The best community we could ask for

Creativecommons.org -

The best community we could ask for

November 25, 2013, was a day we had looked forward to for years — the official launch date of Version 4.0 of the Creative Commons licenses. But despite months of planning, something unexpected started to happen just after we hit publish: our website started to fail.

We spent the next 12 hours working to fix the current setup while simultaneously moving our website to higher-performance servers. That situation was maddening: for a few hours, half of the world could see the new 4.0 licenses, and half couldn’t. Finding a fix was our highest priority. All hands were on deck to ensure we delivered on our promise of providing stable, trustworthy infrastructure for our licenses.

And deliver we did. By the morning of the 26th, the entire world awoke to a new set of CC licenses — licenses that reflect two years of work by some of the best minds in copyright law on the planet.

I’m telling you about the site outage for two reasons. First, it shows us for what we are: a very small organization with extremely limited resources. CC licenses will always be free, but maintaining them isn’t. Whether it’s tech infrastructure, adoption support, or helping users understand the licenses, our stewardship responsibilities are ongoing, in demand, and require resources.

Second, and more importantly, it says a lot about you. A lot of you were up all night with us. The people who could see the new licenses were excitedly sharing details with those of you who couldn’t, and asking us how they could help. I remember laughing to myself, “How many site outages get live-blogged?” Basically, you’re the best community we could ask for.

If you can, please consider making a gift to help carry Creative Commons into 2015. Together, we built state-of-the-art licenses that we’ll all be using for the next decade. But there’s a lot more work to do, for all of us.

Thank you for sharing with us in this dream of a world where knowledge and culture are more accessible to everyone. We’ll never stop fighting for that world, even if it means pulling a few all-nighters.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to require CC BY for all grant-funded research

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Philanthropic foundations fund the creation of scholarly research, education and training materials, and rich data with the public good in mind. Creative Commons has long advocated for foundations to add open license requirements to their grants. Releasing grant-funded content under permissive open licenses means that materials may be more easily shared and re-used by the public, and combined with other resources that are also published under open licenses.

Yesterday the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it is adopting an open access policy for grant-funded research. The policy “enables the unrestricted access and reuse of all peer-reviewed published research funded, in whole or in part, by the foundation, including any underlying data sets.” Grant funded research and data must be published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (CC BY). The policy applies to all foundation program areas and takes effect January 1, 2015.

Here are more details from the Foundation’s Open Access Policy:

  1. Publications Are Discoverable and Accessible Online. Publications will be deposited in a specified repository(s) with proper tagging of metadata.
  2. Publication Will Be On “Open Access” Terms. All publications shall be published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License (CC BY 4.0) or an equivalent license. This will permit all users of the publication to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and transform and build upon the material, including for any purpose (including commercial) without further permission or fees being required.
  3. Foundation Will Pay Necessary Fees. The foundation would pay reasonable fees required by a publisher to effect publication on these terms.
  4. Publications Will Be Accessible and Open Immediately. All publications shall be available immediately upon their publication, without any embargo period. An embargo period is the period during which the publisher will require a subscription or the payment of a fee to gain access to the publication. We are, however, providing a transition period of up to two years from the effective date of the policy (or until January 1, 2017). During the transition period, the foundation will allow publications in journals that provide up to a 12-month embargo period.
  5. Data Underlying Published Research Results Will Be Accessible and Open Immediately. The foundation will require that data underlying the published research results be immediately accessible and open. This too is subject to the transition period and a 12-month embargo may be applied.

Trevor Mundel, President of Global Health at the foundation, said that Gates “put[s] a high priority not only on the research necessary to deliver the next important drug or vaccine, but also on the collection and sharing of data so other scientists and health experts can benefit from this knowledge.”

Congratulations to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on adopting a default open licensing policy for its grant-funded research. This terrific announcement follows a similar move by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, who recently extended their CC BY licensing policy from the Open Educational Resources grants to now apply foundation-wide for all project-based grant funds.

Regarding deposit and sharing of data, the Gates Foundation might consider permitting grantees to utilize the CC0 Public Domain Dedication, which allows authors to dedicate data to the public domain by waiving all rights to the data worldwide under copyright law. CC0 is widely used to provide barrier-free re-use to data.

We’ve updated the information we’ve been tracking on foundation intellectual property policies to reflect the new agreement from Gates, and continue to urge other philanthropic foundations to adopt open policies for grant-funded research and projects.

Den digitale fælleds tilstand – ny rapport fra Creative Commons

CC Danmark -

Creative Commons har netop udgivet en rapport som præsenterer en tilstandsrapport for åbent indhold på Internettet – og det er positiv læsning, for tallene sprænger alle rammer. Således er der nu 882 millioner værker under CC-licens online, og det er derudover glædeligt også at se, at skaberne der bruger CC-licenser i stigende grad hælder imod at bruge de allermest åbne licenser CC-BY og CC-BY-SA, de såkaldte “free culture”-licenser.

