Reflections on our OER policy workshop in Berlin

European Open EDU Policy Project -

A week ago, the European Commission launched the “Opening Up Education” initiative, a proposal for modernizing the European educational system. The proposal contains a strong “open” component. We’re using this opportunity to strengthen open educational policies in Europe, and we started our project with a workshop in mid-September. Below you can learn about the outcomes of our workshop, including an overview of the OER landscape in Europe, concept for a policy brief, and ideas for policy-related activities.

(Cross-posted on the CC blog).`

The workshop took place 14-15 October as part of the German “OERde13” conference. The workshop marked the public launch of CC’s collaborative „Open Educational Resources Policy in Europe” project. Eleven OER experts from all over Europe met for two days to discuss the state of OER policies in Europe and ways in which CC can increase their reach. Participants included Lisette Kalshoven (Kennisland, Netherlands), Eneli Sutt (HITSA, Estonia), Teresa Nobre (Creative Commons Portugal), Valentina Pavel (APTI, Romania), Hans de Four (KlasCement, Belgium), Bardhyl Jashari (Metamorphosis, Macedonia), Ignasi Labastida y Juan (Universitat de Barcelona, Catalonia / Spain), Ivan Matejic (Creative Commons Serbia), Kamil Śliwowski (Centrum Cyfrowe, Poland) and John Weitzmann (Creative Commons Germany). The workshop was led by Alek Tarkowski from Creative Commons Poland, open policy advisor to CC and lead of this project.

OER workshop participants. Photo: Raimond Spekking / WikiMedia Commons, CC BY-SA (Source)

State of open education in Europe

We started with a session presenting the state of OER developments in EU countries, focusing particularly on public policies for open education. The session gave a good overview of the range of approaches to increasing adoption of OER: public e-textbook programs running in Poland and Macedonia; OER repositories such as Belgian Klascement, Dutch Wikiwijs, and Norwegian NDLA; “1 on 1” computer in school schemes used as entry channels for open content in Portugal or Macedonia; bottom-up hubs for open education communities such as German ZUM Wiki and the OER Champions project initiated in Macedonia.

We discussed the broader context for such initiatives, including national educational strategies and the specific shape of legal regulations–in particular copyright exceptions and limitations for educational use. In general, while there are very few functioning national-level policies supporting open education, there are multiple OER projects being implemented with public funding. Some are directly branded as “open education” projects, while others apply this philosophy without naming it that way.

Similarly, there are multiple initiatives at the European level, often funded by the European Union, that fit within the scope of the new initiative. The Open Education Europa portal has been developed on the basis of a previous e-learning portal. At the same time, projects that deal with ICTs in schools, e-learning, or quality of education are not necessarily aligned with OER issues. This means there might still be low awareness among key potential stakeholders. At the same time, there remains a great potential for gaining ICT allies in support of open education policy.

What kind of open education policy?

We spent part of the workshop discussing the concept of CC’s policy brief for open education in Europe. The basic policy position, achieved through a quick consensus among participants, can be summed up very easily: A free license like CC BY or CC BY-SA + (open formats, WCAG accessibility standards and metadata) should be adopted for all publicly funded educational content. (In other words, of all the varied definitions, the Hewlett Foundation OER definition is our definition of choice – and we’re happy that the new Open Education Europa portal sets a high standard by adopting CC BY as a default).

So while the basic policy rule is simple, the challenge lies in providing the best arguments for its widespread adoption. The workshop participants discussed essential elements of a successful policy brief. These should include:

  • A grounding both in rights issues, in particular the right to education and right to knowledge, but also in broader pedagogical theories, such as connectivism;

  • Proof that open education works, especially in economic terms; everyone knows this is not easy, often due to lack of data, but basic arguments can be made, especially about cost savings for parents and schools;

  • Evidence of existing OER projects and their scale and usage, including those that are not directly framed as “open education”, but follow the general model.

Finally, a challenge that any European educational policy faces is the limited scope in which the EU deals with educational issues, which are largely left in the hands of national governments and schooling systems. Other than a new Directive (which would be binding for EU member states, but also difficult to introduce), the EU could introduce an open education policy model to apply to its own funding of educational content. It could also work with national governments by promoting good examples and following best practices and standards. A policy brief needs to address the interdependence of EU- and national-level governmental bodies.

How to promote open education policy?

