Update on ‘PLOS Science Wednesday’ redditscience AMA series, upcoming featured PLOS authors

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After seven PLOS Science Wednesday “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) sessions on redditscience, we’re pleased to report that this pilot PLOS science communication vehicle has received a robust community response while raising the visibility of PLOS authors and bringing more readers to their research articles.

Participating PLOS authors have uniformly offered feedback on the high caliber of questions and comments posed during their AMAs. They also say they’ve had a great deal of fun doing them, while expressing some amazement at the sheer numbers involved in the conversations. Upon hearing of the 74,000 page views for his May 13 AMA, computer scientist (PLOS Computational Biology author) Jeff Clune sent this message: “Wow… Normally when I give a talk it is to 20-80 people…at a conference perhaps a few hundred. The internet certainly changes the scale of things!”

More good news comes with efforts by the broader PLOS author community to pitch in. Given the impossibility of one author or team answering the 200+ questions typically posed by /r/science members in any given AMA, it’s extremely helpful when other researchers in the same field help out by answering one or more questions during the course of the AMA. Here, for example, is PLOS Computational Biology author Marcel Salathe tweeting his response to an AMA question on the June 3 PLOS Currents AMA dealing with measles and vaccines.

Given this high level of researcher engagement, PLOS sees these author AMAs as enhancements to the journal articles on which they are based. They also function as in-depth archived community discussions on important and timely science topics, which are available in perpetuity on the redditscience subthread for all to read and re-purpose. On PLOS journal sites, each PLOS Science Wednesday AMA transcript is linked to the “Related Content” tabs at the top of their respective PLOS articles. We encourage other health and science communicators to take and reuse this content in whatever ways may assist your purposes.

To date, the PLOS Science Wednesday series on redditscience has received over 500,000 total page views and some 1500 comments/questions! Keep them coming!

Upcoming PLOS r/science AMAs:

Jun 10: Timothy Brown — Color As a Signal for Entraining the Mammalian Circadian Clock (University of Manchester; researcher, intersection between biological rhythms and visual processing). Read the PLOS Biology article.

Jun 17: Manica Balasegaram of the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Access Campaign and Bernard Pécoul of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative — After the G7 Summit, Prospects for a Global Health R&D Fund to fight Ebola, Antibiotic Resistance & Neglected Diseases. Read the PLOS Medicine article.

Also coming up, don’t miss a special PLOS Science Wednesday AMA with climate scientist James Hansen, to coincide with the 2015 Ecological Society of America Conference (Aug 9-14). Dr. Hansen will discuss research conducted since his influential 2013 PLOS ONE article  and general developments in climate change science – this AMA takes place on August 12th, 1 pm ET.

Archived AMAs:

  • Assessing Measles Transmission in the United States Following a Large Outbreak in California – Seth Blumberg (physician/scientist at UCSF) and Jennifer Zipprich (CA state epidemiologist) 6/3/15 AMA archive; PLOS Currents Outbreaks article


  • Why Publishing Everything Is More Effective than Selective Publishing of Statistically Significant Results – Jelte M. Wicherts – 5/27/15 AMA archive; PLOS ONE article


  • The Extent and Consequences of P-Hacking in Science – Megan Head – 5/20/15 AMA archive PLOS Biology article


  • Creating Computational Brain Models for Artificial Intelligence – Jeff Clune, Kai Olav Ellefsen, Jean-Baptiste Mouret – 5/13/15 AMA archive; PLOS Computational Biology article; video summary


  • Aquilops, the Smallest, Oldest Horned Dinosaur – Andrew Farke – 5/6/15 AMA archive; PLOS ONE article; author’s introductory PLOS Blogs post and the team story behind this paper


  • Open Labware: 3-D Printing Your Own Lab Equipment – Tom Baden and Andre Maia Chagas – 4/29/15 AMA archive; PLOS Biology article


  • Open Data Exchange Between Cancer Researchers – Andrew Beck – 4/22/15 AMA archive; PLOS Medicine article

More why and how PLOS Science Wednesday /r/science AMAs:

PLOS Science Wednesday is a weekly science communication series featuring live, direct chats with PLOS authors on redditscience (/r/science), the popular online gathering place for researchers, students and others interested in science which has over 8 million registered members.

The series provides a forum for PLOS authors to communicate their work and interact directly with fellow researchers and the public.

Questions may be posted ahead of and during the AMA and the authors answer on Wed 1–2pm ET. Archives are available for later reading, re-mixing or reuse. Please use the hashtag #PLOSredditAMA when discussing this series on Twitter. You can also download and use the reddit AMA app.

Future AMAs will be posted to this page and announced on Twitter. Featured authors are selected by PLOS editors; PLOS authors or Academic Editors may nominate a PLOS article for this series by emailing plosreddit@plos.org with the article URL, author(s) and a lay summary (50-100 words) of the research.

You may also be interested in…


reddit is one of the web’s oldest and largest open source communities, where registered members post links, comment and rate posted items in a wide variety of subject areas. As of March 2015, reddit received more than 6.6 billion page views and 151 million unique visitors. /r/science is a lively 8 million member “subreddit” within reddit. Each subreddit is independent and moderated by a team of volunteers.

