Thursday, 28 April 2011

Is a research paper on OSM a derived work?

In a long an insightful blog post on Google MapMaker's US launch Mike Dobson mentions a paper by Girres and Touya. According to his blog this paper uses a similar approach to that of Muki Hakaly to analyse French OSM data. I'd like to read this paper, and consider its implications : after all I've contributed to the data that it has used. However it lies behind a pay-wall here: Girres, J.F. and, Touya, G. (2010). Quality Assessment of the French OpenStreetMap Dataset, Transactions in GIS 12(4), 435-459.

I didn't find an electronic offprints at the researchers lab site: IGN COGIT. If anyone knows where I can get a copy let me know.

I would regard it as a normal courtesy of scientific publication to give contributors access to paper based on their data. Certainly the derived data which underpin the work should be made available as Hakaly does, but it's the overview and conclusions which are of most interest. However, I'd like to pose the question: Should this work have been published under CC-BY-SA?


  1. Most publications will give the authors offprints. The authors emails are on the research website. Email your interest and ask for an offprint directly from them. Most academics will share if approached in this way.

  2. Yeah, I know. I still have a stack of offprints of papers which I published in the 1980s! Your welcome to them, but the journal concerned is owned by a not-for-profit company and they have been available as PDFs for many years.

    My point is that this should be made available to those who contributed the data, without them having to go through the effort of sending emails.

    It's a sore point with us non-academics who don't have access to JSTOR that journal sites ask for fees of upto 35 USD for a paper before one even knows whether it's worth reading.

    Hiding research behind a paywall when it excludes the very people who might be able to test & critique the methodology is not sensible. Too many computer-related disciplines consist of those who do, and those who write papers about what they think those that do do. Let's stop VGI going down that route.