Internasjonale nyheter

The long arm of copyright: Millions blocked from reading original versions of The Diary of Anne Frank

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The original writings of The Diary of Anne Frank should have entered the public domain on January 1, 2016. They should have become freely accessible to everyone who wants to read and experience this important cultural work. Instead, the texts remain clogged in the pipes of EU copyright law. In some countries like Poland, the texts are in the public domain. In others, such as the Netherlands, the original writings are protected under copyright until 2037. As a result, millions of people are unable to access and read the online versions of the original works. (The situation is even worse in the U.S., where those writings will remain under copyright until 2042.)

Centrum Cyfrowe, Kennisland, and COMMUNIA are highlighting the strange legal situation around The Diary of Anne Frank with the campaign #ReadAnneDiary.

Today, the Polish digital education organization Centrum Cyfrowe published the original, Dutch-language version of The Diary of Anne Frank online at annefrank.centrumcyfrowe.pl. This is the first time internet users will able to read the original writings of Anne Frank online. But unless you’re in Poland, you won’t be able to access it. Why? Because as of today, the primary texts are still protected by copyright in most member states of the European Union.

COMMUNIA explains the copyright confusion surrounding the diary:

First, the Anne Frank Foundation announced their plans to list Otto (Anne Frank’s father) as a co-author, which would extend the protection period of the published diary until 2050. Next, due to a transitional rule in Dutch law it became clear that Anne Frank’s original writings would not enter the public domain in 2016 in the Netherlands (and many other EU countries with similar rules). Finally, in early February the Wikimedia Foundation (the organization that hosts Wikipedia and related projects) decided to remove the Dutch-language text of the diary from Wikisource.

It’s a mess. But it doesn’t have to be this way. COMMUNIA underscores the need for a modern, progressive copyright framework in Europe:

Currently, the rules for establishing the duration of the term of protection are so complex that we need the support of legal experts from different European countries just to determine whether an individual work is still protected by copyright or neighboring rights. In particular, the lack of effective harmonisation of the duration of copyright across the EU hampers efforts of organisations and entrepreneurs, who want to offer online products and services. Only an intervention at the European level can be remedy this situation. As we have repeatedly argued, the term of copyright protection should be reduced and fully harmonized and unified throughout the EU. If we want to fully unlock the potential of our rich cultural heritage we need clear rules that allow anyone to determine whether a work is still protected by copyright. This also includes making it clear that digitization of public domain works does not create new rights.

The #ReadAnneDiary campaign corresponds with this year’s World Intellectual Property Day. Copyright and other intellectual property rights can be used to promote creativity, sharing, and innovation. Creative Commons licensing allows authors to publish their creative works on more flexible terms than the default all rights reserved regime. Creators of all types are leveraging open copyright licensing and the public domain to collaborate and share a wealth of content—including digital educational resources, scientific research findings, and rich cultural and artistic works.

At the same time, it’s crucial that the public has the right to access important historical works like original versions of The Diary of Anne Frank. It should be available online—in the public domain—for anyone to access, read, and appreciate.

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Vice President Biden: Taxpayer-funded cancer research shouldn’t sit behind walls

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On Wednesday in New Orleans, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the convening of the American Association for Cancer Research on the need to speed up scientific research, development, and collaboration that can lead to better cancer treatments.

Vice President Biden is leading the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, which aims to accelerate cancer research and “make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving our ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.”

VP Joe Biden asks about CC’s Ryan Merkley’s op-ed in Wired from Matt Lee on Vimeo.

In his remarks to the American Association for Cancer Research, Biden discussed a broad global support for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. He talked about the importance of collaboration among cancer researchers, academic institutions, patient groups, the private sector, and government.

He made a commitment to cancer researchers to help break down barriers that get in the way of their work. One of the barriers is not having broad open access to cancer research and data. The Vice President asked about the types of innovative insights and discoveries that could be made possible with next generation supercomputers and openly accessible, machine readable text and data.

Biden spoke about realigning the incentives around sharing cancer data so that research and development can lead to better treatments, faster. He said, “taxpayers fund $5 billion a year in cancer research every year, but once it’s published, nearly all of that taxpayer-funded research sits behind walls. Tell me how this is moving the process along more rapidly.” Biden quoted Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley, who this week published an op-ed in WIRED on the urgent imperative for open access to publicly funded cancer research:

 Imagine if instead we said we will no longer conceal cancer’s secrets in a paywall journal — pay-walled journals with restricted databases, and instead make all that we know open to everyone so that the world can join the global campaign to end cancer in our lifetimes? It’s a pretty good question. There may be reasons why it shouldn’t be answered like I think it should — and I’m going to hear from you, I hope, because I’ve not made these recommendations yet. But it seems to me this matters. This question matters.

In the op-ed, Merkley pushed for a fundamental change in the model for sharing and collaboration around scientific information, including cancer research: “An alternative system, where all publicly-funded research is required to be shared under a permissive license, would allow authors to unlock their content and data for re-use with a global audience, and co-operate in new discoveries and analysis.”

We’re grateful to see Vice President Biden’s continued support in the fight against cancer, and we’re committed to assisting in the efforts to ensure unrestricted access to cancer research for the public good.

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How should we attribute 3D printed objects?

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How should we attribute authors of CC-licensed 3D designs once that design has been used to print a 3D physical object?

3DSystems 3D Printed Bass / Maurizio Pesce / CC BY

The challenge of attribution, or “view source,” for 3D printed objects, is widespread in the 3D printing community, an active part of CC’s larger network. It is multi-layered and speaks to existing needs by both creators and users of 3D designs. Creators want to be credited for their designs because it feels good to be recognized; plus, as a creator you want to know if and how your work is being used. Users, who are often other creators, want to be able to view the source design behind a physical object so that they can use the design to reprint the object, modify the design, remix it with other designs, or make significant creative additions to the design.

Michael Weinberg from Shapeways first presented on the challenge of attribution in 3D printing at the CC Global Summit last October and wrote up this post summarizing the issue.

In CC’s view, the challenge is more than just compliance with the attribution condition of CC licenses. Actually, it is debatable whether attribution is legally required on the physical object of a CC-licensed 3D design in the first place. Notwithstanding the legal question of whether attribution is required, CC is interested in the challenge of attribution because it speaks to two of our three new strategic outcomes: discovery and collaboration. Standardizing attribution for 3D print objects and providing the information infrastructure behind it (such as a registry or database) would increase discovery of the CC-licensed designs behind the objects and increase connections and collaborations for users who wish to adapt CC-licensed designs to different contexts either on their own or in direct dialogue with the original creator.

Indicating the license on a design is simple; platforms like Thingiverse and Sketchfab have made it easy to upload and mark your 3D designs with a CC license, complete with machine-readable license metadata embedded within the webpage where you download the design file. But once someone sends that file off to a printer, the license information is gone, including the source of the creation — the author, or any way to contact her. The printed physical object doesn’t carry the license info, and though some platforms have provided workarounds, like Thingiverse’s “print thing tags,” these workarounds only make sense for some objects (eg. figurines) but not others (eg. earrings). So how do you view the source of a copyrighted 3D printed object so that you can give credit, print your own version, or iterate on the original design? How do you comply with the attribution requirement of the CC license, if it is in fact legally required?

Let’s figure out a standard way to attribute and view the source of 3D printed objects

Given the current momentum and interest in the 3D printing movement, we think it is much more likely that a standard will be adopted now — this year — rather than at a later date. We want to make sure that any norms that are set are discoverable (machine-readable), usable (user-friendly), and widely adopted (3D community-approved). We also want to make sure that the information behind each attribution is not lost, but indexed in a registry or database so that a user could potentially scan a 3D printed object and view not only its source and license info, but also its derivatives and any commercial models associated with it.

The hope is that any standard for 3D printing could also be adapted for different fields where there are physical objects linked to their digital attributions, eg. print books, but for now we want to focus on the needs of the 3D printing community.

Where do we begin?

To start, we’ve laid out the basic issues and legal questions we need to consider so that we can start researching them, below.