As a nonprofit, Open Access publisher with a mission to lead a transformation in scientific communication, PLOS continuously seeks innovative ways to disseminate research and advance science. Initiatives such as PLOS Science Wednesday on redditscience reflect our commitment to expand the impact of research beyond publication, and enable broader community inclusion for commenting and review.

We encourage you to leave your thoughts on PLOS Science Wednesday AMAs and related issues in the comments below.


The post Update on ‘PLOS Science Wednesday’ redditscience AMA series, upcoming featured PLOS authors appeared first on The Official PLOS Blog.

Creative Commons France experiments with Ascribe to support copyleft through the Blockchain

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Guestpost by Primavera De Filippi (CC France)

Creative Commons France inaugurated the launch of the new website with a new tool that unlocks the value of the bitcoin blockchain for the benefit of the Free Culture movement. Ascribe enables creators to share their CC-licensed work without worry of loss of attribution.

Over ten years ago, Creative Commons revolutionized online artistic practices via licenses that promote attribution, free reproduction and dissemination of content, rather than focusing on scarcity and exclusivity. Today, hundreds of millions of works are licensed under these licenses.

Ascribe started in 2014 to help creators secure their intellectual property, with the help of the blockchain. It works with any type of licenses, including the Creative Commons licenses. Creators can ascribe CC-licensed works to the blockchain with the following simple process:

  • Go to cc.ascribe.io
  • Upload the work and enter all relevant metadata: title, author and year
  • Choose your CC license; and click “register”
  • The service will register and time-stamp the file on the blockchain — along with the terms and conditions of the selected license— and store it securely on a decentralized datastore. works for documents, images, text, and more – basically any digital file. This is possible because the time-stamping step (“hashing”) is independent of the file format.

    Creators can then benefit from the following advantages:

  • Secure attribution and simple verification: by registering the work on the blockchain, creators can easily communicate (and prove) the paternity of their works, as well as the terms and conditions under which they have been released.
  • Better accessibility: the works registered on the Ascribe platform will be stored in a peer-to-peer network (similar to BitTorrent) in a secure and decentralized manner.
  • Tracking usages:creators will obtain a unique ID for every work registered on the blockchain. The ID is actually an address on the blockchain which allows for people to track all usage of the work on blockchain explorers.
  • Share works easily: a single public url is created for each work, with the public address of the work, a link to download the work, the terms and conditions of the CC license, and all relevant metadata (title, creator, year)
  • Trent McConaghy, co-founder and CTO of Ascribe:

    “We love Creative Commons. The organisation has been a driving force to promote the dissemination of knowledge and content on the internet for over than a decade. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Creative Commons France, to help new authors and artists discover the new opportunities provided by blockchain technologies. This is just the start of what we hope will be a fruitful long-term relationship, to the benefit of the Free Culture movement worldwide.”

    Image credits: Harm van den Dorpel “OVERDRAWN INHERITANCE”, available under a CC BY-NC-ND license on https://cc.ascribe.io/piece/1JxsjgVpfRcV54DRmAzpnjPQEdQME6qX7b/

    Post uploaded by Gwen Franck, Regional Coordinator Europe.

    Announcing the Open Policy Network grant-funded projects

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    Last year Creative Commons and a global coalition of organizations launched the Open Policy Network in order to support the creation, adoption, and implementation of policies that require that publicly funded resources are openly licensed resources. When open licenses are required for publicly funded resources, there is the potential to massively increase access to and re-use of a wide range of materials, from educational content like digital textbooks, to the results of scholarly research, to valuable public sector data.

    The Network has expanded to include over 50 organizations. During the planning of the Open Policy Network, we identified a set of activities to work on in order to educate about and advance the adoption of global open licensing policies. Over the last few months Creative Commons was pleased to secure funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to provide modest grants to Open Policy Network members to work on these timely and important action areas. We solicited applications from interested organizations and ran a competitive funding process. We’re happy to announce the winners of the project grant funds, and we look forward to working with Open Policy Network members as they engage in these initiatives.

    Openness Guides for OER and open policy (Centrum Cyfrowe)

    This project will create guides that extend upon the existing “How Open Is it?” project originally developed for open access articles by the Public Library of Science (PLOS) in 2013. This guide is seen as an important educational tool for the open access community – including publishers and authors – which provides some nuance around a spectrum of openness and shows a roadmap to becoming “more open.” We see these guides being used in practice as something governments and advocates can use to advocate for open policies.

    Model open policies and advocacy / implementation resources (CC South Africa/re:share/Kelsey Wiens)

    This project will create and distribute model open policy resources, a task central to the mission of the Open Policy Network. Model resources may include:  model open policy language (sections and entire open education, research, and data policies); open policy implementation kits with slides and talking points; communications: media / public relations resources, case studies about open policies; research: evaluating existing open policies and writing open policy briefs. The majority of these resources will be targeted for policy making audiences (e.g. legislators, regulators, etc.), but there will also be a subset of meta-materials that provides some advice and recommendations for advocates in how to best work with policymakers around these issues

    Annual reports on the “state of open policy” (Consortia of Centrum Cyfrowe, CC South Africa/re:share, Karisma Foundation, SPARC, CommonSphere, AusGOAL)

    This project will develop, research, and produce a yearly “state-of-play” report on open policy around the world. The reports will document major open policy adoptions and updates tracked via the Policy Registry, and discuss future areas for intervention. The reports will leverage Open Policy Network members to collect and package an in depth (with useful graphs and analysis) report on the latest updates in open policy around the world covering: education (OER), research (OA), and open data. This report will be a way of measuring nations, provinces/states, and institutions commitments to open policy; and a tool to recruit new open policy advocates and generate interest in governments, foundations, and other funders.

