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Revised statement of policy on CIF and STAR Files

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <comcifs-l@iucr.org>
  • Subject: Revised statement of policy on CIF and STAR Files
  • From: Brian McMahon <bm@iucr.org>
  • Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 12:49:56 +0100 (BST)
Syd has asked me to post a further revision. This retains the spirit of
the last draft, which seemed to gain broad approval, but is extended
specifically to address the STAR File and DDL dictionary files. If there are
no objections to this, we shall post it as a public draft and begin actively
lobbying developers to shake off their concerns and continue developing
CIF/STAR software for the community.



           The IUCr Policy for the Protection and the Promotion 
                   of the STAR File and CIF Standards 
             for Exchanging and Archiving Electronic Data.



The Crystallographic Information File (CIF)[1] is a standard for information
interchange promulgated by the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr).
CIF (Hall, Allen & Brown, 1991) is the recommended method for submitting
publications to Acta Crystallographica Section C and reports of crystal
structure determinations to other sections of Acta Crystallographica and many
other journals. The syntax of a CIF is a subset of the more general STAR 
File[2] format. The CIF and STAR File approaches are used increasingly in 
the structural sciences for data exchange and archiving, and are having a
significant influence on these activities in other fields. 



The IUCr's interest in the STAR File is as a general data interchange
standard for science, and its interest in the CIF, a conformant derivative
of the STAR File, is as a concise data exchange and archival standard 
for crystallography and structural science.



To protect the STAR File and the CIF as standards for interchanging and 
archiving electronic data, the IUCr, on behalf of the scientific community,

      * holds the copyrights on the standards themselves,

      * owns the associated trademarks and service marks, and

      * holds a patent on the STAR File.

These intellectual property claims relate solely to the interchange formats.


The sole requirement that the IUCr, in its protective role, imposes on 
software purporting to process STAR File or CIF data is that the following 
conditions be met prior to sale or distribution.

*  Software claiming to READ files written to either the STAR File or the 
   CIF standard must be able to extract the pertinent data from a file 
   conformant to the STAR File syntax, or the CIF syntax, respectively.

*  Software claiming to WRITE files in either the STAR File, or the CIF,
   standard must produce files that are conformant to the STAR File syntax, 
   or the CIF syntax, respectively.

*  Software claiming to READ definitions from a specific data dictionary 
   APPROVED BY THE IUCr must be able to extract any pertinent definition 
   which is conformant to the dictionary definition language (DDL)[3] 
   associated with that dictionary.

The IUCr, through its Committee on CIF Standards, will assist any developer
to verify that software meets these conformance conditions.


Copyright in the information stored in a STAR File or a CIF remains with the 
originator of that information ("the author") or such other body to which 
such rights have been voluntarily transferred by the author. These files are 
intended for information transfer, and may be copied, transferred or 
incorporated in larger data collections so long as the rights of the author 
(or copyright assignee) are preserved and respected.



[1] CIF:       is a data file conformant to the file syntax defined at  
               http://www.iucr.org/iucr-top/cif/[...URL to be completed...]

[2] STAR File: is a data file conformant to the file syntax defined at  
               http://www.iucr.org/iucr-top/cif/[...URL to be completed...]

[3] DDL:       is a language used in a data dictionary to define data 
               items in terms of "attributes". Dictionaries currently 
               approved by the IUCr, and the DDL versions used to 
               construct these dictionaries, are listed at  
               http://www.iucr.org/iucr-top/cif/[...URL to be completed...]


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