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Best Practices for Managing IP in Citizen Science

Teresa Scassa and Haewon Chung have published a blog post summarizing their two new reports and accompanying brief on the intellectual property issues of cReportcoveritizen science:

Titled Best Practices for Managing Intellectual Property Rights in Citizen Sciencethis brief is a guide for both citizen science researchers and participants. It covers topics such as the reasons why IP rights should be taken into account in citizen science, the types of rights that are relevant, how they might arise, and how they can be managed. We provide an explanation of licensing, giving specific examples and even parse license terms. The paper concludes with a discussion of best practices for researchers and a checklist for citizen science participants.

You can read the full reports here and here. And you can watch Teressa and Haewon discussing their report on the Commons Lab panel.

Big Announcements in Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science at White House Event

WHITE HOUSE OSTP DIRECTOR JOHN HOLDREN MEMO:

Memo: Addressing Societal and Scientific Challenges Through Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/holdren_citizen_science_memo_092915_0.pdf

Blog post: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/09/30/accelerating-use-citizen-science-and-crowdsourcing-address-societal-and-scientific

 

FEDERAL CROWDSOURCING AND CITIZEN SCIENCE TOOLKIT

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in partnership with the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science

Blog post: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/02/designing-citizen-science-and-crowdsourcing-toolkit-federal-government

 

NSF CORE PRIORITY IN CITIZEN SCIENCE AND CROWDSOURCING Announced

The NSF Director Dr. France Cordova announces that citizen science and crowdsourcing—“a visionary concept”– will be a core priority for NSF in the coming fiscal year. Her presentation begins about 32 min into the Citizen Science Forum video, and the announcement is at 40:49. The written announcement will come from OMB later this year. https://youtu.be/J17uBahTdDE?t=2449

NSF Press Release: Be a (citizen) scientist! (of note, NSF has made $5,613,201 in grants and related awards that support research in this area): http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=136445&org=NSF

CITIZEN SCIENCE DAY Announced

The Citizen Science Association and partners, including the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, announced plans to organize a Citizen Science Day on April 16, 2015, which will kick off a series of events nationwide.

http://citizenscienceassociation.org/2015/09/30/citizen-science-day-announced-at-white-house/

 

CITIZEN SCIENCE FORUM:

White House Citizen Science Forum, in partnership with the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science

YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=4&v=J17uBahTdDE

Holdren Opening Remarks (waiting for them to be posted): https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/library/docsreports

Blog Post: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/09/09/open-science-and-innovation-people-people-people

CROWDSOURCING AND CITIZEN SCIENCE ACT OF 2015 – FEDERAL LEGISLATION:

The Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2015 provides clarification to government agencies, removing ambiguity about whether an agency can use crowdsourcing techniques. Senator Coons (D-DE) and Senator Daines (R-MT) co-sponsored the bill.

Text of the Bill: http://coons.senate.gov/download/?id=063AEFE6-CB5C-42FD-8FD6-57F58BD1AC5B

Press release: http://www.coons.senate.gov/newsroom/releases/release/senator-coons-introduces-bill-to-promote-open-science-and-innovation-in-government

The Government Wants You to Help It Do Science Experiments, Senator Chris Coons, Wired Magazine

http://www.wired.com/2015/09/government-wants-help-science-experiments/

First in MT…Coons to Unveil Federal Crowdsourcing Bill

http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-tech/2015/09/tech-advocates-aim-high-for-next-librarian-of-congress-whitfield-resignation-narrows-candidates-for-e-c-chairmanship-coons-to-unveil-federal-crowdsourcing-bill-210469

Senator Coons Introduces Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2015 by Gene Quinn, IPWatchdog

http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2015/09/30/senator-coons-introduces-crowdsourcing-and-citizen-science-act-of-2015/id=62158/

  Read More…

Senate Holds Hearing on Drones

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. to examine the growth of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), commonly referred to as “drones”, in the United States, including the potential economic benefits of drone operations, and the progress of steps taken to facilitate the development of the industry through the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-95). The hearing included consideration of safety and privacy issues surrounding the operation of drones in the United States.

Watch the video of the hearing here.

