Public money public code (PMPC)

Below text are the e-mails as input to continue the discussion on the forum (oldest e-mail at the bottom, latest on the top)

Good Idea Tom!
I wonder how to differenciate between projects for development or implementation of the model. Because normally the implementing projects are used to continue development/gather data for the model…

P.S.: going on with this discussion in the forum??

von Tom Brown
Gesendet: Freitag, 8. Dezember 2017 10:30

Hi Tim, Berit,

I think a good start is for each model to collect the grant number and funding body for each project which funded the development of the model.
This information is usually listed at the end of papers or reports.

I think some tax payers would already be surprised how many projects have been funded with no transparency and openness requirements.

In a second step, we look for information about the size of the grants.
Usually this information is not reported, but could be sought using freedom of information requests to research funding bodies.

None of this is Germany-specific btw.



On 08/12/17 10:20, Berit Mueller wrote:

Hi all,

as there is actually the call from BMWI about model comparison, they
gather a lot of models – that would be a good basis to start from J



von *Tröndle Tim

Gesendet: Freitag, 8. Dezember 2017 10:14

Hi Tom,

PMPC sounds like something we could help with.

Perhaps in cooperation with the PTJ attempt to document all energy
models in Germany, we can identify the non-free models (not currently
listed on the openmod wiki) and estimate how much public money has
flowed into the development of each one?

I like the idea. How would you push this forward? It could be the aim
of a breakout group in the next workshop, but that’s still a while from now.



On 7 Dec 2017, at 20:47, Tom Brown <
<>> wrote:


Thanks Robbie, Ludwig and colleagues from FSFE for engaging on this,

I can think of one major example of free software in the industrial
energy sector (apologies, all in German):

It's a project of some of the major distribution network operators in
Germany, and many other high profile partners:

To stop vendor lock-in for network-related software (including SCADA
systems etc), among other disadvantages of closed software:

PMPC sounds like something we could help with.

Perhaps in cooperation with the PTJ attempt to document all energy
models in Germany, we can identify the non-free models (not currently
listed on the openmod wiki) and estimate how much public money has
flowed into the development of each one?



On 07/12/17 18:45, Robbie Morrison wrote:

Hello all

Today Ludwig Hülk and I met Matthias Kirschner and Polina Malaja from
the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). Some points, loosely


 * the FSFE is quite focused on helping companies of all sizes shift to
   free software
 * corporate legal departments are often the last to come round
 * well-resolved and open component interfaces (including APIs) have
   much to offer manufacturers and can allow them to switch suppliers
   more easily
 * companies which regularly use free software include the automotive
   sector, the telecoms sector, and organizations with large in-house
   IT systems
 * we could not think of one example of free software use within the
   energy sector, systems modeling aside (now that is telling, can
   anyone /cite/ an example?)

*Open science*


   one FSFE agenda is to improve the profile of free software within
   the scope of open science: for instance, the H2020 open science
   policy hardly mentions code, but all software, no matter how
   trivial, is a necessary part of scientific reproducibility


   the openmod perspective is quite the opposite: as we see it, the
   issues surrounding open code are mostly resolved and it is open data
   that remains problematic

*Legal matters*

Project location

 * the hosting of projects on neutral terrain is advisable,
   particularly if several institutes are involved
 * one approach is to set up a legal entity for the project (perhaps a
   German /eingetragener Verein/ (eV) or incorporated society) and use
   contributor license agreements (CLA) to assign rights

   [my comment: notwithstanding, there are downsides to this approach,
   including substantially reduced appeal for casual contributors,
   increased administrative overhead, more formalized procedures, and
   the need to canvas and define legal purposes at the outset]

Employer rights


   your employer normally holds copyright to your open source
   contributions made in the course of your job


   [my comment: in Germany but not in the United Kingdom, this include
   PhD candidates]

 * under German labor law (/Arbeitsrecht/), this provision can extend
   to projects that you donate to in your spare time when the subject
   matter is sufficiently similar to your work description
 * it is therefore recommended that you get *written clearance* (by
   printed agreement or by email) from your employer to allow you to
   contribute to open projects in you spare time and under your own name
 * such clearance can be done at the time of hire (usually preferable)
   or at any time later in the course of your employment
 * [my comment: my dated understanding of English law is that none of
   this is necessary, although if you do undercut your employer's
   business in your spare time, then they can take civil action against

*Common interests*

 * people should review and, if they agree, support the FSFE public
   money public code <> (PMPC)

maybe Ludwig has something to add, that’s all, Robbie

Can we introduce a funding body, project name and funding grant field on the Openmod Wiki Model Factsheets:

and/or the OEP Factsheets:


I would list all projects where model development has been carried out and perhaps also projects whose outputs depended on the model?