    Open Government Partnership (SPARC)

    This project will examine the current state of the Open Government Partnership commitments and match member countries with relevant OER projects and individuals in country. Momentum for this idea is already building in a number of countries, including the United States, Slovakia, South Africa, Tunisia, and Sierra Leone, and Romania. The initiative will work to include OER and open policy in updated Open Government Partnership plans through education and outreach.

    If you’re interested in having your organization join the Open Policy Network, check out our website, Google Group, and follow us on Twitter.

    edX makes it easy for authors to share under Creative Commons

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    edX has added the ability for authors to apply a Creative Commons (CC) license to their courses and videos on its platform. More than 50 academic institutions, including MIT and Harvard, use edX to offer free courses that anyone in the world can join. Now, authors at these institutions and elsewhere may license their courses for free and open reuse directly on the edX platform.

    edX license chooser. edX has also developed this step-by-step guide for course authors and a learners guide on adding CC licenses to courses and videos.

    With the addition of the CC license suite, edX joins the global Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. The CC licenses make education content accessible and expand opportunities for innovation by providing everyone with the legal permissions to reuse, revise, remix, redistribute and retain educational resources.

    Since massive open online courses (MOOCs) were first launched, CC has advocated that MOOCs have both open admission (in the classic Open University tradition) and provide authors the option to share their content as OER under Creative Commons licenses.

    edX’s addition of the CC license suite is the result of demands for CC licensing options in edX from many schools and partner Universities who were already sharing their content under CC on other platforms. Special thanks goes to the Open Education Consortium’s OECx partners who pushed edX to add CC to the platform for their courses.

    The Delft University of Technology played a major role in this work. During Open Education Week 2014, Willem van Valkenburg of TU Delft organized an Open.EdX hackathon to create a CC license plugin for edX. The winning plugin — developed by FeedbackFruits — made it simple to add a CC license to an edX course.

    “TU Delft is all about open, so openMOOCs is what we prefer. Thanks to FeedbackFruits we can now publish our courses with a Creative Commons license.” — Willem van Valkenburg

    Congratulations to edX for its leadership in furthering the Commons. We hope Coursera, FutureLearn, and other education platforms will follow edX’s lead and offer the CC license suite for their authors and academic partners.

    edX joins CC’s new Platform Initiative, which works to create easy, clear, and enjoyable ways for users to contribute to the commons on community-driven content platforms. If you are a platform that would like to join this movement for the commons, please get in touch!

    See edX’s post.

    Join us in Seoul, South Korea – Oct 15-17, 2015

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    Registration is now open for Creative Commons’ Global Summit. Space is limited, so please sign up today to be part of an international event celebrating the Commons, our affiliates, partners and collaborators in the open movement, and the 10th anniversary of CC Korea!

    The conference runs from Thursday Oct. 15 to Saturday Oct. 17, 2015.

    We will be celebrating 10 years of CC Korea at the summit!

    This year, we are expanding our call to include organizations and individuals who want to work with us on shared projects that advance the cause of the Commons, free culture and open knowledge. I’m confident that a “bigger tent” strategy will help strengthen CC and grow our community globally.

    So if you’re active and engaged in the worlds of open content and knowledge — free software and free culture advocates, Wikipedians, Open Knowledge, galleries, libraries, museums, archives, governments and foundations, lawyers, and activists — we hope you’ll join us this year to build a stronger, more vibrant commons together.

    If you want to help us shape the conference program, there will be a public call for submissions soon. We look forward to your ideas — even better, we hope you’ll come and work with us in Seoul.

    Happy Birthday to friend and ally Bassel Safadi

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    Bassel Safadi / Christopher Adams / CC BY

    Bassel Khartabil (also known as Bassel Safadi) is a computer engineer who, through his dedicated work in social media, digital education, and open-source web software, played a huge role in opening the Internet in Syria and bringing online access and knowledge to the Syrian people. Many people reading this blog know Bassel through his leadership for the Creative Commons Syria affiliate team. You’ll also know that Bassel has been imprisoned by the Syrian government at Adra Prison since 15 March 2012–over 1100 days without any charges being brought against him.

    Today is Bassel’s 34th birthday, the fourth birthday he’s spent in detainment. Creative Commons and the open community honor Bassel and continue to advocate for his immediate release from prison in Damascus.

    You can wish Bassel a Happy Birthday and share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #freebassel. For more information check out http://freebassel.org/.

    Elsevier’s new sharing policy harmful to authors and access to scholarly research

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    Today Creative Commons and 22 other organizations published a letter urging the publishing giant Elsevier to alter its newly revised policy regarding the sharing and hosting of academic articles so that it better supports access to scholarly research.