Majority Statement

Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV
Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Panel Testimony

WEBCAST EVENT: New Visions for Citizen Science

NEW VISIONS FOR CITIZEN SCIENCE
Please note NEW DATE:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
from 1:00 – 5:00 PM EDT
Woodrow Wilson Center
Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC
RSVP to participate in person: http://bit.ly/1cdBZyp
Watch the live webcast here: http://bit.ly/1cdBZyp
Organizations can bolster their internal resources with contributions from outside volunteers. These contributions bring new and unique perspectives to advance science and technology or generate solutions to complex challenges. However, it is sometimes unclear which problems open innovation and science can solve, or which technologies and processes can support projects in federal agencies.
The Commons Lab of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars seeks to help federal agencies understand how open innovation and science can support community and agency goals. In collaboration with the Africa Program and ESCP, we are hosting “New Visions for Citizen Science,” the first in a series of roundtable discussions on open innovation and science, on Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. EDT in the 6th floor dining room at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC.
This roundtable will connect federal agencies hoping to initiate or expand open innovation projects with leaders from the field of citizen science, a well-established form of mass collaboration where volunteers contribute to scientific research.
Citizen science projects have demonstrated success with a range of methodologies and diverse groups of volunteers. Projects range from classifying galaxies and collecting environmental data to collectively solving the structure of an AIDS-related enzyme through a protein-folding game. These projects increase knowledge, support education, and influence management policies and practices.
By highlighting new approaches in citizen science, we hope to help federal agencies better understand these key considerations:
  • What technologies support volunteer data collection, analysis, and problem solving?
  • How can volunteer data be integrated with formal data sets?
  • How can open innovation and citizen science inform decision-making?
  • What are the science, management, and policy impacts of citizen science?
  • How do we measure success?
Speakers include:
  • Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (invited)
  • Dr. Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology & Innovation, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (invited)
  • Dr. Jake F. Weltzin, Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey, and Executive Director, USA National Phenology Network
  • Dr. Lina Nilsson, Innovation Director, Blum Center for Developing Economies, UC-Berkeley, and Founder, Tekla Labs
  • Erin Heaney, Director of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York
  • Dr. Stuart Lynn, Astronomer, Adler Planetarium, and Zooniverse
RSVP to participate in person: http://bit.ly/1cdBZyp
Watch the live webcast here: http://bit.ly/1cdBZyp

 

 

New Report on Location Data Privacy

Location Data Privacy: Guidelines, Assessment & Recommendations

Location Forum’s Privacy Council’s issued a new report, Location Data Privacy: Guidelines, Assessment & Recommendations.  These guidelines represent an industry-created set of best practices for improving how location data is gathered, used and managed, along with a ‘scorecard’ for quantitatively measuring a company’s privacy risk level. Natasha Léger, President of The Location Forum and editor of LBx Journal, states:These guidelines enable users and companies to understand the value of the information so that they can both take the appropriate measures to safeguard what type of data is disclosed, and determine how it is used and shared”… the “problem with location data today is that it changes as it weaves through various hands—applications, vendors, developers, government, companies, data providers, and individual users” and there is a “diversity of legal protections across countries and states that make developing a consistent privacy policy a moving target.”

You can download the guidelines here (although it’s behind a pay wall).

Read more about this report at Spatial Reserves here and on pages 12 and 13 of the July-August 2013 edition of ApoGeo.

New Research on Legal Issues and Validation of Crowdmapping

Rak, Andriy (2013). Legal Issues and Validation of Volunteered Geographic Information.

Abstract: The Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) provides access to authoritative geographic datasets of Canada, which are the source of accurate and reliable data. The process of acquiring, updating and maintaining such datasets using traditional approaches, requires both time and costly resources. As a result, in many cases the datasets are out of date because of the high cost of maintenance. An alternative approach to reliably create and update authoritative datasets is linked to its integration with Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). VGI provides a vast source of spatial information to government, industry and citizens. However, the integration of VGI with CGDI generates several questions, with VGI quality and legal issues at the forefront.