Sounds like a way to go. The openmod wiki has only open models though – that’s interesting as well, but was not the original intention, was it? Since OEP already has a collection of non open models, maybe it could be added there? Is the OEP user editable?

The oep is developed on GitHub - so if there are ideas to improve that is highly welcome.

The Fact Sheets itself are naturally user editable.

I would definitely go with the “new” factsheets that were developed with the openmod and implemented in the OEP. There is already a field called “Source of funding” in the Model FS.

How should a useful addition look like?
It should allow multiple entries, because some (most) models were developed in several projects with different funding.

In order to create new fields for the FS, we need to agree on “name”, (description) and [data type].
“Project name” (Name of the (research) project) [text]
“Funding body” (An organization or department that provides funds for a particular purpose.) [text]
“Funding grant” (Total amount provided by the funding body) [€]

I remember a discussion about Project Fact Sheets, we didn’t implement it yet. Now it would make sense.

The fields look good! Perhaps you could add:

  • “Project website” [text]

  • “Project grant number” [text]

The grant number will help to identify the project.

For projects with multiple partners it should be clear that the “Funding grant total” is for all partners. I expect for most projects, this number will be confidential, but it’s worth a try. It may be possible to get this information with a “freedom of information” request.

Example for my current project:

  • Project name: CoNDyNet - Collective Nonlinear Dynamics of Complex Networks

  • Project website:

  • Funding body: Germany Federal Ministry for Education and Research

  • Funding grant number: 03SF0472

  • Funding grant total: ?? EUR

You can request the information, but are you allowed to share them (in a forum)?

Hello Ludwig. Reuse of an FOI response is highly unlikely to depend on conditions imposed by national freedom of information legislation. FOI laws are intended to advance open government and are often used by the news media to obtain publishable information.

The question of applicability arises when the FOI request is serviced. FOI requests can be refused outright and FOI responses can be redacted, sometimes so heavily that the response becomes comic (I have personal examples from New Zealand). Both refusal and redaction can be challenged.

On a slightly different tack, OUT-LAW COM (2012) reports that under UK law, prior copyright cannot be used to refuse an FOI request. This because the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) contains an exception to infringement of copyright that enables disclosure to take place. I looked at the German UrhG (Juris 2017) but could not see a similar provision.

Note that official texts vary widely in terms of both copyright and reuse rights. But an FOI response is not an official text.

Twelve out 16 German states also have Informationsfreiheitsgesetze. See wikipedia. Good guidelines are usually published about seeking FOI information. Hope this helps, Robbie


Juris (2017). Act on Copyright and Related Rights (Urheberrechtsgesetz, UrhG) — Amendments to 20 December 2016 — Official translation. Saarbrücken, Germany: Juris. This version lacks the revisions enacted on 30 June 2017.

OUT-LAW COM (7 August 2012). Using copyright to avoid freedom of info law? Ha, ha, nice try!. The Register. London, United Kingdom.

That sounds good. Thanks Robbie.

For German research projects we can start with the EnArgus website which displays all projects funded by BMWi (quite a lot in the modelling sector). They also include the funding grant and a copyright notice:

Für die Internet-Seiten des Projektträgers Jülich in der Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH liegen Copyright und alle weiteren Rechte beim Projektträger Jülich in der Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH. Die Weiterverbreitung, auch in Auszügen, für pädagogische, wissenschaftliche oder private Zwecke ist unter Angabe der Quelle gestattet (sofern nichts anderes an der entsprechenden Stelle ausdrücklich angegeben oder in den unten genannten Ausnahmen aufgeführt ist). Eine Verwendung im gewerblichen Bereich ist ohne ausdrückliche Zustimmung des Forschungszentrums Jülich nicht gestattet.

  • added highlighting.

They also have an analysis page:
But it’s not up to date (2014)!

1 Like

The quote above says that copyright for the website is retained by Projektträgers Jülich (PTJ), but that redistribution, including the use of excerpts, is permitted for non-commercial educational, scientific, or personal use, provided that the source is indicated. This is mostly in line with the German copyright act in any case.

Also BMWi is the German ministry of economics and energy.

Those seeking funding information within the United Kingdom should note (The Royal Society 2012:38):

The 2012 Protection of Freedoms Act requires that in response to FoIA requests there will be a duty to “provide the information, so far as reasonably practicable in an electronic form which is capable of reuse” (clause 102), and a duty to provide a license for reuse.


The Royal Society (June 2012). Science as an open enterprise — Final report. London, United Kingdom: The Royal Society. ISBN 978-0-85403-962-3.

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