The TL;DR version: We will research and document the basics of 3D printing, including figuring out what types of content are actually copyrightable. We will learn more about how CC licenses are used in the 3D printing community: what and how are users licensing? how are they currently providing credit and source information? We will also explore the policy implications of encouraging attribution as a social norm even where it is not required because copyright does not apply.

Research questions in detail

Basics about how 3D printing works

  • Breakdown of the most common 3D printing process(es) from idea conception to creation of physical object, including types of digital files involved (e.g. scans and CAD files), simple explanation of technical process that occurs in 3D printer, etc.
  • How often are CC licenses applied in this domain? How often are they complied with?
  • What are common techniques for giving credit and identifying source in 3D printing? Real world rules of thumb for ShareAlike?

Role of copyright in 3D printing

  • Within the 3D printing process, which digital files and physical objects are likely eligible for copyright and why? Which ones are not?
    • What are limitations of copyrightability in each of these and how could they or have they been applied? (e.g., useful article rule, merger doctrine)
    • Outline relevant case law. (U.S. and major international cases)
  • When is copyright in each of those objects potentially implicated in the 3D printing process?
    • Even where copying or adaptation occurs, what exceptions or limitations might apply? (e.g., fair use, severability test)
    • Outline relevant case law. (U.S. and major international cases)

Policy implications to think about following initial research of copyright in 3D printing

  • Even if attribution is not legally required, would promoting a standard of attribution result in expansion of copyright (or publicly perceived expansion of copyright)?
  • If copyright is not applicable, what is, or should be, CC’s role in this space?

Michael Weinberg and Public Knowledge have already provided some great baseline research for these questions. We welcome links to other existing research. There may be academic research we don’t have access to (ironically), so any pointers would be helpful.

We want your input

At the same time that we are scoping and carrying out legal research, we will be helping to organize an initial meeting of 3D experts in law, design, and technology, including platforms that enable hosting and distribution of CC-licensed 3D designs. We’ll share our initial thinking and blueprints for prototypes from this meeting, gather community feedback, and then iterate to develop these prototypes for testing in a few platforms. The goal is not for us to develop something that is technically perfect, but for something that has community buy-in for wide and easy adoption.

We’d like to hear from you regarding any of the above. What are we missing in terms of the legal and policy questions? What are some technical solutions that platforms are already using that we should be considering? Who should be involved that we’re not already talking to? And last, but not least, what are your current practices and ideas as a user? Please contact us directly or on the cc-community list. We’re only just getting started.

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Placing Authors at the Center of the Scientific Endeavor

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PLOS is developing a new submission system to enhance the publishing experience for our community of editors, authors and reviewers. Why are we doing this? The linear, step-by-step process of creating, submitting and reviewing a manuscript simply does not satisfy the needs of scientists today. Large-scale solutions to the current challenges of scientific publishing are not simple, but PLOS believes they are challenges that must be addressed.

PLOS is rooted in responsible disruption, beginning with a community-driven Open Letter, to proving Open Access as a sustainable publishing model and creating PLOS ONE, the world’s first and now largest multidisciplinary journal to accept all rigorous science, independent of perceived impact. The PLOS commitment to transforming research communication is not limited to Open Access to the literature; it includes commitment to Open Data, Open Science and Open Recognition. PLOS was the first organization to develop a suite of Article-Level Metrics for its articles and to enforce the requirement that all published articles be accompanied by accessible relevant data. It was also a key driver behind the global collaboration to award researchers for open publication practices with the Accelerating Science Award Program. With this history of pushing boundaries, coalition building and community respect as a foundation, PLOS is well placed for ongoing innovations that benefit science and the public.

Together with the broader scientific community, we have participated in positive movement on issues of active discussion: reproducibility, data sharing, author credit and shifting valuation of research influence and reach. For some time now we have turned our attention to the core of our organization: how we work with our authors and how our authors work together. Our forthcoming manuscript submission system is the result of improvements we have made both technically and in how we here at PLOS work together. For more details on this read the PLOS Tech blog, A Tech Framework for Innovations in Open Science, by PLOS Chief Technology Officer CJ Rayhill.

To honor and connect our roots in the Open Access movement to the exciting Open Science era ahead, we chose the name Aperta™ for our new submission system. Aperta means Open in Italian and brings with it the association of forthcoming and fairness, qualities that PLOS strives to bring to the process of publishing scientific research.

Aperta brings simplicity and flexibility for improved author productivity and innovations that ease collaboration across global teams, facilitate simultaneous progress on multiple parts of a manuscript by multiple authors and reduce time to publication by decreasing the number of necessary submission versions.

With ongoing development, Aperta will provide an integrated system to expedite, streamline and accommodate future innovations in research communication. Together with early posting of articles and engaged community review, PLOS will be poised to capture, preserve and present the comprehensive conversation surrounding a research work and further accelerate scientific discovery. PLOS is putting researchers at the center of science communication and placing authors in control of their manuscripts.

 

Image Credit: Gerd Altman, Pixabay.com

 

Developing Open Policy for Higher Education

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In March we hosted the second Institute for Open Leadership, and in our summary of the event we mentioned that the Institute fellows would be taking turns to write about their open policy projects. First up is Amanda Coolidge, Senior Manager of Open Education at BCcampus.

I have been in the field of open education for 10 years, starting in 2006, when I was based in Nairobi, Kenya working on the TESSA Project through the Open University UK.  I joined BCcampus’s Open Education Team in 2014 and have had the opportunity to work on a variety of open education projects provincially, nationally, and internationally. BCcampus supports the work of the British Columbia (Canada) post-secondary system in the areas of teaching, learning, and educational technology. My role is to lead the Open Education team, and in particular to advocate for open education practices across the province of B.C. BCcampus’s Open Education team is best known for the work we have done on the B.C. Open Textbook Project.

IOL2 Working” (CC BY 2.0) by amanda.coolidge

The Institute for Open Leadership was the most profound and inspirational professional development activity I have taken part in. I had the chance to meet a group of passionate open advocates from around the world who are changing open policy in museums, non-profit organizations, research, and higher education. From the week in Cape Town, I came away with two small open policy projects, and one large project.

BCcampus Open Education contracts with grantees

One of the smaller open policy projects I have taken on is to change and clarify the wording of our contracts with our B.C. grantees. When we work on projects—either creating or adapting open educational resources—each grantee must adhere to the contract that is outlined between BCcampus and the grantee. The language in these contracts needed to be stronger to ensure that openness was not an afterthought, but that it was deeply embedded into the work we were asking the grantee to accomplish. Changes to the wording of our contracts include:

  • Technical formats for revision and remixing: Completed OER materials must include the original, editable files for re-distribution.
  • Accessibility standards: OER in the form of multimedia, such as videos or audio, must be compliant with accessibility standards and include a transcript and preferably closed captioning.
  • Clarification of the CC license requirements for newly created works and the use of existing resources in the development of materials:
    • New Creation – copyright with author(s)
      • The materials covered by this contract will be a newly created work, for which the copyright will be held by the author or in the case of a new book that is collaboratively produced by more than one author the copyright will be jointly owned by all contributing authors. In both cases, the resulting content will be licensed for reuse with the most current version of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
    • Use of Existing Content
      • Any existing content used in the development of the materials must have a Creative Commons License. The use of the materials must comply with the original Creative Commons License attributed to the existing content.
Open policy for the Ministry of Advanced Education

The second smaller—yet potentially more impactful—policy project is developing an open policy statement for our B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education. The open policy is directed to granting funds, in that the Ministry would state that all grantees who receive public funds from the Ministry of Advanced Education must use CC licensed material in the development of their said project. While this is still in draft form and has not been formally presented to the Ministry, a part of the statement reads:

Grantees are encouraged to search existing resources and OER repositories for openly licensed learning objects and, where appropriate, reuse these learning objects instead of duplicating existing objects as components of their proposed programs. If existing OER are reused as part of the grant funded project, the grantee shall comply with the terms of the applicable open license, including proper attribution.

