Public Domain Chronicle


What is the Public Domain Chronicle?

Public Domain Chronicle is a fast, easy, and free way to secure scientific methods and findings for the public domain.

How does PDC work?

PDC gives contributors a short online form to fill out with information on new findings they want to contribute to the public domain. PDC publishes submissions instantly and verifiably, both to read online, and to download as well-structured computer data for indexing, searching, and backup.

Every PDC publication contains:

This common data format enables different PDC servers to republish each other’s contributions, corroborating their dates and providing backup.

These elements work together to do as much as possible, as quickly, cheaply, and easily as possible, to put the finding in the public domain.

The legal tool that contributors apply to their submissions gives everyone very broad permission to work with the data that PDC submission create. The license is similar in scope to a dedication of copyright and similar rights to the public domain, with two conditions to prevent misrepresentation of what was submitted and abuse of the contributor’s name. That’s enough to enable to copy, back up, translate, aggregate, and otherwise make the most of the data.

The license part of the legal tool works much like Creative Commons licenses applied to other creative work, like article preprints, but far shorter, quicker to use, and specialized to PDC-style submissions.

How does PDC address patent?

Some new findings may contain patent-eligible “inventions” under one or many countries’ laws. When patents are a concern, PDC helps scientists win the patent race for the public domain by publishing, immediately and verifiably, with rich metadata that makes it easy to identify as “prior art” to stop later patent applications. By combining publication with a commitment to keep the finding open and a permissive copyright license for the submission, PDC combines the expediency of defensive publication with the availability of open-access scholarship and the empowerment of open-source licensing.

What's the “race to the publisher”?

Under many countries’ patent rules, publishing a description that teaches others how to use a legal “invention” stops anyone, even the one publishing, from later receiving a patent. Since the America Invents Act, much the same is now true under United States patent rules, with an exception: the one who published can still receive a patent if they apply within one year.

Under either kind of rule, securing findings for the public domain is a race to publish. If a patent-seeker applies for a patent or publishes first, a patent can keep the finding closed for twenty years or more. If anyone contributes to the public domain first—creating “prior art” that others can find later—the work stays open, even if someone else made the same finding earlier.

PDC publications meet all the publication requirements for patent-stopping prior art under United States and European patent rules, as well as the rules of many other countries. The public license in the legal tool enables others to republish to meet other countries’ prior art requirements, such as publication in the country, or translation into the local language.