Policy matters are often difficult to understand beyond a narrow circle of policymakers, experts and stakeholders. During the workshops we discussed ways of making them easier to understand. We focused on three projects, two of which we’d like to work on in the coming months.

Teresa Nobre presented the concept of a study of European exceptions and limitations for education. These are rules defined in national copyright laws that allow for legal use of copyrighted content without permission under certain conditions for educational purposes. These vary greatly between countries and between K-12 and higher education. This “balkanization” of law is one of the reasons that open education, based of course on open licensing, is such an important policy alternative. We were initially considering conducting the necessary legal comparison, but we found out during the workshop that this has already been done by Prof. Raquel Xalabarder of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (see the WIPO-commissioned analysis). Therefore, our work will build on this analysis and in particular “translate” it into an explanation that will apply to practical issues faced by educators in order to demonstrate the real-life application of policy decisions.

Kamil Śliwowski talked about a mythbusting approach, focusing on finding counter arguments for current criticisms of open education. Kamil described experiences we’ve had in Poland debating commercial educational publishers, who have been vocal critics of open education policy. These publishers often recite arguments against OER that are not based on evidence–hence, “myths”. The mythbusting approach began last year with a presentation at the UNESCO OER Congress in Paris, and continued with a workshop at the CC Summit in Buenos Aires. As part of this project, Kamil will organize in early 2014 a sprint-type workshop during which we’ll produce an OER mythbusting publication.

Bardhyl Jashari presented the idea of open education champions, which his organization, Foundation Metamorphosis, has been implementing in Macedonia. According to Bardhyl, leaders are crucial in promoting open education policy, since these issues are often difficult to understand for many on-the-ground educators. Empowering education champions to explain these topics makes the policies easier to understand. We agreed that it is a great idea, and in line with the recently appointed European “Digital Champions.” But these education champions will be difficult to implement without the Commission’s support.

Next steps

We are now starting work on our policy brief and related analyses and documents, and we’ll focus on developing these over the next few months. For early 2014, we are planning several events, culminating during Open Education Week in March.

We’re all the time looking for partners, collaborators and allies. if you care about open educational policy and want to help, please get in touch.

(Post icon: OER-Programm-Logo, Markus Büsges, CC BY-SA Unported)


Plos -

PLOS is pleased to announce the six finalists for the Accelerating Science Award Program (ASAP).  The program recognizes the use of scientific research, published through Open Access, that has led to innovations benefiting society. Major sponsors include the Wellcome Trust and Google. Three top awards of US$30,000 each will be announced on October 21 in Washington, DC at an Open Access Week kickoff event hosted by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and the World Bank.

As award finalists, these individuals and teams are being honored for addressing a real-world challenge either by reusing previously published Open Access research or by creating a new repository of freely available research data to assist current and future collaborative research projects.  Open Access is the free, immediate online availability of articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully as long as the author and the original source are properly attributed.

“As these finalists illustrate, Open Access is good for science, good for business and good for the public, because it eliminates artificial constraints on the dissemination of research findings. This means that every student, every scientist and every citizen can benefit from any study published by Open Access done anywhere in the world,” said Elizabeth Marincola, Chief Executive Officer of PLOS. “The ASAP sponsors are proud to have received many worthy nominations. The six finalists embody the Open Access ethos by drawing on freely available research to create innovations that better society.”

The six finalists, along with the challenges they address and their innovative approaches, include:

