Copyright 2.0 and Open Science

The appearance of chemical blogspace is just one indication that the amount of new content created by scientists but appearing outside of scientific journals is set to increase in coming years. This new content will likely take the form of written work, images, movies, and digital audio. With this situation comes a new problem for authors - managing all of their new content.

By way of Web 2.0 Magazine's Top 100 Web 2.0 Sites, I found a service called Numly that may offer a solution to this problem. Numly enables individual authors to assign unique identifiers that can be used to establish copyright on a work, make licensing to a work known (for example, Creative Commons), provide a way to aggregate all of an author's copyrighted work, and create a permanent URL through which a work can always be accessed.

Numly works by associating a copyrighted work with a Numly Number, which is a unique numerical identifier not unlike a DOI or ISBN. The number can, apparently, be assigned to any work - perhaps even blog comments. Numly may also offer a solution to the problem of self-archiving Open Access articles. As an experiment, I'll be assigning a Numly number to this article.

As with any new service, it's difficult to predict how Numly will ultimately be used. All that can be said for sure is that the future of scientific communication is open. With this move will come new, unforeseen problems that services like Numly may be able to solve.