Open educational resources policy guide

The third, and largest, open policy project is the creation of an Open Educational Resources Policy Guide for Colleges and Universities in both the United States and Canada. I have the distinct pleasure of working on this project with another IOL Fellow, Daniel Demarte. Daniel is Vice President for Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer at Tidewater Community College. Daniel and I are very passionate about ensuring that the development and implementation of OER is successful in higher education. We believe that in order to mainstream OER development and adoption, an open policy should be implemented. The purpose of the guide is to promote the utilization of OER and scale efforts to full OER programs. It is written primarily for governance officials at public two-year colleges in the United States and Colleges and Universities in Canada. The contents of the policy guide are not intended to be prescriptive; contents are intended to be adapted for use according to a college’s culture. The OER policy guide is organized in three sections including:

  • OER Policy Principles
  • Components of an OER Policy
  • OER Policy Resources

The components of OER Policy section includes the following topics that we think decision-makers should consider when developing an institutional OER Policy, or when integrating these components into an existing institutional policy:

  • OER Purpose
  • OER Policy Statement
  • Intellectual Property and Licensing OER Content
  • OER Procedures and Responsibilities
  • OER Training and Professional Development
  • OER Course Design
  • OER Content Development
  • Sharing OER Content
  • OER Technical Format
  • OER Sustainability (college-wide capacity, funding model, tenure)
  • OER Quality Assurance

For each component, we provide an explanation of why the component is needed, sample policy statements, sample resources, and a recommended action checklist. Stay tuned for continued updates on the status of the Open Educational Resources policy guide.

I would like to give my sincere thanks to Creative Commons, mentors, fellows, and the Open Policy Network for including me in the Institute for Open Leadership.

View from Table Mountain” (CC BY 2.0) by  amanda.coolidge 

The post Developing Open Policy for Higher Education appeared first on Creative Commons blog.

At Japanese Beatmaking Event, Producers Create CC Remixes in Just Four Hours

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Earlier this month, the fine folks of Creative Commons Japan hosted a beatmaking event at Bigakko, an innovative art education center in Tokyo. A quartet of up and coming Japanese electronic music producers—Madegg, Metome, Foodman (best name ever), and Canooooopy—were issued a challenge: Create brand new remixes of CC-licensed tracks found online. The musicians had exactly four hours to complete the challenge, from finding the CC-licensed source material to exporting their finished remixes.

The results turned out to be pretty fantastic, and are now available through the Creative Commons SoundCloud account. Most of the remixes and almost all of the source tracks that were used are licensed under CC BY and CC BY-SA, so there’s a lot here that you can not only listen to but also use for your own projects and remixes. Check ’em out:

Madegg, “Banana Man”

Metome, “Impro 2016l4l2”

食品まつりa.k.a Foodman, “Hey”

Canooooopy, “雲間に閃く集合知 [clouded souls of crowds]”

The post At Japanese Beatmaking Event, Producers Create CC Remixes in Just Four Hours appeared first on Creative Commons blog.

Wikipedia Year of Science: An Open Opportunity for Participation

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Publishers of peer-reviewed Open Access journals such as PLOS are driven by the realization that, because taxpayers fund the overwhelming majority of biomedical research, there is a moral imperative for the results of this publicly-funded work to be freely and immediately available to those who fund it. In fact, legislators, policymakers and institutions have reached the same conclusion. But what happens to that Open Access scientific content outside the academic or entrepreneurial domain?

In today’s world, there is no reason to limit access to knowledge, and every reason to free it. But the information shared must be reliable, reputable and trusted. This does not mean there is only one perspective or definitive scientific result; research is full of subtleties that inform distinct perspectives and influence final outcomes. What does matter is that science in the public domain, such as content in Wikipedia, is accurate and referenced soundly. Where Wikipedia says “citation required,” PLOS helps create them. PLOS publishes over 30,000 quality peer-reviewed research articles across a broad scope of disciplines each year, and as an Open Access publisher, this trusted research is immediately available for use, reuse and distribution, by anyone with an internet connection.

The Wiki Education Foundation (Wiki Ed) has announced the 2016 Wikipedia Year of Science, an initiative to improve Wikipedia’s potential for communicating science to the public. Through its Classroom Program (where students write Wikipedia articles on class-related topics in place of a traditional research paper) and with collaborations from Wikipedia editors, Wiki Ed will engage scientists to improve the breadth and depth of scientific content on Wikipedia.

Get involved: Find a Wikipedia page on your topic of expertise and match it to a relevant PLOS article. Check out the Year of Science Wiki page and scroll down for the list of monthly themes, then copy/paste the URLs for the Wikipedia and PLOS articles into a form accessible from this survey link. We’ll be sending the information to Edit-A-Thons scheduled throughout the year.

In a Q&A with Tom Porter, Senior Manager of Development at Wiki Ed, PLOS had the opportunity to take a closer look at 2016 Wikipedia Year of Science.

Why this year and why science?

Science is a critical field of education. Wikipedia is enormous, but what you find on Wikipedia is the result of dedicated volunteers. Not every volunteer is interested in writing the kind of content that people search for, or want to learn about, on Wikipedia. That leaves some gaps in public access to knowledge that we think it’s time to tackle.

Since Wikipedia was created 15 years ago, there has been a general warming up of relationships with academics. Often, instructors saw it as a problematic reference material. Now, more often, they see it as an opportunity for student writing. Wiki Ed has worked with 478 instructors at 282 universities, all of whom assigned their students to write for Wikipedia as part of their coursework. “Don’t cite it. Write it!” is the refrain.

In your experience, how do people get over their fear of openly collaborating on public documents such as Wikipedia articles or commenting on existing content through Talk pages? Is it fear, naivety regarding how to do it, or something else?

Many of our students struggle with changing something that’s already on a Wikipedia article – they don’t want to feel bad that they’re rewriting someone else’s content. We spent time in our online training letting students know it’s okay to do so, and we encourage them to post to Talk pages. For many students, this is the first time they’ve worked in public, and they learn a lot about the review and collaboration cycle as they write Wikipedia articles.

Participation and Credit

This is a perfect opportunity for PLOS, with its Open Access content, to reach out to our global contributor community and advance the Open Science movement through improving a vast public resource, increasing article reach, enhancing public awareness of the benefits that Open Access research brings, and accelerating the distribution of research out to the broadest community possible. By increasing access, usability and discovery of trusted information, scientific knowledge made open can propel discovery and innovation. The benefit of participating in the Wikipedia Year of Science is not just greater scientific engagement in public knowledge; it will help “ensure that the next generation of scientists has the skills to explain important scientific principles in a straightforward and effective manner to the general public.”

As organizations, PLOS and Wiki Ed share a common belief in the power of collective knowledge. Both have grown out of communities that recognize the exponential possibilities that Internet connectivity provides, and see the imperative to push that potential for the advantage of humankind. But the desire to do good only works to our advantage as far as it goes; broad community engagement is key. While PLOS and Wiki Ed share a common goal – an open web where communities come together to create, craft, use, reuse and advance critical knowledge – to get there we must understand how to attract communities to participate. New models of doing and publishing science must acknowledge the deep experience of contributors, attribute credit appropriately and retain benefits and rewards for those contributing the original research.

PLOS is not the only organization experimenting with new formats of presenting published work. Wiki Ed recently created Wiki Playlists for personal collections, and PLOS wasted no time in checking it out by creating a Wiki Playlist for PLOS Computational Biology Topic Pages. Examples of open review, post-publication discussion and ongoing dialogue around scientific work, this format allows PLOS authors and editors a collaborative and transparent approach to authoring, reviewing and editing. These articles leverage the capabilities of Wikipedia to expand the reach of research articles and redefine what is published. Authors come to PLOS Computational Biology’s Topic Page editors with content suggestions, and work together to produce a trustworthy, peer-reviewed article for the journal through an open review process that is also posted to Wikipedia for community updating. Once revised and accepted, the articles’ transparent peer review process is preserved by publishing the work – as both a journal article and a Wikipedia page – together with the peer reviews and author responses. PLOS believes that access to the work on Wikipedia increases visibility and invites discussion. Eight Topic Pages have been created to date with Wikipedia versions of articles updated as discoveries are made, allowing the research record to evolve.  There is mutual benefit from new content: Wikipedia is made more robust through the incorporation of peer-reviewed articles, and PLOS authors benefit from the increased reach of their work. This program is ongoing at PLOS and additional Topic Pages are scheduled for release before the end of the year. A revised Wiki Playlist will be created.