    Elsevier’s new policy, announced 30 April 2015, is detrimental to article authors as well as those seeking access to these research papers. The policy imposes an embargo of at least 12 months before authors can self-archive their final manuscripts in an institutional repository–with the option of these embargoes being as long as 48 months. Beforehand, Elsevier allowed immediate deposit of the articles in repositories. The new policy also restricts access once the embargo expires by requiring that articles be shared under the most restrictive Creative Commons license–CC BY-NC-ND–which prohibits commercial use and the creation of derivative works.

    From the letter:

    This policy represents a significant obstacle to the dissemination and use of research knowledge, and creates unnecessary barriers for Elsevier published authors in complying with funders’ open access policies. In addition, the policy has been adopted without any evidence that immediate sharing of articles has a negative impact on publishers subscriptions.

    Kevin Smith, Director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication at Duke University, calls their updated embargo policies “both complicated and draconian,” and criticizes the requirement that authors apply a restrictive license to their works at the expiration of the embargo period:

    This, of course, further limits the usefulness of these articles for real sharing and scholarly advancement. It is one more way in which the new policy is exactly a reverse of what Elsevier calls it; it is a retreat from sharing and an effort to hamstring the movement toward more open scholarship.

    Elsevier should reconsider these policy changes in order to support the rights and wishes of academic authors, and to support better access to the research that they publish.

    The letter is available here. It has been signed by the following groups, and you can add your organization to as well.

    COAR: Confederation of Open Access Repositories
    SPARC: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
    ACRL: Association of College and Research Libraries
    ALA: American Library Association
    ARL: Association of Research Libraries
    Association of Southeastern Research Libraries
    Australian Open Access Support Group
    IBICT: Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology
    CARL: Canadian Association of Research Libraries
    CLACSO: Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales
    COAPI: Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions
    Creative Commons
    Creative Commons (USA)
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Greater Western Library Alliance
    LIBER: European Research Library Association
    National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences
    Open Data Hong Kong
    Research Libraries UK
    SANLiC: South African National Licensing Consortium
    University of St Andrews Library

    CC Tanzania expands OER and CC training to more primary schools

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    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    Aristarik is an Assistant Lecturer at the Open University of Tanzania and Creative Commons Tanzania volunteer.

    SOO Tanzania Training by CC Tanzania under CC BY

    Creative Commons Tanzania through School of Open programme trained 50 pupils from Kumbukumbu primary school on the benefits of the Internet, computer programmes information/knowledge sharing, and Open Education Resources (OER). This is one of the planned activities for School of Open (SOO) Tanzania where this training was preceded by a donation of computers, chairs and tables to the computer lab as part of CC Tanzania’s initiative to enable public schools’ use of ICTs in teaching and learning.

    This event was officiated by Prof. Tolly Mbwette, the former Vice Chancellor of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), who agreed to be the patron of CC Tanzania. The university supported the training by providing two training labs that were used by the pupils. Open and Distance Learning (ODL) computer labs were used in the training.

    Steven Lukindo, Acting Director of the Institute of Educational Technology & Management (IETM) kicked off the 3-day program on 17, April 2014. 50 pupils were introduced to the open web to aid teaching and learning and the use of Google, Microsoft Word and Excel. The concept of the commons, copyright, and how CC licenses have enabled the global OER movement was also introduced.

    A one-month teacher training for 40 primary school teachers was also launched, commencing on 20, April 2015. The training equips teachers from the same school with ICT skills in teaching and learning. Internet, OER and the concept of the commons were introduced to comply with school’s ICT syllabus. This training was SOO Tanzania’s follow-up activity after the donation of computers by CC Tanzania to the same school.

    SOO Tanzania has planned for additional training to the school’s pupils on the benefits of sharing OER and the use of different teaching and learning tools customized to local content.

    Challenges and lessons learned

    A number of challenges were encountered by SOO Tanzania, including: lack of funding to carry out some of its key planned activities, time to merge busy schedules of facilitators work and volunteering activities, publicity, inadequate ICT facilities in most public schools, and low understanding of ICT in teaching and learning in most schools and perception change in sharing of innovations and creativity within the community. More publicity and training is required to take School of Open to the next level in the country.

    CC Tanzania through its School of Open planned activities is planning to approach more donors and volunteers to support its 2015 road map, in addition to publicizing its activities to teaching and learning institutions to attract awareness of how CC affiliates work for a better and brighter future of sharing.

    U.S. K12 State Policy Recommendations for OER: Sign Letter of Support

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    second grade writing class / woodleywonderworks / CC BY

    (a nonpartisan education reform organization widely known for its CC BY licensed OER Rubrics) has developed policy recommendations with input from its OER Institute U.S. state partners for U.S. states to use OER as part of their college and career ready implementation plans.

    These recommendations aim to provide helpful information and guidance for U.S. states that are interested in but have not yet begun an organized effort to use OER.

    The OER policy recommendations center on:

    • States and school districts using OER as part of their strategy to support the implementation of college and career ready standards.
    • Recommending when public funds are used, the instructional materials created should be openly licensed.
    • States and school districts should ensure all instructional materials being used, including OER, are high quality and aligned to college and career ready standards.

