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Re: [ontology-summit] IPR questions relating to the OOR Initiative [was

To: Ontology Summit 2008 <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Fabian Neuhaus <fabian.neuhaus@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 06 May 2008 11:49:59 -0400
Message-id: <48207E27.70801@xxxxxxxx>

> Of course I cannot claim ownership of Open Ontology, but I claim
> ownership of open ontology discussions and papers which I have
> contributed to this list,  which have been taken either verbatim or
> presented with modified wording as contribution to OOR discussions.
>       (01)

Dear Paola,
I really did not want to get involved in this debate since I don't know 
anything about IPR, but I can help to get the facts straight. The topic 
of "openness" was discussed as a part of the discussion about 
gatekeeping and quality that Barry and I chaired in the weeks before the 
meeting in Gaithersburg and at the meeting itself. In the beginning of 
the discussion it became very clear that many some of the audience 
understood "open" in "Open Ontology Repository" as an adjective of 
"repository" while some understood it as an adjective of  "ontology". 
Further, it was very obvious that people understood "open ontology" in 
many different senses ('open' with respect to the license, 'open' in the 
sense that everybody can access it, 'open' in the sense that everybody 
can participate in the development etc). For this reason, we decided 
early on to avoid any discussion on what the exact meaning of "Open 
Ontology Repository" is and what "open ontologies" are, but rather focus 
on the questions what minimal requirements should be that all ontologies 
need to meet. If you listen to the recording of the discussion that I 
chaired in Gaithersburg you will hear me saying at least twice that this 
is not a general discussion about "Open Ontologies". The result is that 
the word "open" does not even appear in the section of the communique 
about quality and gatekeeping (unless it is part of the name "OOR"). 
This is no accident, but was part of Barry and my strategy to enable 
consensus on gatekeeping by avoiding the buzzword "open ontology".    (02)

You claim that your contributions have been taken either verbatim or 
presented with modified wordings as contributions to the OOR 
discussions. I am not sure which discussions you mean, but since the 
term "open" was mainly discussed related to the quality and gatekeeping 
questions, I assume you are referring to the discussions that Barry and 
I chaired. In this case I can assure you that as far as I am aware your 
ideas had *no* impact on the text that is now part of the communique. 
And I feel qualified to make this statement, since I wrote the first 
draft, all intermediate versions, as well as the final draft. Thus I can 
tell you the main sources that influenced the discussion on "openness": 
it was the understanding of "open ontology" in the Open Biomedical 
Ontology (OBO) community which is spelled out, for example, on the OBO 
Foundry page: http://www.obofoundry.org/crit.shtmlm; other influential 
contributions were made during our email discussions by Peter Yim, 
Matthew West, and Pat Hayes. The OBO community and their understanding 
of "open ontology" predates your work; Peter said he did not use your 
material; and since Matthew and Pat argued that certain interpretations 
of "openness" that had been presented in the discussion should no be 
considered as gatekeeping criteria I don't see that they could have 
used  your ideas either. As I said these have been the main influences; 
of course there were many other valuable contributions on the topic by 
other participants of the discussion, some of which might have read your 
wikipage, but I don't remember anybody quoting you or referring to your 
work. Therefore your claim that we have taken your contributions 
verbatim or presented with modified wording as contributions to the OOR 
discussions is factually incorrect.    (03)

Personally, I was not aware of the wikipage that you pointed out. I 
admit I could have done a more thorough search on "Open Ontology", but 
-- as explained above -- I was not really interested in the subject, 
since I was determined to discourage any general discussion on "Open 
Ontology" and force everybody to focus on concrete gatekeeping criteria. 
You might argue that this way I discouraged an important discussion, but 
at least we got something done.    (04)

Fabian    (05)

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