Get involved: Tweet about the Wiki Playlist; Wiki Ed asks to include #wikiplaylist in your tweet, for example,

.@PLOSCompBiol #wikiplaylist Open review &post-pub discussion available at @PLOS where #OpenAccess is the norm http://playlist.wiki/playlist/plos-computational-biology-topics or

.@PLOSCompBiol #wikiplaylist Open review, post-pub discussion & ongoing dialogue available in @PLOS articles where Open Access is the norm http://playlist.wiki/playlist/plos-computational-biology-topics

Of course, innovative tools are only part of the story. Their success depends on community and collaboration. Wikipedia is successful in part because of the massive scale of its contributions and contributors. PLOS, through communities and new forums for communicating science, strives to develop its own large-scale, engaged communities. Watch this space for more ways to get involved.

 

Image Credit: Titz B, Rajagopala SV, Goll J, Häuser R, McKevitt MT et al. PLOS ONE. 2008. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002292

Active OER: Beyond open licensing policies

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eBook” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by  Jonas Tana 

 

This is a guest blog post written by Alek Tarkowski, Director of Centrum Cyfrowe and co-founder of Creative Commons Poland. On April 14, 2016, 60 experts from 30 countries are meeting in Kraków, Poland for the first OER Policy Forum. The goal of the event is to build on the foundations for OER strategy development and define collective paths towards greater, active OER adoption.

 

In 2015, the Polish government launched an online repository of open, Creative Commons Attribution-licensed e-textbooks, covering the core curriculum for primary and lower secondary education. After five years, open education activists finally saw their advocacy work bear fruit. In parallel, the government changed the textbook funding model, which translated into massive cost savings for parents and students.

With this goal achieved, we ask ourselves: is our work done? Or is this just the first step in fully achieving the potential for Open Educational Resources (OER) in education? Do we just need textbooks that parents and students don’t have to pay for, or do we need educators and learners actively engaging with resources, and trying out new pedagogies?

The issue surfaces from time to time in discussions on OER policies, but not often enough. We need to move beyond strategies that ensure open availability of content, and supplement them with active policies that support engagement of educators and learners with open resources. Scale of usage, and not just the number of available resources, should be our key metric of success.

Just free, or also open?

In February, at the annual meeting of the OER community, organised by the Hewlett Foundation, David Wiley and John Hilton III organised a discussion on “free vs. open”. The terminology itself was a bit confusing, because by “free” they meant “freely available”, and by “open” they meant allowing the “5 Rs” of active reuse of content. Such use of terms would cause a violent outburst from any orthodox Free Software advocate, since that community has clear definitions of “libre” and “gratis”. But the strange choice of key terms made sense in a way—it drew our attention from the typical way we have been naming things to the problem at heart of OER developments.

We’ve spent too much time arguing about the virtues of “libre” vs. “gratis”, which usually are rooted in moral arguments centered around the value of freedom. Not enough effort has been made to relate the value of OER to real-life educational challenges and the  everyday practices of educators and learners. The OER movement, like much of the open movement, has not paid enough attention to the actual value that openly-licensed resources provide to their users—in such as way that is defined in more precise terms than a potential for greater personal freedom. (This issue has been raised by John Wilbanks in his keynote at the OpenEd conference in 2014).

Wiley and Hilton rightly asked participants of the discussion: what do we gain from policies that lead to the provision of freely available resources? And how do we support open use of resources? The conversation is timely: OER policies are gaining important footholds in the United States. On the one hand, the federal government is committing to making openly available the educational content funded with public tax dollars. Also, at the state level—in particular colleges—educational systems are switching from proprietary to open resources, with the “Z degree” (zero resource cost college degree) leading the way. Using the terms of the debate, these are “gratis”, but not necessarily “libre” policies.

Strong and weak forms of open policies

The same challenge became clear to me over the last five years, as the Polish government has been implementing its open textbooks program. In 2011, Poland adopted a strong open model, which ensures legal openness (through open licensing), technical openness (for example use of open formats and dealing with accessibility issues) and which makes content available with no costs for end users. Polish open textbooks are available for free, in open formats, and under an open license. This is different from a weak open model, in which open licensing is not used.

This weak open model has been for almost two decades at the heart of the Open Access model of scientific publishing, in which academic research articles published in scholarly journals are made available to freely access and read (without carrying a specific open license), typically after an embargo period. Yet in recent years we see a shift toward strong openness in Open Access publishing. This has been explicitly expressed through the re-formulation of principles at the 10th Anniversary of the Budapest Open Access Initiative.

Open licensing ensures strong openness by ensuring, through legal means, rights defined in the educational sphere by Wiley’s “5 Rs”. Recommendations to do so are based on a very well developed argument that goes back to Richard Stallman’s thinking on user freedoms, and Lawrence Lessig’s idea of remix as core activity for free culture. But while reuse of code is a common practice in computer programming, reuse of educational content remains an elusive phenomenon. Open licensing advocates usually argue on the basis of future gains: we need to provide a reuse potential by removing legal barriers so that one day we can see novel types of reuse happen. The challenge our community faces is whether the positive changes advocates say will be realized by adopting strong open policies (i.e. policies that deliberately contain an open licensing mandate) can be observed quickly enough in order to validate their development and implementation. Without solid data on why strong open models are needed, they might be evaluated as overly challenging or ineffective.

We need to remember that strong openness is much more controversial than its weak form. In Poland, the willingness of the government to support a strong open policy led to a conflict with a strong lobby of educational publishers. The controversy focused solely on legal issues around ownership of content – and would have been easily solved by adopting a weak policy model (which the Polish government refused to do, fortunately).

Free or Open? Wrong question?

Making the distinction between “libre” and “gratis” (or “free” and “open”, to use terminology proposed by Wiley and Hilton) is a first, important step. Only then we become aware that there is more to OER policies than just open licensing requirements. It becomes possible to define a spectrum of policies through which educational change happens thanks to openly shared and reused resources.

Yet this does not mean that we need to choose between one strategy or the other. Lowering textbook and materials costs for parents and students has been an important aspect of the education policy introduced in Poland. Similarly, open licensing is an important standard for public funding of educational resources and  should remain core to any impactful OER policy. These are important policies, with the potential of introducing greater equality into the educational system.

But we need to be aware that such a policy, on its own, is a “passive” one if we consider broader goals defined by the open education movement. It’s one that creates only potential action for further change. We need to ask the question, what is happening to content that we have openly provided? And build policies that later support not just passive provision of OER, but their active reuse.

Mapping paths toward open education

Reuse is not something that can only happen “in the wild” once the adequate conditions are created. In fact, such organic reuse is quite rare. Although we lack empirical data, I would assume that less than 5% of users is willing to modify content, remix it, create own versions and mash-ups.

If we agree that empowerment and engagement of educators and learners is an important goal, we need to implement active policies that build on and support the potential ensured by passive ones. These could include incentives for teachers to create, reuse and share OER, investing in repositories and other types of infrastructure for discovery and analytics of content, or paying attention to digital literacy of teachers and formulation of new pedagogies. Developing, testing and implementing such active policies in educational systems around the world has to compliment efforts to open resources.

Almost five years after the signing of the Paris OER Declaration and ten years after the foundational meeting in Cape Town, it is time to define new strategies. For the last few years, I have been advocating for the definition of such “paths to open education”. In response, I’ve often heard that education is too varied for such standard scenarios to be defined. But if we want policies that support active reuse of OERs, then we need to define such standard paths. It is clear to me that these would be useful for policymakers asking the same questions. And the answers to some of these questions might even be easier than focusing most of our efforts and outreach on open licensing.

The post Active OER: Beyond open licensing policies appeared first on Creative Commons blog.