    To illustrate the broad array of audiences that support and have made effective, standards-aligned OER a priority, Achieve was recently joined by U.S. states, funders and organizations, including Creative Commons, in signing a letter of support for Open Educational Resources.

    If your state or organization is interested in signing this letter, please contact Hans Voss at hvoss@achieve.org

    This open letter outlines the benefits OER can provide to U.S. states and K12 school districts as they engage the hard work of college and career ready standards implementation. Particularly in an environment where many states are implementing the Common Core State Standards, OER can be used to leverage the benefits of these common standards by providing the legal rights and technical ability to freely share and modify instructional resources to help support the needs of individual classrooms (e.g., K12 OER Collaborative).

    Vancouver Foundation announces first CC BY policy for a Canadian foundation

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    Vancouver Foundation has announced that it will adopt an open licensing policy by January 2017. The foundation will require that all projects and research funded through community advised grant programs be licensed and shared under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY). In addition, the foundation has pledged to license their own intellectual property–such as reports and publications–under CC BY.

    Vancouver Foundation is one of the largest foundations in Canada, with over $1 billion in assets, and funds projects across British Columbia in areas such as arts and culture, education, children and youth issues, environment, animal welfare, community health, and social development. With the new open licensing policy–which is the first for a Canadian foundation–the organization aims “to advance transparency and accessibility of materials to drive greater innovation and creativity in BC and beyond.”

    The open licensing policy will take effect in January 2017, and in the interim the foundation will work on the development, testing and implementation of the policy to explore and address the needs of those grantees who have a persuasive reason to choose alternative licenses or conditions.

    “Vancouver Foundation is excited to join a growing international movement among foundations to increase access to a wide range of content funded to create public benefits,” said Foundation President and CEO, Kevin McCort. “We do this not only to share the products of our own community investments, but to encourage and support other foundations who want to join us.”

    Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, said, “Vancouver Foundation joins several leading philanthropic grant making organizations who have adopted Creative Commons licensing policies for the outputs of their charitable giving, unlocking billions in resources for everything from research to digital education materials, and data.”

    Read the press release of the announcement here. Congratulations to Vancouver Foundation for their leadership and commitment to sharing research, educational materials, and data for the public benefit in the global commons.

    Recent Changes to the PLOS Journal Web Sites

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    PLOS has recently updated the navigation and layout of our guidelines and policy pages across all seven of our journal web sites. These changes were made to enhance user experience and make sure our content is as helpful as possible for our users.

    Here is an example of the expanded menu structure showing a mockup from PLOS ONE with placeholder text:









    Here is an example of the updated page layout with a new side navigation menu and callout boxes showing a mockup from PLOS ONE with placeholder text:











    If you are already familiar with the sites, you may notice that some pages appear in different places, so please take a look around and get in touch with us if you have any feedback or need any assistance.
    Thank you for your support of PLOS and Open Access.

    The post Recent Changes to the PLOS Journal Web Sites appeared first on The Official PLOS Blog.

    Medium embraces CC licenses

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    Today Creative Commons is excited to announce that blogging and storytelling platform Medium now offers the entire suite of Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools. You can read more about this great news over at Medium, naturally, in stories by both Creative Commons and Medium.

    In just a few years Medium has grown a thriving community of highly engaged authors and storytellers, and it’s been home to some incredible pieces of journalism covering a wide range of interests. It’s no surprise that we heard from folks in the CC and Medium community asking for the licenses to be made available. The Medium community, and the folks behind Medium, really understand the power of CC and the opportunity for their stories to reach even more people.

    Medium users can now share their stories under any of the CC licenses or CC0, and they can also import other CC-licensed or public domain work. Medium leverages the power of photography like few other platforms, making it an ideal way to showcase and share CC licensed images, illustrations, and other media.

    We want to thank the team at Medium for their amazing work and dedication in making CC available to their users. From our kick-off conversations it was clear that Medium understood the importance of this decision, and it was a pleasure to help them bring it to life.

    Please read more about this exciting news over at Medium!

    Medium joins CC’s new Platform Initiative, which works to create easy, clear, and enjoyable ways for users to contribute to the commons on community-driven content platforms. If you are a platform that would like to join this movement for the commons, please get in touch!

    Don’t mess with the right to link: Savethelink.org

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    (Hyper)links are the fundamental building blocks of the web, but the practice of linking has come under attack over the last few years. If copyright holders are able to censor or control links to legitimate content, it could disrupt the free flow of information online and hurt access to crucial news and resources on the web.

    In the U.S. and Canada we may take for granted that no one requires permission or is forced to pay a fee to link to another place online. But this isn’t the case everywhere. Copyrighted content holders (including news organizations, media, and entertainment sites) around the world are working to remove the right to free and open linking, and the threat is more present than you may think.

    Today a coalition of over 50 organizations (including Creative Commons) from 21 countries are launching Savethelink.org. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the issue and prompt action to urge decision makers to protect the practice of free and open linking online.

    Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, said, “At its core, the Internet is a network of links — connectivity is at the heart of the Web we love. Breaking that structure by giving some the ability to decide what links should work and what links should not undermines free expression, access to information, and the public commons.”

