Notes on PMR’s “Is Figshare Open?”

From PMR’s blog:

Figshare appears to be one of the less transparent organizations I have encountered. I cannot find a corporate structure, and the companies’ address is: C/o Macmillan Publishers Limited, Brunel Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 6XSI can’t find a board of directors or any advisory or governing board. So in practice Figshare is legally responsible to no-one other than UK corporate law. You may think I am being unfair to an excellent (and I agree it’s excellent) service. But history inexorably shows that these beginnings become closed, mutating into commercial control and confidentiality. Let’s say Mark moves on? Who runs Figshare then? Or Springer buys Digital Science? What contract has Mark signed with DS? Maybe it binds Figshare to being completely run by the purchaser? I have additional concerns about the growing influence of DigitalScience products, especially such as ReadCube, which amplify the potential for “snoop and control” – I’ll leave those to another blogpost.

Source: Is Figshare Open? “it is not just about open or closed, it is about control” | petermr’s blog

From Mark Hahnel presentation:

We are a commercial company with a business model that allowed researchers to make 200,000 research files openly available in the first year alone, for free. [emphasis mine: PS]

The mention of ReadCube is spot on. Untimately, Figshare needs a revenue stream.

Other story that might provide some context is Google and Mozilla Foundation.

Sustainability-wise commercial entity is so much better than charity. Public-control-wise is vice-versa. You cannot have both.





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