New Open Education Search App by OpenEd.com and Microsoft

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A new Open Education Search App is available as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen campaign, a commitment by 14 states and 40 districts to transition to the use of high-quality, openly-licensed educational resources in their schools. The search app pulls in data from the Learning Registry and works within any Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) compliant Learning Management System. The Open Education Search App enables educators and other users within these districts to search for and assign OER directly within an LMS. Current search filters include subject, grade, topic, and individual standard (eg. Common Core, NGSS, Texas TEKS). Information about the CC license status of the resource is also displayed. The app is available now on the EduAppCenter; you can also check out a screenshot of how it looks below.

In addition to the Open Education Search App, Creative Commons license integration and search is available on Microsoft’s Docs.com. Both OpenEd.com and Microsoft are #GoOpen platform partners working to create the environment where educators and students can access the tools, content and expertise necessary to thrive in a connected world. Creative Commons will continue to work closely with both to integrate CC license choice and content discovery across platforms.

Learn more about Creative Commons work with platforms: https://creativecommons.org/platform/.

 

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Help Us Build Creative Commons Certificates – Open Community Call

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With Creative Commons now being used by people all over the world to openly license over a billion pieces of content, a good working knowledge of what Creative Commons is and how it works is critical.

Creative Commons is developing a series of certificates to provide organizations and individuals with a range of options for increasing knowledge and use of Creative Commons.

The Creative Commons Master Certificate will define the full body of knowledge and skills needed to master CC. This master certificate will be of interest to those who need a broad and deep understanding of all things Creative Commons.

In addition, custom certificates are being designed for specific types of individuals and organizations. Initially Creative Commons is focusing on creating a specific CC Certificate for 1. educators, 2. government, and 3. librarians. The CC Certificate for each of these will include a subset of learning outcomes from the overall CC Master Certificate along with new learning outcomes specific to each role.

All certificates will include both a modular set of learning materials that can be used independently for informal learning, and a formal, structured and facilitated certificate the can be taken for official certification.

CC is grateful for initial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services who have provided funding for the development of the CC Master Certificate and specialized versions for educators, government, and librarians.

Creative Commons is seeking to engage the entire open community in the development of these certificates.

Sandcastles by Neil Turner CC BY-SA 

We plan to design and develop the certificates openly on the web in a way that allows for public input and contribution. We currently are experimenting with making all the certificate designs available for review and edit through GitHub and other tools.

In addition we are looking to tap into as much subject matter expertise as possible through the formation of  certificate working groups. A working group of Creative Commons staff has been formed to provide subject matter expertise on the CC Master Certificate. We’re also reaching out through our networks to form working groups with librarians, educators and government to ensure the specialized certificates are relevant and appropriately targeted to each group.

A Creative Commons Certificate librarian working group is being formed through coordinated outreach in consultation with organizations like the American Library Association, Digital Public Library of America, and SPARC.

The government and educator versions of the certificate are being created to satisfy needs that emerged out of the US Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) grant and the 700+ community colleges who are grantees. Creative Commons is reaching out to these and others for expertise on the government and educator versions of the certificate.

A working group of participants from across Creative Commons global affiliate network has also been formed to help ensure initial work takes into consideration internationalization and localization.

If you’d like to be actively involved in any of these working groups let us know.

Certificates will be created as Creative Commons licensed Open Educational Resources reusing and remixing as many existing openly licensed resources as possible. We’re looking to aggregate, adopt, and adapt existing materials as much as possible and only develop new content for areas where nothing already exists. We’ll be inviting you to identify all materials you’re aware of and map them to certificate learning outcomes.

Rather than focusing our initial efforts on content development we’ll instead focus on defining learning outcomes along with associated activities and assessments that effectively test those outcomes. Our aim is to have assessments be 100% performance-based, testing people on their ability to use Creative Commons in applied and practical ways. One form of activity and assessment will include having certificate participants create actual certificate content as OER. Co-creation with participants will build up a pool of community created Creative Commons Certificate content, targeted to learning outcomes, in many different languages, localized to different parts of the world, and curated by Creative Commons.

If you have thoughts, resources, or interest in helping out please let us know.

We currently have a submission in to the Knight Foundation’s “How might libraries serve 21st century information needs?” challenge brief. If successful, we plan to engage working groups of librarians in multi-day sprint workshops to do everything from co-defining learning outcomes, to identifying existing CC related openly licensed curricula, beta testing curricula, and defining optimal modes of delivery and duration. If you think that is a good idea or want to be part of those sprints we invite you to express interest by sharing your comments here Creative Commons (CC) Certificate for Librarians.

In future development, Creative Commons is planning for a train-the-trainer certification which will authorize others to deliver Creative Commons certificates on its behalf in different parts of the world. We welcome expressions of interest from other organizations wanting to work with us on this.

As CC embarks on its strategy to “foster a vibrant, usable, and collaborative global commons”, Creative Commons certificates will play a critical role in ensuring participation scales in informed and skilled ways.

The post Help Us Build Creative Commons Certificates – Open Community Call appeared first on Creative Commons blog.

Where Next for PLOS: Working Together to Make Waves in Scientific Communication

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What began as a ripple with the goal to make research accessible and free has propagated into over 157 funder and 500 university policies that provide millions of readers around the world increasing opportunities to make important, positive impacts on global health, scientific discovery, policy and education. This wave of Open Access–and now Open Science–moving through the scientific community has created a scientific publishing ecosystem that spreads beyond researchers, reviewers, editors and funders to include technologists, institutions, patients, entrepreneurs and librarians.

Concomitantly, the pieces of the research puzzle have become more complex: multimedia data, web-searchable genomic datasets and real-time online discussions alter the way people work, communicate and cooperate. The internet has driven a shift from readership to engagement, from the sole operator to an invigorated community, from hierarchical to networked feedback and from static publication to dynamic updates. This increasing complexity has resulted in insufficient coordination and integration of processes, making the sharing of research burdensome. Science, technology and medical (STM) journal publishers have struggled to fully leverage the potential of innovation and evolving work styles to enable and facilitate science communication.

Responsible Disruption

Traditional publishing is inadequate for the communication of science, as demonstrated by the increasing number of options that provide rapid routes to publication in alternative forms. Calls to disrupt the constraints of traditional publishing are constant and gaining in strength. At the same time, publishers and others are working to ensure that proposed reforms and innovations do not compromise the values of documentation, curation, and prioritization, sharing, archiving and integrity. The public relies on the belief that content published in peer-reviewed journals is trustworthy, despite the fact that this is too often not the case. We must do better. All stakeholders, including publishers, are accountable.

With these cautions in mind, it is critical for publishers such as PLOS to lead change and innovate to support the research enterprise. PLOS has a history of openness and innovation at scale that, when combined with engaged and collaborative stakeholders willing to provide feedback, have facilitated a revolution in research communication.

Shaping the Future

PLOS has redefined the publishing model and proved that making quality research openly available for anyone to read, download and reuse is a viable business model. PLOS redefined the concept of the journal and ignited change with the groundbreaking PLOS ONE —a forum for publishing all sound science and providing an expansive scope for researchers’ work. PLOS has redefined “influence” beyond the limitations of journal metrics with PLOS Article-Level Metrics that reveal a snapshot of an article’s influence and value before accumulation of citations and over time. PLOS is redesigning the discussion and extending article reach with The PLOS Blogs Network, PLOS Communities and the PLOS Science Wednesday on redditscience Ask Me Anything series. These opportunities move the discussion into the open to support a public dialogue that distributes knowledge, helps tell the story behind the research and fosters community for the benefit of working scientists and the general public.

PLOS is actively furthering its mission to accelerate science and medicine–from research and discovery to influence tracking and community building–through a suite of proposed new initiatives:

  • Ahead-of-publication posting and alternative forms of outputs for rapid dissemination of important research with consideration for integrity, quality and reproducibility
  • Collaborative and open peer review with broad community involvement, appropriate recognition and accountability
  • Priority submission in the case of public health emergencies
  • Advocacy for a shift within academia, industry, funding agencies and elsewhere to transform not just processes but also culture and credit

PLOS is also pursuing how pre-print servers might best serve the community while simultaneously building a more efficient manuscript submission system that provides flexibility for different author working styles, and streamlined submissions with enhanced automations and improved author, reviewer and editor collaboration.

“We are determined to drive progress toward Open Science by providing the community with a publishing experience that fully leverages the technical potential to advance science fast, openly and with broad participation,” says PLOS Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Marincola.

