A lot has been discussed about citations in general, especially attribution. My concern is more with the "share-alike". It is answered here that SE considers the "share-alike" doesn't apply to code.

I see more and more papers citing Stack Exchange communities or using SE data, in all sorts of domains.

What about the "share-alike" part of the licence when citing other SE user content in academic publications? Discussion in general, whether it be paraphrased or directly quoted. (e.g. let's say someone is investigating sense of humor in SE communities)

Considering that academic publications are not open for the most part. Does this restrict to publishing in open journals? Do researchers ask for a different licence? And what of mainstream media that are behind a paygate?

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    The ShareAlike part does apply to every content, including code. The answers to the linked question are about something different: if the content doesn’t meet a certain threshold, you don’t have to follow the license at all (whether it’s code or text or anything). -- It would be for judges to decide whether it’s meething that threshold or not, on a case by case basis. So unless you are sure about it (or if you want to be on the safe side), assume that you have to follow the license (and that means, that you have to follow the "SA" part). – unor Jul 18 '17 at 15:01

The Share-Alike clause of the Creative Commons license comes into play when you

remix, transform, or build upon the material

In this case, you must publish under the Creative Commons license as well, not just any free license.

If your scientific publication is a remix or transformation of SE content, copyright is not your only problem as you're very likely also committing plagiarism.

I'm not a lawyer, and I probably don't really know what I'm talking about here. But in general, citing sources in the way scientific papers do is almost certainly covered by Fair Use. If you're paraphrasing, copyright doesn't even apply, you can't copyright ideas in that way. And reasonable quotes should be covered by Fair Use or equivalents in your jurisdiction.

The same issue would apply if you quote anything from a book or other journal articles that are not under a very permissive license. So if this would be a big issue, we probably would have noticed it by now. Scientists seem to be able to cite and quote sources with restrictive licenses without being sued constantly.

  • Thank you for your answer. To add to my understanding, building upon the example I provided in my question: If someone sold a book of jokes that used humorous SE content and used proper attribution, that would be plagiarism (or at least, not respect the SA part of the license)? However, if someone investigated the role humor plays into SE culture for academic research purposes, using proper attribution, even if published in a journal that requires payment, that would be fair use. Is that what you are saying? – curious Jul 18 '17 at 15:15
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    @Emilie: "Selling" is a thorough red herring here, just as it is for most free licenses. CC-BY-SA simply doesn't care whether you make money off any use of the covered material — that's not a relevant factor at all. Instead, the key for -SA is that you allow others to use the same CC-BY-SA license for your book of jokes or whatever, rather than abiding by the usual copyright regime that forbids copying your book of jokes. So selling by means of exclusivity is out, but selling in general is not directly targeted. – Nathan Tuggy Jul 19 '17 at 7:22

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