Last week the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced that it is extending its open licensing policy to require that all content (such as reports, videos, white papers) resulting from project grant funds be licensed under the most recent Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. From the Foundation’s blog post: “We’re making this change because we believe that this kind of broad, open, and free sharing of ideas benefits not just the Hewlett Foundation, but also our grantees, and most important, the people their work is intended to help.” The change is explained in more detail on the foundation’s website.
The foundation had a long-standing policy requiring that recipients of its Open Educational Resources grants license the outputs of those grants; this was instrumental in the creation and growth of the OER field, which continues to flourish and spread. Earlier this year, the license requirement was extended to all Education Program grants, and as restated, the policy will now be rolled out to all project-based grants under any foundation program. The policy is straightforward: it requires that content produced pursuant to a grant be made easily available to the public, on the grantee’s website or otherwise, under the CC BY 4.0 license — unless there is some good reason to use a different license.
“When we began thinking about extending the policy from OER grants to the foundation as a whole, we wanted to be sure we would not be creating unforeseen problems,” said Elizabeth Peters, the general counsel of the Hewlett Foundation. “So we first broadened it to cover education grants that were not for OER — and have been pleased to find that there were very few issues, and those few easily resolved. CC BY for all grant-funded works will now be the default, but we are willing to accommodate grantees who have a persuasive reason to take a different path. The ultimate goal of this policy is to make the content we fund more openly available to everyone. We’re only just beginning to implement this change, and will continue to monitor how it’s working, but so far we have found most grantees are ready and willing to apply the license that makes their works fully open for re-use of all kinds.”
In practice, the new policy means that nearly all of the extensive content produced with Hewlett project-based grant funds–not only works specifically commissioned as Open Educational Resources, but scholarly research, multimedia materials, videos, white papers, and more, created by grantees on subjects of critical importance–will be widely available for downstream re-use with only the condition that the creator is attributed. Text will be openly available for translation into foreign languages, and high-quality photographs and videos will be able to be re-used on platforms such as Wikipedia. Releasing grant funded content under permissive open licenses like CC BY means that these materials can be more easily shared and re-used by the public. And they can be combined with other resources that are also published under an open license: this collection grows larger every day as governments and other publicly-facing institutions adopt open policies. Promoting this type of sharing can benefit both the original creator and the foundation, as it enables novel uses in situations not intended by the original grant funding.
For a long time Creative Commons has been interested in promoting open licensing policies within philanthropic grantmaking. We received a grant from the Hewlett Foundation to survey the licensing policies of private foundations, and to work toward increasing the free availability of foundation-supported works. We wrote about the progress of the project in March, and we’ve been maintaining a spreadsheet of foundation IP policies, and a model IP policy.
We urge other foundations and funding bodies to emulate the outstanding leadership demonstrated by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and commit to making open licensing an essential component of their grantmaking strategy.
Following on the heels of School of Open Africa launch events in Tanzania and Nigeria last weekend, School of Open Kenya is hosting its own tomorrow to kick off training for four high schools in Nairobi.
Called Popjam, this SOO launch event + Mozilla Maker Party will be a day-long workshop introducing high school students to open educational resources (OER). Students will learn how to use OER and the open web to complement their academic studies. Students from four high schools will participate: Precious Blood Secondary School, Nairobi School, Sunshine Secondary School, and State House Girls Secondary School. SOO Kenya is hosted by Jamlab, a co-creation community based in Nairobi for high school students and graduates in Africa.
For more information about the event, and to RSVP if you’re in Nairobi, visit the event page.About Maker Party
School of Open and Creative Commons is excited to be partnering with Mozilla to celebrate teaching and learning the web with Maker Party. Through thousands of community-run events around the world, Maker Party unites educators, organizations and enthusiastic Internet users of all ages and skill levels.
We share Mozilla’s belief that the web is a global public resource that’s integral to modern life: it shapes how we learn, how we connect and how we communicate. But many of us don’t understand its basic mechanics or what it means to be a citizen of the web. That’s why we’re supporting this global effort to teach web literacy through hands-on learning and making with Maker Party.About the School of Open
The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU.
In July the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote about the predicament that Colombian student Diego Gomez found himself in after he shared a research article online. Gomez is a graduate student in conservation and wildlife management at a small university. He has generally poor access to many of the resources and databases that would help him conduct his research. Paltry access to useful materials combined with a natural culture of sharing amongst researchers prompted Gomez shared a paper on Scribd so that he and others could access it for their work. The practice of learning and sharing under less-than-ideal circumstances could land Diego in prison.
The EFF reports that upon learning of this unauthorized sharing, the author of the research article filed criminal complaint against Gomez. The charges lodged against Diego could put him in prison for 4-8 years. The trial has started, and the court will need to take into account several factors: including whether there was any malicious intent to the action, and whether there was any actual harm against the economic rights of the author.