Merging Tides

PLOS cannot do this alone. Publishers, editors and reviewers wield only a fraction of the power to shift the tide.

“Together with authors, funders and other visionary leaders across sectors, we must act now. When we reach this potential, we will boost confidence in the scientific enterprise, from reproducibility to publication to reward,” says Marincola.

As with all transformative thinking and shifting behaviors, this process will not happen in one large splash. There will be ripples of innovation and shifting behaviors that disperse outward, sometimes quickly and other times less so. These ripples will intersect with those of like-minded organizations and innovators to once again push the boundaries of scientific publishing. Watch this space for news and updates as we continue to refine the definition, evaluation and recognition of scientific work. PLOS aspires to put researchers back at the center of science communication, working in the best interests of all stakeholders—for the benefit of science and of future generations.

 

Image Credit: Gerd Altman, Pixabay.com

Reporting back on the Institute for Open Leadership 2

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The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway by Alessandro Sarretta, CC BY

Last week Creative Commons hosted the second Institute for Open Leadership. The Institute is a training and peer-to-peer learning opportunity that brings together up-and-coming leaders to develop and implement an open licensing policy in their institution, province or nation. We were thrilled to welcome a diverse group of fellows from 14 countries to Cape Town, South Africa.

  • Jane-Frances Agbu – National Open University of Nigeria – Nigeria
  • Rim Azib – British Council, Tunis – Tunisia
  • Steve Cairns – Greenpeace International – Netherlands
  • Amanda Coolidge – BCcampus – Canada
  • Daniel DeMarte – Tidewater Community College – United States
  • Paula Eskett – CORE Education – New Zealand
  • Mostafa Azad Kamal – Bangladesh Open University – Bangladesh
    Roshan Kumar Karn – Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital – Nepal
  • Vincent Kizza – Open Learning Exchange Uganda – Uganda
  • Fiona MacAllister – University of the Witwatersrand – South Africa
  • Katja Mayer – University of Vienna – Austria
  • Caroline Mbogo – The World Agroforestry Centre – Kenya
  • Niall McNulty – Cambridge University Press – South Africa
  • Juliana Monteiro – Museu da Imigração do Estado de São Paulo – Brazil
  • Alessandro Sarretta – Institute of Marine Sciences – Italy

In addition to the fellows, we invited seven mentors with open policy expertise from various open sectors. We even brought back two IOL #1 fellows (Klaudia Grabowska and David Ernst) to be mentors at this year’s Institute.

Prior to arriving in Cape Town, all of the fellows proposed an open policy project, which they then developed with their mentors and other fellows during the week. A natural focus for the week was understanding open licensing and the potential for open policies to expand public access to knowledge, data, culture, and research around the world. But licensing is not the only component to a successful open policy adoption. Much of the week involved hearing how openness is perceived within different sectors and institutions, and coming up with strategies and tactics for addressing the important social, cultural, and technological challenges to open policy adoption.

IOL2 session by Kelsey, CC BY

In addition to learning and working with the mentors and other fellows, there were several interesting speakers that came to talk with the group, including Adam Haupt and Caroline Ncube from the University of Cape Town, Mark Horner from Siyavula, Ralph Borland with Africa Robots, and Barbara Chow, TJ Bliss, and Dana Schmidt from the Hewlett Foundation.  

Over the coming months, the Institute fellows will share regular updates here about their projects, including the progress they are making in implementing open licensing policies within their institutions and governments.

Thank you to Paul Stacey and Kelsey Wiens—who helped facilitate the week-long workshop—and to Kelsey in particular, who helped arrange all the logistics for the meeting in Cape Town. We also appreciate the assistance from the Open Policy Network and the ongoing support from the William and Flora Hewlett and the Open Society Foundations in making the Institute for Open Leadership possible.

IOL2 fellows and mentors by Cable Green, CC BY

The post Reporting back on the Institute for Open Leadership 2 appeared first on Creative Commons blog.

Creative Commons Turkey Joins the CC Affiliate Network

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Creative Commons Türkiye Lansmanı (CC BY-SA)

Last week, on March 11 2016, Creative Commons Turkey was officially launched during an event at Özyeğin University in Istanbul. Creative Commons is extremely proud and happy to have CC Turkey join the affiliate network, and we want to congratulate the whole team for their efforts over the last year to accomplish this.

We hope and expect that the CC Turkey team will play a pivotal role in the region, and we are looking forward to working with them on the translation of the licenses into Turkish and for the organisation of CC-related events!

Hoşgeldiniz CC Türkiye!
-Gwen Franck, Regional Coordinator Europe

Reposted from Creative Commons Türkiye:

The Creative Commons Turkey launch event was held in Özyeğin University on Friday, March 11 with the theme of #shareyourcreativity. The event featured a large number of guests including legal professionals, IT experts, researchers, educators and librarians.

We are pleased to announce that Creative Commons Turkey is now a part of the global CC community.

The event offered a rich program of exciting, horizon-broadening speeches and enlightening discussions. In the spotlight of the discussions of open society, free society and copyrights reform and culture of sharing which Creative Commons represents and is therefore a natural part of it. The use of Creative Commons licenses will make great contributions to the development of these dynamics in Turkey. The launch event was a step towards identifying the points of resistance and gaps in adopting the culture of sharing in the Turkish society and building a legal infrastructure for it.

Sharing and dissemination of intellectual, cultural and artistic outputs to wider audiences are unprecedented elements of a creative, innovative, well-educated, sophisticated and free society. In recognition of this fact, Creative Commons Turkey, under the leadership of Özyeğin University, will continue to work unflaggingly to enable and promote the use of CC licenses in collaboration with all stakeholders. You may follow up on our activities at creativecommons.org.tr and @ccturkiye.

We invite you all to share your creativity with CC licenses.

Please visit the program page for the presentations and videos of the Creative Commons Turkey launch event. [Photos from the event are available on Flickr.]

The post Creative Commons Turkey Joins the CC Affiliate Network appeared first on Creative Commons blog.

Collaboration with IBM Watson Supports the Value Add of Open Access

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In this massively data rich world, the equilibrium between information and knowledge has increasingly shifted from knowledge toward information. Advanced text and data mining (TDM) is not yet ubiquitous and even if it were, not all content is structured enough to leverage TDM potential. In developing the supercomputer Watson with the ability to process, analyze and extract information from natural language such as PLOS article text, IBM is beginning to shift the equilibrium back to knowledge.

Understanding Relationships

PLOS and IBM Watson are collaborating to bring quality Open Access biomedical literature to healthcare entrepreneurs and innovators, and to do so in a way that provides full article content and context including PubMed citation information from the National Library of Medicine.

The collaboration is “not just about PLOS or Open Access,” says PLOS Chief Technology Officer CJ Rayhill, “it’s about improved healthcare through immediate access to relevant clinical, translational and basic biomedical discoveries documented in the peer-reviewed literature.”

For the past year, IBM Watson has been ingesting PLOS article content directly from PubMed Central, beginning with PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine. This large collection of content is then used by IBM Watson in two ways, direct and indirect. In direct and immediate use, structured metadata as well as concepts extracted from article text are put to an algorithm by IBM Watson to obtain insights into relationships that might improve the way medicine is practiced in the clinic or hospital, at point of care. Used indirectly, developers of software applications create programs that extract customized information and concepts from PLOS articles—or any other large collection of text.

Accelerating Discovery

Watson’s ability to analyze massive amounts of information means it can keep up – faster and better than any human brain – with advances reported in scientific journals. The future may lie in the possibility that in the same way clinicians are beginning to use mobile apps to guide medical treatment decisions, scientists will use an app to help map their own research discovery pathways, based on the entire text of Open Access literature in PubMed Central. In this way, Open Access articles provide entrepreneurs the reliable biomedical information they need to develop digital healthcare, translational medicine and even research breakthroughs. The conversation between PLOS and IBM Watson is one more example of PLOS accelerating research progress and transforming research communication–through collaboration.