This research has investigated methods for assessing the quality of VGI, and describes the importance of a link between VGI and legal liability in the need for integration of VGI with CGDI. This research developed a prototype to validate data quality and examined legal liability issues around VGI to discover a strategy for possible integration of VGI with CGDI datasets. The research also provides four primary risk management techniques for CGDI to manage risks resulted from incorporating VGI into their datasets.

M.Sc.E. thesis, Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering Technical Report No. 283, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, 128 pp. (April 2013)

CA Supreme Court Issues Ruling on GIS Open Records Case

For the history of Sierra Club v. Orange County see GIS Cafe Blog (May 10, 2013): Sierra Club v. Orange County Has Its Day In Court

For the CA Supreme Court ruling (PDF), visit: CA Supreme Court Decision July 8, 2013

To the extent that the term ―computer mapping system is ambiguous, the constitutional canon requires us to interpret it in a way that maximizes the public‘s access to information unless the Legislature has expressly provided to the contrary. (Officeof Inspector General v. Superior Court, supra, 189 Cal.App.4th at p.709.) As explained above, we find nothing in the text, statutory context, or legislative history of the term―computer mapping system‖ that allows us to say the Legislature clearly sought to exclude GIS formatted parcel data from the definition of a public record when it can be disclosed without any accompanying software.

Applying the interpretive rule set forth in article I, section 3, subdivision (b)(2), we must conclude that section 6254.9(b)‘s exclusion of―computer mapping systems from the definition of a public record does not encompass a parcel database in a GIS file format. Contrary to what the County contends, this reading of the statute does not ―repeal or nullify‖ a ―statutory exception to the right of access to public records‖ in contravention of article I, section 3, subdivision (b)(5). Our holding simply construes the terms of section 6254.9 in light of the constitutional mandate that a statute ―shall be narrowly construed if it limits the right of access.(Cal. Const., art. I, §3, subd. (b)(2).)
We note that this interpretation is consistent with a 2005 opinion letter issued by the Attorney General in response to a request by a member of the Assembly to determine whether ― parcel boundary map data maintained in an electronic format by a county assessor [is] subject to public inspection and copying under provisions of the California Public Records Act (88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 153, 153 (2005).) The opinion letter explained that ―the term ̳computer mapping systems‘ in section 6254.9 does not refer to or include basic maps and boundary information per se (i.e., the basic data compiled, updated, and maintained by county assessors), but rather denotes unique computer programs to process such data using mapping functions original programs that have been designed and produced by a public agency.‖ (88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. at p. 159.) Accordingly, the Attorney General concluded, ―parcel map data maintained in an electronic format by a county assessor does not qualify as a ̳computer mapping system‘under the exemption provisions of section 6254.9 (88 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. at p. 159) and must be provided upon request as a public record at a fee limited to the direct cost of producing the copy (id.at pp.163–164). As noted above, the record here indicates that 47 counties in California maintain GIS-formatted parcel base maps and provide access to those GIS-formatted databases as public records. (Ante, at p. 3.) Of those 47 counties, 19 changed their fee policies following the Attorney General‘s opinion letter, according to Sierra Club‘s expert.
Because section 6254.9(b) does not exclude GIS-formatted databases like the OC Landbase from the definition of a public record, such databases are subject to disclosure unless otherwise exempt from the PRA. Unlike the records at issue in County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 1301, the County here does not argue that the OC Landbase is subject to any other exemptions. The fact that the County offered to produce the information underlying the database in an alternative format suggests that no such exemption applies. Similarly, the County‘s general practice of producing the OC Landbase to the public, albeit pursuant to a licensing agreement, suggests that its contents do not implicate any of the confidentiality or other concerns underlying th e exemptions set forth in section 6254. Because the OC Landbase is not excluded from the definition of a public record under section 6254.9(b), and because the County does not argue that the database is otherwise exempt from disclosure, the County must produce the OC Landbase in response to Sierra Club‘s request―in any electronic format in which it holds the information‖ (§6253.9 (a)(1)) at a cost not to exceed the direct cost of duplication (§§ 6253.9 (a)(2),6253, subd. (b)).
CONCLUSION
For the reasonsabove, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal andremand to that court with directions to remand to the superior court to issue a writ consistent with this opinion.
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