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When taxpayers pay money for expensive research (irrespective of the partition-function wheither a few projects worth megabucks [M$] or many smaller cheaper experiments), should the raw data/designs/... that result from it be gratis (as in linux), opensource (as in the source of beer) or even licensefree?

(the question is not intended as a binary one: it is more ethics of modern physics funding, assume it is possible)

this would also more easily allow people with or without diplomes to try processing the scientific data...

(upvotes if you can present your argument completely formalized in deontologic Kripke semantics)

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closed as not a real question by Qmechanic, dmckee Jan 22 '12 at 21:39

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Note using "`" backquotes formats your words as source code – Martin Beckett Jan 22 '12 at 21:11
A good and relevant question, but alas, one that invites discussion not answers. – dmckee Jan 22 '12 at 21:39

1 Answer 1

In the US almost all data from federal funded research is already available freely and has been for a long time.

The bigger issue is the usefullness of the data. How much use is a raw memory dump of the output of an LHC detector? On the other hand howmuch time/money/effort is the experimenter expected to put into putting the data into a useful format, archiving the calibration and meta-data and explaining the usage to the users?

For example Hubble Space Telescope data is reserved for the use of the original scientist who proposed the observation for a year - this gives them chance to publish 'their' discovery. The data is then made available from the general archive. Fortunately astronomy image data has long been shared and organisations like Nasa have produced well standardised file formats and data conventions,

Licencing of software is a little trickier. It should probably be made available as public domain rather than GPL since it's not the governments job to restrict the licensing of the users.

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is the practice of reservation of data for a year on limited equipment not dangerous for self-fulfilling prophecy reasons: well respected scientists get a bigger chance of being assigned telescope time slices and their advantage of a year headstart can reconfirm their status? it seems like an aristocrat science version of regulatory capture – propaganda Jan 22 '12 at 21:40
"In the US almost all data from federal funded research is already available freely and has been for a long time." All data from US federal funded research, thats got to be a lot of projects, where is the website where I can start downloading? – propaganda Jan 22 '12 at 21:41
everybody can apply for telescope time, it's judged on it's scientific merits. Well respected scientists with a track record of producing good results are likely to produce better applications and get more allocated time (for their studentS). The one year grace period is to stop there being a rush for who can crunch the numbers first and grab the results from your idea – Martin Beckett Jan 22 '12 at 21:43
For HST for ground based for radio The USGS and other bodies have their own sites, the NSF's policy is at – Martin Beckett Jan 22 '12 at 21:47

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