A1.1: The protocol is open, free and universally implementable

open -- free as in speech, free -- free as in beer, and universally implementable -- NOT free as in puppies.

Hello, and welcome to Machine-Centric Science. My name is Donny Winston and I am here to talk about the FAIR principles in practice for scientists who want to compound their impacts, not their errors.

Today, we're going to be talking about the sixth of the 15 FAIR principles, A1.1: The protocol is open, free, and universally implementable.

So the protocol, again, is about the access process, not necessarily including authentication and authorization. That will come later. Open, free, and universally implementable. This means that any individual may create their own compliant implementation of the protocol. So, again, this is about the protocol and not necessarily the implementation.

There should be equitable access to the specifications for the protocol, no monetary obligation for these specifications. No prohibitive restrictions on implementation, geographic or resource-wise.

Another way to think about these three attributes: open, free, universally implementable are that they refer to three different kinds of free.

So, open is free as in speech -- libre. Free, is what you might think of as gratis, free as in beer. So you might have heard about free as in speech versus free as in beer in the software community talking about open source software versus proprietary freeware. Here with the protocols, we're talking about both: free as in speech and free as in beer; libre and gratis.

The third thing, universally implementable, can be compared to NOT free as in puppies.

So you'll hear free as in puppies, but there are a lot of times import or export or travel restrictions on animals. Puppies are also resource-intensive in terms of care and maintenance. So, free puppies, but, you know, they're not really free.

And so that's what universally implementable means to me: it needs to also be NOT free as in puppies. It needs to be free as in speech and free as in beer, without being free as in puppies.

Some good examples of such protocols are the hypertext transfer protocol, HTTP, for sending data and metadata, the simple mail transfer protocol, SMTP, for sending email.

A counterexample here, for say, a chat protocol, would be Slack, which is not open or universally implementable because it is a proprietary protocol. And this is one of the reasons I like Zulip because its protocol on top of HTTP is open. It's an open source tool.

So, again, the protocol is open -- free as in speech, free -- free as in beer, and universally implementable -- NOT free as in puppies.

That'll be it for today. I'm Donny Winston, and I hope you join me again next time for Machine-Centric Science.