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Global Information Commons for Science Initiative

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Global Information Commons for Science Initiative

Approved by the CODATA 26th General Assembly, Kyiv, 2008
Renewal approved by the CODATA 27th General Assembly, Cape Town 2010
Renewal approved by the CODATA 28th General Assembly, Taipei 2012

Objective of the Task Group

The Global Information Commons for Science Initiative is an international initiative of CODATA and a multi-stakeholder project arising from the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in November 2005. It has the overall goal to accelerate the development and scaling up of open scientific data and information resources on a global basis, with particular focus on “common use” licensing approaches. The aim of the GICSI Task group is to build on the exploratory activities of the Working Group and to develop an organisational and research capacity in order to promote and consolidate the GICSI Initiative. The following themes have been chosen for the initial work of the Task Group. These are currently expanded :

(1) Impact of the current IPR regime and public domain policies on the scientific communities: analysis of the EC directives and the way they are implemented in the science communities, their impact on collaboration across the ERA, problems of lack of coordination among differing national approaches as a barrier to public domain initiatives.

(2) Alternative legal and technical regimes built by the scientific communities : use of common use licensing, copyleft licensing (how much software code in EU research is really open code), open access publishing (“some rights reserved” publishing for pre-print repositories, conference presentations etc.), evaluation of Digital Rights’ Management (DRM).

(3) Public research institution’s policies and practices for deposit of data and archiving of preprints and publicly funded research reports, dynamic distribution of metadata, and technical provision for preservation of the research record through standardisation of open formats and content migration.

(4) Data sharing in EU funded research: database federation in EU Research Infrastructures, common ontologies for data mining, harmonisation of privacy regulation for open access to content in biomedical research.

In its first 2 years, in order to expand these issues, the GICSI-EU Working Group successfully led discussions on behalf of CODATA in order to become a member of a European Thematic Network Agreement with the Politecnico of Turin, Italy on the “Public Domain in the Digital Age.” This 36-partner project, known .as COMMUNIA, aims to build a network of organizations to become the single European point of reference for high-level policy discussion and strategic action for all issues relating to the public domain in the digital environment. COMMUNIA is funded for 3 years at a level of 1 million Euros from the European Commission. CODATA plans to take the lead on scientific data issues within this network, developing the themes mentioned above. It will work in collaboration with the UniversitC Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and Department of Economics “S. Cognetti de Martinis2′-University of Turin (DEPECONTUR).


Prof. Paul A. David
Stanford University, US & UNU-Merit, NL


Prof. Tom Dedeurwaerdere
Université Catholique de Louvain (co-chair)

Prof. Jean MicheI Dalle
Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, Paris IV

Prof. Aldo Geuna
Università di Torino

Prof. Dietmar Harhoff
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich

Prof. W. Edward Steinmueller
University of Sussex

Matthijs den Besten
University of Montpellier

Ex Officio:

Prof. Antoni Nowakowski

Extension of membership (from 2012, accepted):

Clemente Forere-Pineda
University of the Andes, Colombia

Dr. Subbiah Arunachalam
Distinguished Fellow, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, India

Some Selected Accomplishments


    • 30th June-1st July 2008 : 1st Communia Conference
      Assessment of the economic and social impact of the public domain in Europe, Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)
      Funding EU Communia project and FNRS
      —> outcome : special issue on the Microbial Commons in the International Journal of the Commons


    • 29th June 2009 : 2nd Communia Conference
      Global Science and the Economics of Knowledge-Sharing Institutions, Torino (Italy)
      —> outcome : special issue on the Organization, Economics and Policy of Scientific Research in Industrial and Corporate Change


    • 12th-14th September 2012 : 1st International Conference on the Knowledge Commons,
      Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)
      —> outcome : special issue From Historical Open Science to Digitally Integrated Research Networks in the International Journal of the Commons


  • Fall 2014 : 2nd International Conference on the Knowledge Commons,
    New York University (USA)
    —> Organization of GICSI sessions on “Towards fuller utilization of the data and information commons in scientific research”