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Howard Flack                        mailto:Howard.Flack@cryst.unige.ch

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Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 11:45:52 +0200
From: Alan Hewat <hewat@ill.fr>, =?iso-8859-1?Q?Fran=E7aise?=@lmcp.jussieu.fr,
 de@lmcp.jussieu.fr, Cristallographie@lmcp.jussieu.fr
Subject: Copyright and databases - l'Association
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A letter has recently been circulated to the heads of many laboratories
requesting them to donate CIF files created by scientists in their
laboratory to an open database (COD). It states:<br>
<i>&nbsp;&quot;a simple letter or email agreement is enough - we will
proceed to incorporate the structures in the databases for the papers in
which your Laboratory appears&quot;. <br><br>
</i>The objective of this initiative is to avoid paying for the existing
<i>&quot;If we consider that 20 laboratories (looks reasonable for France
for instance) are regularly updating their actual database, say they
spend 1500 Euro per year, it is 30 kEuro national expense for
</i>On the WWW pages for COD, it is implied that these CIF files may be
copied from the existing databases. However, the conditions of use of the
Karlsruhe ICSD (inorganic) and Cambridge CCDC (organic) databases
explicitly exclude the re-publication of data extracted from them.
<a href="http://www.fiz-informationsdienste.de/en/agb/icsd.html" eudora="autourl">http://www.fiz-informationsdienste.de/en/agb/icsd.html</a><br>
&quot;Information retrieved from the database shall not be passed on to
third parties not belonging to the group of authorised
Individuals who break these conditions of use are open to a number of
penalties. The idea that heads of laboratories can simply give permission
for the copying of data created by scientists working in their labs. is
strange. No permission is needed if the data is extracted from the
original publication, and no-one except the owner can give permission to
re-publish data copied from another database in defiance of the legal
conditions of use.<br><br>
It should also be remembered that the IUCr has a formal agreement with
the publishers of the ICSD, such that academic crystallographers obtain
the database at a much reduced price. The Karlsruhe and Cambridge
databases are produced by European laboratories, like CNRS. They are not
the &quot;Microsofts of Crystallography&quot;. <br><br>
The database charges pay for the work needed to check and enter the data,
write the software, distribute it etc. The COD people pretend that they
can do this for &quot;free&quot; (in their spare time?), using the WWW.
They forget that ICSD has been available on WWW for &quot;free&quot; for
many years now, for all academics in several countries -
<a href="http://www.fiz-informationsdienste.de/en/DB/icsd/" eudora="autourl">http://www.fiz-informationsdienste.de/en/DB/icsd/</a>.
ICSD contains 65,000 checked entries, compared to the few thousand
unchecked entries in COD. (An incomplete database is not very useful).
National organisations such as the UK-EPSRC pay for nation-wide licences
for ICSD and other crystallographic databases. If more countries would do
this, the price of these databases would be even lower.<br><br>
When I read the discussion about the setting up of COD on
<a href="http://sdpd.univ-lemans.fr/cod/Advisory-Board.txt" eudora="autourl">http://sdpd.univ-lemans.fr/cod/Advisory-Board.txt</a>,
I find that an American organisation has donated the software for COD,
and has indeed expressed the wish to replace ICSD. This may be fair
competition, so long as they retrieve the data themselves from the
original publications, and not simply copy it from ICSD and CCDC.
But I do not believe that European crystallographers have an interest in
undermining the existing databases, which are produced by other European
laboratories, and I believe that many people in positions of
responsibility will share my view.<br><br>
<div>Dr Alan W. Hewat, Diffraction Group Leader.</div>
<div>Institut Laue-Langevin, BP 156X Grenoble FRANCE 38042</div>
<div>fax (33) tel (33) (or .26 Mme Guillermet)
<a href="http://www.ill.fr/dif/AlanHewat.htm" EUDORA=AUTOURL>http://www.ill.fr/dif/AlanHewat.htm</a></div>

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