    An example of how restricting access to links is already in place in Spain, where the Spanish government passed a law that “requires services which post links and excerpts of news articles to pay a fee to the organisation representing Spanish newspapers.” This type of pseudo-copyright law was intended to protect the revenue flows of Spanish media publishers. However, you have to question whether such a practice might have backfired for publishers who wanted to use the new rule as a means to monetize access to their content. It’s quite tell that Google News–which funnels significant traffic to media websites–shut down in Spain shortly after the law was passed, citing concerns that allowing rights holders to charge for access to links would have been an unworkable practice for them.

    Last year’s public consultation on the review of European copyright rules also  contained a question on the right to link:

    Should the provision of a hyperlink leading to a work or other subject matter protected under copyright, either in general or under specific circumstances, be subject to the authorisation of the rightholder?

    Many groups, including Creative Commons, responded that allowing rights holders to control access to links would be a terrible idea.

    Under no circumstance should hyperlinks be subject to protection under copyright. Sharing links without needing permission from the rightsholder is core to the operation of the internet. Changing this fundamental structural aspect of how the internet works would be detrimental to the free flow of information and commerce online.

    You can check out the Savethelink.org website for examples from other areas around the world where the right to link is in danger. Read the press release here.

    If links can be censored by rights holders, it would be detrimental to access to information, free expression, and economic activity. It could fracture the longstanding mechanism underlying the sharing of information on the web. Let’s not let that happen.

    You can sign the petition at Savethelink.org. Organizations wishing to join the coalition can join here.

    Hague Declaration calls for IP reform to support access to knowledge in the digital age

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    Today Creative Commons joins over 50 organizations in releasing the Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age. The declaration is a collaboratively-created set of principles that outlines core legal and technical freedoms that are necessary for researchers to be able to take advantage of new technologies and practices in the pursuit of scholarly research, including activities such as text and data mining. The drafting of the declaration was led by LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries. It was developed through contributions from dozens of organizations and individuals, including several experts from the CC community. Creative Commons is an original signatory to the declaration.

    One of the key principles recognized in the declaration is that intellectual property law does not regulate the flow of facts, data, and ideas–and that licenses and contract terms should not regulate or restrict how an individual may analyze or use data. It supports the notion that “the right to read is the right to mine”, and that facts, data, and ideas should never be considered to be under the protection of copyright. To realize the massive, positive potential for data and content analysis to help solve major scientific, medical, and environmental challenges, it’s important that intellectual property laws and private contracts–do not restrict practices such as text and data mining.



    The Hague Declaration also lays out a roadmap for action in support of these principles. The roadmap suggests the development of policies that provide legal clarity that content mining is not an infringement of copyright or related rights. It’s important for advocates to champion this notion, especially as there have been increasing suggestions from rights holders who are attempting to develop new legal arrangements and licenses that require users to ask permission to engage in practices such as text and data mining.

    In addition to supporting the notion that the right to read is the right to mine–free from additional copyright-like rights, license, or contractual arrangements–the declaration also suggests that if funding bodies are considering adopting open licensing mandates as a component of receiving grant funds, they should aim to adopt policies that champion a liberal licensing approach. Specifically the declaration states that research articles created with grant funds should be published in the global commons under a liberal license such as CC BY, and that research data should be shared in the worldwide public domain via the CC0 Public Domain Dedication.

    The Hague Declaration is an important set of principles and recommended actions that can aid the speed and effectiveness of scholarly research and knowledge discovery today. You can read the LIBER press release here. To show your support, you can sign the declaration.

    Japanese translation of CC0 published

    Creativecommons.org -

    Congratulations to CC Japan for their tireless work on the official translation of CC0 into Japanese! This marks the first official translation of CC0 for the Asia-Pacific region, and the fourth official translation of CC0 overall.

    CC0 is a tool that enables creators to dedicate work to the public domain. Its three-layer design includes a waiver of rights, a fallback license allowing use of the work for any purpose with no conditions, and an agreement not to assert rights in the work. Official language translations of CC0 are created in accordance with the CC Legal Code Translation Policy.

    This translation is the result of years of hard work by many in the CC community. Special thanks goes to Maki Higashikubo, Naoki Kanehisa, Kokoro Kobayashi, Yosuke Koike, Tasuku Mizuno, Yuko Noguchi, Masafumi Masuda, Asako Miyoshi, and Tomoaki Watanabe.

    We are thrilled for this team and for the global commons!

    Next Generation Science Communicators

    Plos -

    Experience in presenting research findings and participating in the scientific dialogue are important aspects to the professional development of researchers early in their careers. Advancing scientific discovery relies on scientists at all career levels to clearly communicate their results, their rationale for working on a project and more.

    To recognize their efforts and support their growth as science communicators, PLOS is offering up to ten travel awards to early career researchers to communicate their work at an upcoming conference. To be eligible researchers must have published with PLOS, be presenting work at a scientific conference, and currently be part of a graduate program or have received a graduate degree within the last five years.

    If you are an early career researcher, we invite you to share your thoughts on what is the biggest hindrance for communicating science and what you or your peers can do to address this issue. Apply for a chance to win $500 to offset travel expenses associated with presenting work at a scientific conference taking place between August – December 2015.