PLOS helped IBM Watson project leaders understand important differences in Open Access biomedical literature–not all Open Access is created equal. PLOS advised in the training of IBM Watson to understand research article content and to recommend that as IBM Watson moves to ingest additional scientific data from PubMed Central, key contextual information is maintained, including DOIs and links to cited literature. Importantly, through inclusion of Open Access articles, entrepreneurs will benefit from the ability of Watson to provide a complete picture of research results as presented in an article, with the context of those results maintained relevant to the body of Open Access literature cross-referenced within the article. For the sake of limited time and brainpower, you and I might restrict our reading to an article’s abstract. Watson doesn’t have those problems.

A collaboration between PLOS and IBM might seem out of place. But it’s important to appreciate, says Rayhill, that “information and insights contained in Open Access publications have value in commercial applications.” Those at the forefront of clinical care, biomedical research or policy development can access this knowledge and benefit from improved decision making.

Image Credit: parameter_bond, Flickr.com

New Job Opportunities at Creative Commons

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Women In Tech – 115 by WOCinTech Chat, CC BY-SA 2.0

I’m very excited to share three new job postings with Creative Commons today, supporting three essential areas of our work: technology, communications, and fundraising. It’s a very exciting time for CC: we have new revenues, a new strategy, and a growing Commons and an energetic movement around the world. There is new energy, a great staff, and so much potential, but we need add to our team to be successful. Below is a summary of the new positions with links to the postings.

Director of Engineering

Responsible for all aspects of CC’s technology infrastructure and product and service development, the Director of Engineering will lead our existing dev team to build a more vibrant, usable global commons, powered by collaboration and gratitude. We want to light up the Commons — make it more discoverable, usable, and connected. This is the opportunity: to build products and services — both standalone and within our partner platforms — that will bring the commons to life with greater use, re-use, and contribution.

Communications Manager

Focused on the production and distribution of communication materials that expand CC’s reach and increase the size of our community, the Communications Manager will create innovative, compelling communications that grow and connect communities of creators who want to share. You’ll help us put the best of the Commons front and centre, and show the benefits of sharing and collaboration in all the communities in which we work.

Development Manager

This position is focused on fundraising from foundation and government sources to meet our annual revenue goals. The job includes research, data management, reporting, and copy writing. Our new strategy is ambitious, and your opportunity is to support our team with the resources they need to achieve these goals. Your contribution will be vital to the success of the organization and our global community.

There are a few more hires in the queue this year: one in UX and one in event planning, which will likely go up in the summer. It’s a really exciting time to join CC, and an important time for the free culture and open knowledge movements around the world. Please share the posts, and help us find great people to join our team.

One final note: As today is International Women’s Day, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how much I believe that our organizations are better when they have women’s voices and leadership featured prominently. Our CC staff today is 42 percent women, and 60 percent of our team at director level and above are women. But we can do better, and when we do, our work and our movement will be better as a result — all the data says so.

When drafting these postings, we did a final round of revisions in response to insights about how different genders approach a call for applications. Research suggests that women often choose not to apply for a position based on the requirements they don’t have, while men tend to apply regardless. Some have suggested this is a problem women should fix, which to me is about as backwards as saying women get paid systemically less for the same work because they don’t ask the right way. I think it’s a challenge for Creative Commons to address, and for me personally — ensuring we ask for everything we do need, and nothing we don’t. If we can’t hire talented, qualified women, that’s our fault, not the fault of talented, qualified women.

You can help: have a look at these postings and if you know a bright, creative woman who wants to change the world with us, encourage her to apply. If that person is you, we can’t wait to hear from you.

 

Stock photo from the excellent Women of Color in Tech, that shares CC-licensed stock images, perfect for just this kind of post. We love them.

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Happy Open Education Week!

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Open Education Week 2016 Banner, by: Open Education Consortium, CC BY 4.0

Happy Open Education Week everyone!

Open Education Week is an annual convening of the global open education movement to share ideas, new open education projects and to raise awareness about open education and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.

Join this weeklong celebration of the benefits of free and open sharing in education.

Creative Commons is actively participating with:

Be sure to share your Open Education Week activities with: #openeducationwk

What events are you planning this week?

The post Happy Open Education Week! appeared first on Creative Commons blog.

World Without Waste? Appropedia and the Sustainability Commons

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The guest post below was written by Erik Moeller of Passionate Voices, a collaborative blog that hosts interviews with interesting makers, writers, thinkers, and artists from all over the world.

The global maker movement is known for creative hacks, as well as for getting people of all ages excited about technology and how the world works. At the intersection of maker communities and social activism, we find remarkable projects like Open Source Ecology, WikiHouse, and the topic of this article: Appropedia.

Appropedia is not a specific effort to use technology for good, but rather a global community documenting collaborative solutions for sustainability, appropriate technology, poverty reduction, and permaculture. You can think of it as a “Wikipedia for sustainability” and, indeed, it uses similar underlying mechanics: the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License and the MediaWiki software, for starters.

Appropedia co-founder Lonny Grafman (sitting, right) at the Las Malvinas photovoltaic workshops, where participants become the teachers and install solar power for a public pharmacy. License: CC BY-SA

Lonny Grafman, an an instructor at Humboldt State University in Northern California, founded Appropedia in 2006. Today it has thousands of pages on topics as diverse as solar cookers, thermal curtains, and rainwater harvesting. It is available in eight languages, including the beginnings of a Kiswahili edition.

The wiki is a tool for communities of practice that are looking to achieve real-world impact. At Humboldt State, Grafman founded a program called Practivistas. “In the Practivistas program, we bring students from the US and other countries to live and work with students in another country, in communities of little resources,” Grafman explains.

Practivistas don’t approach communities with a predetermined problem or solution. Instead, projects like a classroom constructed using locally sourced materials and alternative building methods are planned and implemented together with local communities from start to finish. In this case, plastic bottles were used as one of the primary materials for the classroom walls.

A beach bag made from plastic waste as part of the Arroyo Norte waste plastic innovation project. License: CC BY-SA

Projects are documented in Appropedia so that other communities may benefit. Beyond Practivistas, students from courses at Humboldt and other universities contribute content to the wiki through what’s called service learning. Explains Grafman: “It’s this thing that sits between and hopefully a little bit above internship, which is about student learning, and volunteerism, which is about the target community getting needs met.”

Grafman argues that engaging students in building the commons is better for the students, too: “My experience is that students learn more. Even just by motivation. When you’re doing something real, that has real impacts, there’s just a lot more motivation to do it right.”

In addition to his work on Appropedia, Grafman is interested in ways to reduce humanity’s energy use. He co-founded a company, Nexi, which makes energy monitors for the home. It’s a for-profit, and parts of the tech will remain proprietary, while Nexi may contribute to a commons of open data about energy use: “The good news is that we really don’t have to be puritanical about anything as diverse solutions will actually build more resilience.”

Appropedia, meanwhile, is hiring an Executive Director, to make the sustainability commons itself sustainable in the long run. No matter what the future holds, as a repository of creative solutions for addressing the problems all around us, Appropedia has already demonstrated that an information commons can directly improve people’s lives.

You can learn more about the project’s goals, and read the full interview I conducted with Lonny Grafman on Passionate Voices.

Erik Moeller (@xirzon), PassionateVoices.org

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Jonathan Barnbrook on his CC-licensed art for David Bowie’s Blackstar

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Jonathan Barnbrook is a world-renowned artist who has worked extensively in a variety of media including film, typography, and graphic design. He was also a close collaborator of David Bowie, and created the cover artwork for the musician’s last four albums. Sadly, Bowie died in January, just two days after the release of his final studio album, Blackstar (aka ★). The record, which has gone on to become a commercial and critical hit, was intended by Bowie to be a “parting gift” to fans.

As an homage to his friend and creative collaborator, Barnbrook decided to take the “gift” concept to the next level. He released the artwork for Blackstar under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, so that it could be shared and remixed noncommercially by Bowie fans around the world.

We recently had the opportunity to talk to Barnbrook about choosing to make the Blackstar art available in this fashion. It was great to hear how much the notions of tribute and gratitude played into his decision to use a CC license for this project.

Blackstar by Barnbrook, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

What inspired you to offer the Blackstar art to the public for reuse and remix?