Today EFF, Creative Commons, Right to Research Coalition, and Open Access Button are launching a campaign to help raise awareness about Diego’s situation, to promote a reasonable handling of his and similar cases, and to support open access policies and practices. We hope you’ll sign on.Let’s stand together to promote Open Access worldwide.
Help Diego Gomez and join academics and users in fighting outdated laws and practices that keep valuable research locked up for no good reason.
Diego Gomez, a Colombian graduate student, currently faces up to eight years in prison for doing something thousands of researchers do every day: posting research results online for those who would not otherwise have a way to access them.
If open access were the default for scholarly communication, cases like Diego’s would become obsolete.
Academic research would be free to access and available under an open license that would legally enable the kind of sharing that is so crucial for enabling scientific progress.
When research is shared freely and openly, we all benefit. Sign the petition to express your support for Open Access as the default for scientific and scholarly publishing, so researchers like Diego don’t risk severe penalties for helping colleagues access the research they need.
Scientific and scholarly progress relies upon the exchange of ideas and research. We all benefit when research is shared widely, freely, and openly. I support an Open Access system for academic publishing that makes research free for anyone to read and re-use; one that is inclusive of all and doesn’t force researchers like Diego Gomez to risk severe penalties for helping colleagues access the research they need.
Igennem snart 3 år har Nationalmuseet arbejdet på at tilgængeliggøre en del af sin fotosamling. CC-licensering er ét af de væsentlige og strategiske elementer i bestræbelserne på at gøre kulturarven tilgængelig – og brugbar. Opgaven er ikke helt så enkel som den lyder.
Nationalmuseet har i virkeligheden flere forskellige fotoarkiver, med udspring i de forskellige samlinger, fx ”Oldtid”, ”Nyere Tid”, Etnografisk Samling” og så videre. I alt 9 forskellige samlinger rummer pt. ca. 700.000 billeder i museets fotoregistreringsdatabase, og hertil kommer samlingerne i de museer, som først for nyligt er blevet en del af Nationalmuseets organisation, samt billeder der endnu ikke er scannede.
700.000 billeder lyder måske ikke af så meget, men der er tale om enkelte objekter, der skal ”håndteres” individuelt, og som hver især har sit eget, unikke sæt af metadata. Desuden er de enkelte billeders ophav og indhold voldsomt forskellige: Nogle er taget af museets egne fotografer og forestiller museets egne genstande, andre er taget af ukendte fotografer og overdraget af fx arvinger eller ”findere”, nogle er taget af professionelle fotografer – andre er tværtimod tydeligt ældre amatørfotografier…. og så videre. En yderligere udfordring er, at nogle fotografier kan være forsynet med særlige klausuler. Fx at billederne ikke må bruges uden giverens tilladelse el.lign.
Én af de store opgaver i Nationalmuseets tilgængeliggørelsesprojekt er derfor arbejdet med at finde frem til, hvilke licenser, de enkelte billeder kan forsynes med. En del er ”All Rights reserved” – det kan fx være fotos, som er købt af eksterne fotografer. Det andet yderpunkt er fotografier, der så gamle, at de for længst er i Public Domain. For de billeder, som Nationalmuseet selv har rettighederne til, er licensen BY-SA. Billederne skal kunne anvendes til alle formål, også kommercielle, og vi har selvfølgelig skelet til, at BY-SA licensen muliggør brug på fx Wikipedia. I skrivende stund er der tilgængeliggjort 46.000 fotos, og heraf er ca. 36.000 licenseret med BY-SA.
Men for at kunne bruge fotoarkivernes indhold er det ikke nok, at licenserne tillader videreudnyttelse. Det skal også være enkelt at finde frem til netop de billeder, som man søger. Derfor forestiller vi os ikke, at det er Nationalmuseets egen website, som skal udgøre den primære indgang. Tværtimod opfatter vi Googles billedsøgning og andre lignende tjenester som den primære grænseflade for brugere, som søger…. og forhåbentlig finder.
Der er flere forskellige ideer og udviklingsplaner på bedding. Fælles for dem er, at de udspringer af en grundlæggende idé om, at det skal være nemt at finde og bruge – men også med tiden: at bidrage med den viden, man måtte have om enkelte billeder og deres motiver. Derfor er bl.a. mulighed for geotagging og kommentar blandt de features, som er i støbeskeen. Men vi starter småt – allerførst gælder det om at få indholdet i luften, så vi gennem brug og brugerønsker kan komme tættere på, hvordan tjenesten skal udvikles.
Nationalmuseets overordnede mission er, at ”Nationalmuseet rummer og udvikler forudsætningerne for, at alle kan få indsigt i kulturhistorien”. At ”alle” skal kunne få indsigt i kulturhistorien er et temmeligt ambitiøst projekt, og en opgave, som ingen institution – end ikke Nationalmuseet – kan løse alene. Hvis ”alle” derimod har en mulighed for både at finde frem til og at bruge kulturhistoriske fotos til egne formål, bliver opgaven en smule mere overkommelig.
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