  • HIV Self-Test Empowers Patients (Nitika Pant Pai, MD, MPH, PhD, Caroline Vadnais, Roni Deli-Houssein and Sushmita Shivkumar):  Worldwide it is estimated that as many as six in 10 HIV-infected individuals don’t know their HIV status and don’t seek testing. To increase awareness, knowledge and access to a convenient HIV screening option, and to expedite connections to treatment in nations hardest hit by the disease, Dr. Nitika Pant Pai and medical staff at McGill University and McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, developed a strategy based on the synergy of the Internet, an oral fluid–based self-test and a cell phone. This integrated approach included HIV education, an online test to determine HIV risk level, instructions for testing and interpreting the results, and confidential resources for referrals to trained counselors, support and healthcare workers. The tailored smartphone application, developed on the basis of original research published in multiple Open Access journals, helps circumvent the social visibility of testing in a healthcare facility. The application could alleviate fears of stigma and discrimination and make HIV detection simple and confidential.
  • Global Collaboration to Fight Malaria (Matthew Todd, PhD):  At least one child dies of malaria every minute of every day, mainly in Africa and Asia. According to Matthew Todd, who leads the Open Source Malaria Consortium in Sydney, Australia, given minimal financial incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop new treatments and a high degree of suffering among the affected communities, a large-scale collaborative research model provides a solution. Todd turned publicly available data into a global effort to help identify new anti-malaria drugs.  He did this by creating an open-source collaborative involving scientists, college students and others from around the world. They use open online laboratory notebooks in which their experimental data is posted each day, enabling instant sharing and the ability to build on others’ findings in almost real time.  Todd’s Malaria Consortium could provide a model for researchers collaboratively tackling other daunting medical challenges, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Smartphone Becomes Microscope (Saber Iftekhar Khan, Eva Schmid, PhD and Oliver Hoeller, PhD):  Science teachers often struggle to engage young students when their classroom experiences are limited to pre-prepared biological samples viewed through standard microscopes. Mr. Saber Khan, a middle school technology teacher, teamed up with University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco scientists Eva Schmid and Oliver Hoeller to develop a student-ready cell phone microscope, turning a clinical diagnostic tool into a portable device students and teachers could use as a mobile learning laboratory. To meet this challenge, Schmid and Hoeller drew on an Open Access article by global health researchers who’d invented the original cell phone microscope for use in remote clinical settings. With the adapted tool in hand, Khan’s middle school students collected and imaged samples in city parks, geotagged their locations and blogged about their results. Today, a traveling kit of cell phone microscopes has helped engage students from Hawaii to Austria.
  • Calculating Ecotourism Impact (Ralf Buckley, PhD, Guy Castley, PhD, Clare Morrison, PhD, Alexa Mossaz, Fernanda de Vasconcellos Pegas, Clay Alan Simpkins and Rochelle Steven): An obstacle hindering the efforts to make the case for ecotourism as a sound conservation policy is the lack of dollar value put on protected species by  policymakers and the public, especially in low- and middle income countries. Ralf Buckley and his team from the International Centre for Ecotourism Research in Queensland, Australia developed an innovative method for calculating the value of ecotourism for endangered animals, based on freely available data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Calculations applied by Buckley’s team to endangered mammals, birds and frogs across the world, were published in Open Access publications in order to help publicly funded nature preserves make the most of their resources to protect and expand protected areas.
  • Measuring and Understanding the Sea (Mark J. Costello, PhD):  At a time when research shows 20,000 land and sea species to be directly threatened with extinction, marine ecologists are concerned they haven’t inventoried a vast number of oceanic species. Without this hard data, scientific knowledge and the potential effectiveness of conservation efforts are diminished. Dr. Mark Costello manages the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), the largest real-time collaboration of species (taxonomic) experts and marine biologists in the world. Their work completed the naming of more than 200,000 known species, adding up to 2,000 new species every year. WoRMS is now the international standard for marine species nomenclature and is relied upon by a large number of institutions.  In addition, a collection of Open Access articles specifically utilized the WoRMs Register.
  • Visualizing Complex Science (Daniel Mietchen, PhD, Raphael Wimmer and Nils Dagsson Moskopp): Many aspects critical to understanding science, experiments and the natural world can only be described in words and diagrams  in a limited way. Good quality multimedia can help make that understanding easier. Daniel Mietchen and his group accessed articles in PubMed Central to help them create the Open Access Media Importer (OAMI), a bot that can scrape and download supplementary multimedia files from Open Access science articles, repositories and data stores.  The bot has uploaded more than 13,000 files to Wikimedia Commons and has been used in more than 135 English Wikipedia articles that together garnered more than three million views.


Photos and video interviews of the finalists can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/asaptoolkit/ . The six finalists will be narrowed down to three award recipients by an international committee composed of distinguished leaders in multiple fields, including:

  • Agnes Binagwaho, MD, Minister of Health, Rwanda and faculty member in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School
  • Helga Nowotny, PhD, President of the European Research Council (ERC) and professor emeritus of Social Studies of Science, ETH Zurich
  • Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media
  • Harold Varmus, MD, Nobel laureate, Co-founder of PLOS and the current Director of the National Cancer Institute


The ASAP program sponsors share a commitment to affect policy and public understanding to support the adoption of Open Access. They include the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Co-Action Publishing, Copernicus Publications, Creative Commons, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), Doris Duke Charitable Trust, Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), eLife, Hindawi, Health Research Alliance (HRA), Howard Hughes Medical Institute, ImpactStory, Jisc, Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, Mendeley, Microsoft Research, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), Research Councils UK (RCUK), Research Libraries UK (RLUK), Social Science Research Network (SSRN), the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), SURF (Netherlands), the World Bank, and major sponsors Google, PLOS and the Wellcome Trust.


