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Wikimedia press releases/Wikimedia Foundation Supports Efforts By Scientists to Use Free Licenses

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Wikimedia Foundation Supports Efforts By Scientists to end Wikipedia ban


San Francisco, CA. May 15th, 2008

Tomorrow, the American Physical Society (APS) will reconsider their ban on authors who want to allow parts of their papers to be used in Wikipedia and other specialized online science encyclopedia.

Recently, the APS's flagship journal, Physical Review Letters, withdrew their acceptance of two papers written by Jonathan Oppenheim and co-authors who had requested the option to contribute parts of their paper to Quantiki, a wiki specializing in quantum mechanics. The move led to an outcry amongst physicists who believe their work should be more freely available to the public.

"The Wikimedia Foundation strongly supports these scientists in their efforts to get the American Physical Society to change their restrictive copyright policies. Scientists must to be able to freely discuss and distribute their data and results. Without this ability, scientific peer-review would not function," said XXXX of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The APS itself acknowledges this with its own mission statement: "In the firm belief that an understanding of the nature of the physical universe will be of benefit to all humanity, the Society shall have as its objective the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics."

"The public funds scientific research, and should expect that the fruits of this research is freely available," said XXXX.

The American Physical Society currently requires authors to transfer copyright to them so that they own any published work. They then control the ways in which the article and any derived works are distributed. Physicists have requested that their work be instead published under a free license which would allow parts of their work to be used in online forums specializing in physics. Such a license would also allow others to copy that work and re-use it for their own purposes as long as they acknowledged the original source of the research.

The internet has led to dramatic changes in the way scientific research is distributed, and scientists feel that publishers need to adapt to this.

Note to editors:

1. Related Pages:

2. The forums that Dr. Oppenheim and other scientists wish to contribute to include "wikis" such as Quantiki (http://www.quantiki.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page) Qwiki (http://qwiki.stanford.edu/wiki/Main_Page) and SklogWiki (http://www.sklogwiki.org/SklogWiki/index.php/Main_Page). Note that these are not Wikimedia Foundation wikis. However, work made available on these wikis can be copied to Wikipedia and its sister projects.

3. The Wikimedia foundation can be contacted at XXXX

4. The editor in chief of the APS journals is Gene Sprouse http://www.physics.sunysb.edu/physics/faculty.shtml#sprouse