    The deadline for submission is June 30, 2015. For more information, visit the PLOS Early Career Travel Award Program Page or email us at travelawards@plos.org.

    The post Next Generation Science Communicators appeared first on The Official PLOS Blog.

    „Open Lesson”: Do-It-Yourself workshop on Open Education

    European Open EDU Policy Project -

    In Poland, training and education is an important part of our work on promoting open, and a necessary support for our policy work. But trainings are time and resource intensive. We realised at some point, that we cannot scale our activities if we continue to train about open on our own. We therefore decided to look for solutions to crowdsource such trainings and workshops.

    The “Open Lesson” project is a result of this new approach. In early 2015, we invited a group of trainers with experience in teaching about open, teachers and educators to create a workshop scenario that could be used by teachers to conduct a self-teaching meeting for their peers, friends or collaborators. The “Open Lesson” scenario is a modular training resource, which provides the freedom to customize the workshop. Customization means that while the scenario was initially designed with teachers in mind, it can be used by anyone. We made it available, as an Open Educational Resource, on our „Free the Textbook” (Uwolnij podręcznik) webpage.

    „Open Lesson” launched in Poland with 30 workshops

    We launched the “Open Lesson” in March during the Open Education Week, with over 30 educators from around Poland committing to conducting such workshops.

    Polish Virtual University of Łódź organized a meeting for 20 people involved in academic and remote education, who have drawn attention to the fact that open educational materials are an underrated resource among university staff. The group led by Mrs. Lidia Mirowska used our scenario as a pretext for a discussion on copyright and sharing and reuse of teaching materials in classes conducted on-line.

    In one of elementary schools in Warsaw, open lesson was conducted for 6th graders. Strongest emotions arose after conducting the exercise, during which the children had to declare how much they want to protect an art of work that they just created. It turned out that it was only after a long discussion about what would happen if Leonardo da Vinci wanted to hide the Lady with an Ermine, the kids let it go a little bit and stopped being copyright extremist. What is more, the teacher used our scenario also to discuss how to protect one’s personal data on Facebook, and why this is so important.

    In Cieszyn, Open Lesson served as an inspiration for the meeting for librarians interested in the licensing of educational materials. An exercise about searching for open content online led participants to the conclusion that there are more resources available if one does not limit their search to open resources. A heated debate on this topic ended when participants agreed that the more people spread the idea of Creative Commons and use these licenses, the more resources will be available and they will be of better quality (becoming a viable alternative for closed content).

    The workshop participants in Włocławek, on the other hand, used the Open Lesson to create their own list of online open resources, which might be potentially useful for teachers working with different subjects.

    „Open Lesson” goes global

    In the next step, we are making the “Open lesson” scenario available for international use. We hope that the resource will prove useful also for activists and educators in other countries. We are publishing it today as an Open Educational Resource, available in English as a PDF file.


    If you are interested in trying out and using our scenario – let us know! We’d like to know about your experiences with this workshop concept. And most importantly, we are interested in seeing how you would remix and improve this material.

    The „Open Lesson” project is organised in co-operation with the Creative Commons School of Open.

    Open business models, open data, and the public interest

    Creativecommons.org -

    Less than one month ago, Creative Commons began a project designed to explore and develop business models built on CC licensing. Starting from the methods in the best-selling Business Model Generation handbook, Creative Commons is developing new tools specifically tailored for ventures that utilize CC-licensed or public domain content as a central component of their strategies. We are also working one-on-one with a handful of companies and organizations to brainstorm new business models and paths to sustainability.

    In this short span of time, we have seen there is a real desire for this sort of work, and Creative Commons is uniquely-suited to lead it. And in just these first few weeks of this project, we have learned an incredible amount about all of the fascinating ways nonprofits, universities, and businesses are leveraging CC licensing in what they do. One immediate observation about these ventures is how the public interest plays a role in all of them. Whether for-profit or not, the social good furthered by the product or service is an important part of the value proposition.

    Meet Openwords: A great example of that phenomenon is a young startup called Openwords, a company CC has been fortunate to work with in our business models initiative. Openwords is a foreign language learning app with a social mission – to provide free and open language learning technology for languages that currently have little or no options for mobile language learning. The small startup is able to do this at low cost thanks to open data. Openwords mines the vast pools of existing open data on sites like Wiktionary and Apertium and transforms the data into language learning tools for a wide range of languages, large and small. Openwords’ open data strategy has already been successful. Openwords has mined content for over 1000 languages.

    While Openwords uses existing open data to fuel its product, it is also giving back new open data and content to the public. Everything Openwords creates — the modified data, software code, and educational content – is either dedicated to the public domain using CC0 or offered under an open license. This virtuous circle makes it possible for this for-profit venture to fulfill its social goals.

    Infographic created by Zachary Rozycki.

    In 2014, Openwords released a prototype of its mobile app. Now, it has launched a Kickstarter to fund the development of a beta version of the app, and to involve the community in the Openwords app design.

    Crowdfunding is just one avenue Openwords is pursuing to raise money, but it can be an effective way to generate funds and buzz simultaneously. In our business models work, we will be researching crowdfunding as a potential revenue model for ventures built on CC licensing. We even plan on trying it out ourselves by running a Kickstarter campaign this summer to write a book about CC business models.

