Archetype authoring attribution

Ian McNicoll Ian.McNicoll at
Fri Mar 23 09:10:07 EDT 2012

Hi David,

Firs of all, leaving aside licensing issues and the eventual RM choice, I
would really appreciate working collaboratively on these models with your
clinical guys. I would be happy to do this via CKM if you felt that might
facilitate progress. As Sam says, lets make sure we keep the clinical
models consistent even if the final formailsm differs. I don't think the
usual 13606/opeEHR philosophical differences have much impact in the
histopathology space and when I did the original work for the RCPA, I was
impressed at the level of international cooperation that exits in the
community already. In hindsight, I would have modelled some of the
histopath content a bit differently and since none of these archetypes are
formally published, we do have an opportunity to learn from that experience
+ of course include any new requirements that your clinicians identify.

With regard to licensing, firstly I agree with Sam that attribution is to
the Foundation, and not to me personally. By all means send me a large
cheque if that makes you feel better ;-)

 The reason for the current CC-BY-SA licensing is really only to try and
prevent restrictive re-commerciaisation of archetypes that were originally
developed withan open licence.

There is no within the openEHr community about what we are trying to do.
The differences of opinion are about how best to achieve this goal with the
minimum of restriction

So, the principles we are trying to work to are that ...

1. You are perfectly entitled to adapt or derive any openEHR archetypes
2. You are perfectly entitled to use these in a commercial application
3. Personally I am not bothered if you try to sell them (that may not be a
consensus view).
4. We are definitely bothered if you try to assert copyright and attempt to
restrict others from using or adapting the original archetypes or
derivatives of those archetypes.

It is (4) that is the key problem here and archetypes live in a tricky
limbo between software artefacts and human document which means that legal
opinion is not well-based on precedent or evidence and making a decision on
the best licence is tricky.

Personally, I take the view that, as a clinician, the work that I did was
simply a restatement of universal clinical knowledge and as such must
really stay in the open domain. One of the problems in this area is that
CAP (College of American Pathologists) have done some similar histopath
work, in particular defining SNOMED bindings but have locked the IP away. I
think this is against the spirit of
clinical knowledge development, though actually I know how to access the
bindings via the public domain :-).

I really do not know whether the transformation from an openEHR archetype
to 13606 would be still be considered 'derivative' by a court of law but if
we get into that world we have all lost the plot, in my opinion.

To sum up. From a personal perspective and my interpretation of CC-BY-SA
and the Foundation objectives, feel free to use anything you want. Unless
you have a cunning plan to commercialise the archetypes and then lock the
rest of us out, I do not see any problem at all, wether or not your work is
regarded as derivative

But let's find a way of collaborating - would you be interested in working
via CKM, accepting that you might want to convert the end product to a

This is all part of a very interesting wider public debate about we reward
those who create or add value to content/knowledge without the dead hand of
patents and resultant legal dispute.



On 22 March 2012 12:03, David Moner <damoca at> wrote:

> Hello,
> Back again with the licensing topic of archetypes, with a real use case.
> We have been asked to help in creating a set of 13606 archetypes for
> breast and prostate cancer. Although they will probably incorporate some
> new requirements, the main source will be some of the openEHR archetypes
> available at the CKM.
> Assuming that the have adopted a CC-BY(-SA) license (I cannot recall which
> is the state of that discussion), the doubts are the following:
> - Converting the archetype to a new reference model is considered as a
> derivation? Or the openEHR archetype is considered just as a reference
> material as could be any textbook or paper?
> - The author of the new archetype has to be the one of the openEHR
> archetype (Ian McNicoll btw) or the person who in fact creates the new
> RM-based archetype?
> The underlying question here that should be clarified is to define which
> is the extension of the concept "derived work".
> David
> --
> David Moner Cano
> Grupo de Informática Biomédica - IBIME
> Instituto ITACA
> Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV)
> Camino de Vera, s/n, Edificio G-8, Acceso B, 3ª planta
> Valencia – 46022 (España)
> _______________________________________________
> openEHR-clinical mailing list
> openEHR-clinical at

Dr Ian McNicoll
office +44 (0)1536 414 994
fax +44 (0)1536 516317
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skype ianmcnicoll
ian.mcnicoll at

Clinical Modelling Consultant, Ocean Informatics, UK
Director/Clinical Knowledge Editor openEHR Foundation
Honorary Senior Research Associate, CHIME, UCL
SCIMP Working Group, NHS Scotland
BCS Primary Health Care
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