About the Public Library of Science

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) is a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization founded to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. PLOS engages in outreach activities that promote Open Access and innovations in the communication of research. 2013 marks PLOS’s tenth anniversary as an Open Access publisher, reaching an international audience through immediate and free availability of research on the Internet. PLOS publishes a suite of journals: PLOS ONE, PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and PLOS Pathogens. PLOS ONE publishes research from more than 50 diverse scientific fields and is the largest peer-reviewed journal in the world.


About the Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests. www.wellcome.ac.uk



Stay Unique – PLOS introduces ORCID Identifiers

Plos -

PLOS is pleased to announce the introduction of ORCID Identifiers to the people records in the manuscript submission system.

This update improves the accuracy of over 600,000 author and reviewer records. Matching researchers with their own work, and not that of someone else with the same or a similar name, is important because careers are built on these connections.

ORCID in PLOS submission system

After registering for an ORCID Identifier or inserting an existing one, Authors can build a professional profile by importing their work (articles, videos, conference abstracts) from the web or adding it manually.

Rebecca Bryant, Director of Community for ORCID said “ORCID is delighted to be working with PLOS.  Providing authors the opportunity to associate publications with their unique researcher identifier makes their work more discoverable and supports the open science goals of PLOS.”

Please update your EM information with an ORCID Identifier when submitting an article to PLOS.

The post Stay Unique – PLOS introduces ORCID Identifiers appeared first on The Official PLOS Blog.

The nordic Creative Commons filmfestival 2013 – visa, titta och dela film tillsammans

CC Sverige -

Jag sitter idag på premiären för den första nordiska creative commons filmfestivalen. En annorlunda filmfestival där alla som vill kan arrangera en filmvisning av en CC-licensierad film. Den är öppen för alla att delta i och du kan lätt arrangera en visning och delta. Kolla in manifestet för the Nordic Creative Commons filmfestival.

Vi kommer att arrangera en visning på .SE på onsdag den 4 sept av filmen Everywhere klockan 12.00. Den är öppen för alla och du är hjärtligt välkommen, men du måste anmäla dig i förväg. Anmälan sker genom följande formulär.


New data source added to PLOS ALM

Plos -

We’re expanding the range of data sources in PLOS ALM to provide users with additional ways to evaluate the importance of research. F1000Prime recommendations now appear on 3000 highly influential PLOS articles (this number will grow as more articles are added).

Leading PLOS articles recommended by this new data source will feature the visual below, which includes a numerical score allocated to each review.

John Chodacki, Director of Product Management at PLOS said “Along with F1000Prime recommendations, researchers now have a diverse combination of metrics that more comprehensively evaluate the impact of an article.”

Increasing the range of PLOS ALM data sources helps tell a more complete story of how articles are used once they have been published – the F1000Prime metric is a new type in our suite, a qualitative recommendation, rather than a quantitative “share” or citation.

This valuable information can be shared with collaborators, institutions and funders to demonstrate the broader impact of research and helps guide readers to influential articles.

The post New data source added to PLOS ALM appeared first on The Official PLOS Blog.

Hur erkänner du fotografen korrekt vid CC-licensierade bilder?

CC Sverige -

Det är en av de vanligaste frågorna som vi får om hur man gör för att erkänna upphovsmannen till Creative Commons licensierade material. I nedanstående infografik från foter ges en överblick över Creative Commons licenserna samt hur man gör för att erkänna fotografen korrekt.

När jag tittar igenom den så tycker jag det är skrämmande statisk som presenteras att 90% av alla CC-licensierade bilder har inget erkännande alls, och att 99% inte har ett korrekt erkännande. Så svårt är det inte :)

Vi på .SE har dessutom gjort en kortfilm som finns på Youtube på svenska som berättar samma sak, kort och gott, illustrerad av @entapir.


Abonner på creativecommons.no nyhetsinnsamler