I felt a public, more “official” gesture was needed to empathize with the grief many people were suffering [as a result of David Bowie’s death]. I had seen a lot of tattoos and use of the artwork, so I wanted to give these people something to remember David by without them thinking they were using the artwork illegally or secretly in some way. I was as upset as they were, so the artwork was released in the positive spirit of sharing and understanding what they were going through.

People belittle collective public grief, which is a bit silly because a person can be the conduit of an ideology or philosophy of an age. I think [the grief] has been so enormous for David because he represented being who you wanted to be in a society where people are often not given the chance to do that. He gave hope and expression to many who didn’t fit in or who were not where they quite wanted to be, so when he was gone it was understandable that people felt a great sense of loss.

I also feel that music is very underrated in terms of importance in people’s lives. In an immediate sense it doesn’t help a war situation or save someone’s life, but it is very life affirming. It can help you through depression, express the moments of absolute joy, be a symbol of an age or philosophy. So again, it is understandable that you’d grieve when the person who expressed these things for you in the intangible form of music is no longer there to be part of your life.

I always felt that it was an incredible responsibility and privilege whenever I worked on David’s covers. So I understood that this would be an appropriate thing to do.

A portrait of Jonathan Barnbrook … by Cyberuly, CC BY 2.5

Why did you specifically choose a Creative Commons license to encourage people to share and remix the artwork?

It is a very well-thought-out, simple system that everybody knows and can understand. The licenses can be read in depth or understood simply on the website. It made it clear that people could use it in the way they wanted without affecting the commercial aspect of the album sales.

Was releasing the art in this way something you’d considered doing before Bowie’s death?

I talked about this with David before he died and he thought it was a great idea, although I couldn’t have imagined the sad circumstances under which I would eventually do it. It came from when the album The Next Day came out—the fans took the white square on the cover and used it in their own way. It was something which I didn’t calculate but it made me extremely happy that they wanted to use, respond, and be part of it too. I felt this needed to be thought of at a fundamental level for the release of Blackstar, that the old model of a record company releasing the record and copyrighting everything so fans could not react or add their own interpretation was wrong. It shouldn’t be such a one-sided experience and instead should show respect and understanding for those people who love the music. The music is still the property of the record company and that is not affected, this just means that people can have their own identification with the release and what Bowie meant to them. When he died I felt that it was even more important that we should do this, especially since a lot of people had specifically asked me for the artwork without any intention of making money from it.

Since I released the artwork I have received so many lovely messages thanking me for it and saying what it means to be able to use the artwork to remember David by. Really it has brought a tear to my eye each time I have read them.

Have you seen any interesting uses or remixes of the art yet?

People are incorporating the Ziggy Stardust stripe in with it, which I think is great. That is an amazing graphic and to feel that the Blackstar [art] is of equal meaning is an honor.

How an artist has affected your life is an intensely personal, unique experience. One of the reasons that we used the Creative Commons license allowing derivatives was because of this. It is important that people interpret [art] in their own way and that they feel free to do it. It is not something that should be dictated by me—I just created one of the components to do it.

And what kind of things do you hope people do with the art?

Quite simply: show their love and appreciation of David Bowie.

How did you first learn about Creative Commons licenses?

It has always been on my radar. It was one of the first prominent models of sharing creativity in a way that didn’t fit in with the existing models of “commercial or not commercial” for artworks. There needs to be a room to share which is above and beyond what is monetary value. Humanity is not built on money—it is built on the meaningful exchange between people.

How have openness and sharing influenced your work and creative process generally?

I think it has been fundamental to it. In addition to working in music, [my creative studio] has done a lot of activist work—and that is about ideas. The spreading of those ideas is fundamental to their success. We have made a lot of them free for people to use and we will be shortly be using Creative Commons again for artworks on our new website soon.

The post Jonathan Barnbrook on his CC-licensed art for David Bowie’s Blackstar appeared first on Creative Commons blog.

PLOS 2015 Reviewer Thank You

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2016 is shaping up to be a notable year for PLOS; it’s the organization’s 15th Anniversary of its founding as a nonprofit and the 10th Anniversary of the groundbreaking journal PLOS ONE. Before looking too far ahead though, it’s important to reflect on the previous year and thank the enormous pool of reviewers who do the work of ensuring that every manuscript submitted to PLOS receives an unbiased and constructive review.

In 2015, PLOS published more than 31,000 articles; each one required participation from at least one of the 85,000+ contributors involved in the peer review process across the PLOS suite of journals. This reviewer community plays an integral role in advancing science by providing trusted, quality contributions to the publication process through expert evaluation of submitted work and productive feedback to authors.

Each journal editorial team—PLOS ONE, PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and PLOS Pathogens—has published a Thank You, together with a list of reviewers in a Supporting Information file as a citable article for reviewers to include in their CVs. We value the time, expertise and insight of reviewers, the essential role they play in the scientific community and their commitment to bring trusted scientific research to the public.

These citable items are part of our efforts to improve recognition and credit for substantial contributions to the scientific enterprise. It is our hope that reviewers will include these citations on their CVs and resumes, and that those responsible for tenure, promotion and hiring decisions will acknowledge and value this credit.

This coming year PLOS will bring additional improvements to the way authors, reviewers and staff work together, leveraging advances in digital technologies that continue to alter the way people work, communicate and cooperate. With the diligence and dedication of the entire PLOS Contributor Community—from authors and funders to editors and reviewers—we can accelerate the time from discovery to publication and extend the means by which scientists share their ideas.

To each and every one of our more than 85,000 reviewers who make this possible, thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Véronique Kiermer, Executive Editor

The flip side of copyright

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Fair Use Week 2016 is here, and we’re happy to celebrate it alongside many other organizations and individuals who believe in the importance of flexible exceptions to copyright law.

There are now over 1 billion CC-licensed works available, and these will always be free for anyone to use and share. CC licenses work because of the existing contours of copyright. We sometimes complain about the numerous negative aspects of our collective copyright rules—such as absurdly long terms, disproportionate infringement penalties, and a pervasive permission culture. At the same time, we also need to support and expand the features of our copyright law that make possible increased access to information, educational activities, and freedom of expression. We all can use the Creative Commons licenses to create our own commons of content that can be freely reused and shared. But we still rely on the fundamental checks and balances to copyright law to do things that would never be possible using open licensing alone. This is why we celebrate Fair Use Week.

Fair use “permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders…[including for] commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.” Fair use is categorized as an exception to the exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder. A fair use is not an infringement of copyright.

The legal doctrine of fair use continues to get stronger. In the U.S., a court case held that creating copies of copyrighted works for the purpose of search is a fair use. Scholarly and creative disciplines like documentary filmmaking rely on collaboratively-developed best practices guides that steer fair use norms for their respective communities. The power behind fair use lies in its flexibility, which allows for changes in technology and how we interact with and use copyrighted works for creative production, teaching, and learning, as well as new practices in research and journalism.

There are still threats to realizing the full potential of flexible limitations and exceptions to copyright. For example, there are currently trade agreements in play that diminish the importance of limitations to copyright. Instead of securing mandatory limitations and exceptions for uses of copyrighted works under the TPP, all of the provisions that recognize the rights of the public are voluntary, whereas almost everything that benefits rightsholders is binding. Some scholarly publishers are trying to impose licenses that would restrict how researchers are able to conduct text and data mining. These licenses and contracts are problematic because they attempt to require permissions under the law where no permission would have been necessary otherwise. As we mentioned above, U.S. case law has already clarified that activities such as text and data mining will remain outside of the purview of copyright, while other countries are introducing specific legislative exemptions for it. Communia has written about how limitations and exceptions to copyright in the European Union should not be able to be moved aside by contract or license. Of course, Creative Commons licenses respect fair use and other exceptions and limitations to copyright. CC licenses end where copyright ends, which means you don’t need to comply with a CC license if you don’t need permission under copyright.

It’s clear that fair use and other limitations and exceptions are vital to a healthy copyright system. During Fair Use Week and the rest of the year, let’s continue to support and expand these critical user rights.

The post The flip side of copyright appeared first on Creative Commons blog.

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