and information, as well as cooperative sharing of research materials and tools among researchers; and
  3. encouragement and coordination of the efforts of the many stakeholders in the world's diverse scientific community who are engaged in efforts to devise and implement effective means to achieve these objectives, with particular attention to developing countries.
It is intended that all three goals will be promoted through the construction of an online 'open-access knowledge space', as well as specifically targeted projects carried out within the Initiative and in collaboration with its participating stakeholders.

The IUCr response

As a matter of principle, the IUCr will strongly support any initiative that furthers the universal and equitable dissemination of scientific knowledge. The very nature of the scientific endeavour is that it seeks to unlock the secrets of nature through open, critical analysis of objective data, and it can achieve this only through unhindered sharing of data, observations, previous results and publications. Individual scientists and their professional organizations have always been active in protecting basic rights of travel, communication and freedom of thought, and the sense of common involvement in the scientific process transcends national, ethnic, religious or other sectional interests. In this spirit, the IUCr warmly commends the objectives of GICSI in lowering the barriers to dissemination and use of scientific information.

The IUCr response to the GICSI initiative is presented in the following two documents:

  1. The formal response (HTML and PDF formats)
  2. A position paper describing in more detail the considerations behind the items in the formal response (HTML and PDF formats)