    Building sustainable models around open is important work. We encourage you to check out what Openwords is doing. If you are trying to determine how you can operate in a financially-sound manner while generating social good through the use of CC licenses, we encourage you to contact us and participate in our Creative Commons open business models initiative.

    Ask our authors anything: new PLOS ‘AMA’ series debuts on redditscience

    Plos -

    PLOS, in conjunction with reddit, is pleased to announce the April 22 launch of ‘PLOS Science Wednesday’ a weekly Ask Me Anything (AMA) series featuring PLOS authors in live chats on redditscience (/r/science), the popular online gathering place for researchers, students and others interested in science.

    For each PLOS Science Wednesday an expected audience of 10,000 (usually many more) /r/science members have the opportunity to chat directly with the featured PLOS author (or team), while anyone with an Internet connection is free to read along. Authors are available on an AMA for a full hour (1 to 2 pm ET) to answer posted questions and explain the science behind a research article or editorial recently published by a PLOS journal. Transcripts of these completed AMAs are then available to anyone for later reading, re-mixing, or reuse from the /r/science AMA archive.

    PLOS created PLOS Science Wednesday to showcase new research while providing our authors a place to communicate their science and interact directly with fellow researchers and readers. Here’s a schedule of who’s up first on PLOS Science Wednesday AMAs, along with their topics and the PLOS journal article/editorial they’ll be talking about.

    April 22: Andrew Beck — Open Data exchange between cancer researchers; PLOS Medicine, Open Access to Large Scale Datasets is Needed to Translate Knowledge of Cancer Heterogenity into Better Patient Outcomes

    April 29: Tom Baden and Andre Maia Chagas — 3-D Printing your own lab equipment; PLOS Biology, Open Labware: 3-D Printing Your Own Lab Equipment

    May 6:  Andrew Farke Aquilops, the smallest, oldest horned dinosaur; PLOS ONE, A Ceratopsian Dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Western North America, and the Bigeography of Neoceratopsia; author’s blog posts introducing Aquilops and the team story behind this paper.

    May 13: Jeff Clune, Kai Olav Ellefsen, Jean-Baptiste Mouret — Creating computational brain models for artificial intelligencePLOS Computational Biology, Neural Modularity Helps Organisms Evolve to Learn New Skills without Forgetting Old Skills. Here is a video summary of this work by the authors.

    (Other PLOS Science Wednesday redditscience AMA dates & authors will be announced shortly. Check The Official PLOS Blog and watch for #PLOSredditAMA Twitter notices)

    Important details:

    • Anyone discussing a PLOS Science Wednesday AMA on Twitter is asked to use the hashtag #PLOSredditAMA with the author’s Twitter handle(s).
    • reddit has a downloadable AMA app (for asking questions and leaving comments during the AMA) available here.
    • PLOS editors select authors and papers for this series; authors (or Academic Editors) who wish to nominate an author/paper for a PLOS Science Wednesday AMA should send an email to plosreddit@plos.org with author’s name, article title, the PLOS journal the article appeared in and a lay summary (50-100 words) describing what the research is about.

    Who’s Who:

    reddit is one of the web’s oldest and largest open source communities, where registered members post links, comment and rate posted items in a wide variety of subject areas. As of March 2015, reddit received more than 6.6 billion page views and 151 million unique visitors. /r/science is a lively 8 million member “subreddit” within reddit. Each subreddit is independent and moderated by a team of volunteers.

     As a nonprofit, Open Access publisher with a mission to lead a transformation in scientific communication, PLOS continuously seeks innovative ways to disseminate research and advance science. Initiatives such as PLOS Science Wednesday on redditscience reflect our commitment to expand the impact of research beyond publication, and enable broader community inclusion for commenting and review.

    We encourage you to leave your thoughts on PLOS Science Wednesday AMAs and related issues in the comments section, below.

    You may also be interested in…

    • Join the PLOS email list – get monthly updates with news of general interest to researchers and other PLOS readers.
    • About the PLOS journals – find out which journal is the right fit for your research.
    • ‘All good science deserves to be published’   how to submit to PLOS ONE.


    The post Ask our authors anything: new PLOS ‘AMA’ series debuts on redditscience appeared first on The Official PLOS Blog.

    591 Celebrate CC shirts sold in two weeks!

    Creativecommons.org -

    Two weeks ago we kicked off a limited edition sale of a special t-shirt designed by our friends at Noun Project, and supported by the great folks at Teespring.com. Yesterday the campaign wrapped up, and we’re pleased to say we blew past our goal and sold 591 t-shirts. With all proceeds going right back to Creative Commons, that means we’ve raised almost $9,000 to help grow and protect the commons.

    Most t-shirt purchasers should expect to have their orders completely fulfilled by the end of April. International orders may take another week. When you get your please take a pic and show your Creative Commons pride. Make sure to tag any posts #celebrateCC.

    Our huge thanks to Noun Project for creating such an incredible design and to Teespring.com for providing the platform and making this campaign possible. And of course thanks to everyone who donated their hard-earned money and bought a shirt to show their support. I thank you for expressing your appreciation for great design and for such a worthy cause.


    Abonner på creativecommons.no nyhetsinnsamler