Således viser statistikken at hele 58% af værkerne tillader kommerciel udnyttelse, og 76% videre bearbejdning. Det er en kraftig stigning fra 2010 og indikerer hvorledes fri deling som værktøj for kunstnere og indholdsskabere vinder frem med stormskridt. Rapporten viser dog også at det er primært i Nordamerika og Europa at CC-licenserne for alvor har fået fat. Afrika, Mellemøsten, Syd- og Mellemamerika – og til dels Asien – stadigvæk halter lidt efter, hvilket naturligvis også vidner om en helt anden ophavsrettighedsmæssig kontekst. Til gengæld understøtter de mest populære værktøjer som bruges i hele verden i højere og højere grad brugen af CC-licenser. Hele 9 millioner websites bruger CC-licenser, herunder mastodonter som Youtube, Flickr og Wikipedia.

Sidst, men ikke mindst, er der på uddannelsesfronten er der også spændende perspektiver præsenteret. 14 lande har allerede implementeret lovgivning der sikrer vækst indenfor udviklingen og anvendelsen af åbent licenserede undervisningsmaterialer – og flere er på vej! Bliver spændende at se de kommende års rapporter, hvor vi forudser enormt vækst på dette område.

Du kan se hele rapporten og den medfølgende infografiske præsentation her – og i Creative Commons Danmark har vi været behjælpelige med en dansk oversættelse, hvis du føler trang til at dele i dit netværk.



The post Den digitale fælleds tilstand – ny rapport fra Creative Commons appeared first on Creative Commons Danmark.

State of the Commons

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Today, we’re releasing a new report that we think you will want to see. State of the Commons covers the impact and success of free and open content worldwide, and it contains the most revealing account we’ve ever published, including new data on what’s shared with a CC license.

We found nearly 900 million Creative Commons-licensed works, dramatically up from our last report of 400 million in 2010. Creators are now choosing less restrictive CC licenses more than ever before — over half allow both commercial use and adaptations.

We’re also celebrating the success of open policy worldwide. Fourteen countries have now adopted national open education policies, and open textbooks have saved students more than 100 million dollars. These are big moves making big impacts.

Please help us spread the word about this groundbreaking report.

If Creative Commons plays a role in how you use the internet or share your work, please consider making a gift to support the organization. Creative Commons licenses will always be free, but they would not exist without your generous support.

Can the OER acronym make us open? Thoughts on the „Opening Up Curriculum” report

European Open EDU Policy Project -

Babson Survey Research Group has recently published the results of its survey study „Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014″. The study (funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and with support from Pearson) is unique in providing a statistically valid, quantitative view of the ways that American academic staff understands and uses OERs.

The study drew the attention of the OER community by providing an objective measure of the awareness of OER. 5% of respondents declare they are „very aware”, 15% that they are „aware” and 14% that they are „somewhat aware”. Is that a lot, or too little? Commentators have focused on whether this is good, or bad news for OER (see David Wiley here or Phil Hill here, for example). In my opinion. that’s not the key issued raised by the study.

The challenge of defining „open”
The study raises the fundamental issue of OER as a concept that is at one hand difficult and unknown to educators – and which at the same time has to be used, if we are to promote a proper understanding of „open”. The report describes in details the difficulties of properly defining OER, for the purpose of the questionnaire. Authors note that if the term „open educational resources” is provided without an explanation, educators understand it to mean a broad range of freely available resources, most of which don’t meet any of the accepted OER definitions. On the other hand, a definition that uses examples to become more precise „proved too leading for the respondents, and artificially boosted the proportion that could legitimately claim to be ‚aware’.” In the end, they chose the following statement:

„How aware are you of Open Educational Resources (OER)? OER is defined as „teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.” Unlike traditionally copyrighted material, these resources are available for „open” use, which means users can edit, modify, customize, and share them.”

The respondents were then asked to provide some examples, and to confirm their understanding of OER by choosing statements that they would use „to describe the concept of OER to a colleague”. Over 70% would choose availability for free, over 50% the ability to remix or ease of combining with other materials. Creative Commons licensing is mentioned most rarely (by 28% of respondents). The last item should be troubling for OER advocates, as free licensing is considered a necessary element of open education.

I don’t think that this is the correct way of measuring OER awareness. Respondents report their understanding of OER definitions only after having been provided with the very definition – which must lead to a bias. This is a general problem with the survey (and even more generally with the survey method) – it assumes a level of clarity in understanding OER, which in real life is not present among the studied faculty. Taking aside a narrow group (5-20% of respondents) who are clearly aware of OERs (and who can be asked specific questions), for other respondents the survey at the same time measures and builds awareness.

Can we speak about OER without mentioning „OER”?
One of the stranger results of the study is that those who know and use OER chose specific statements about the OER definition as often as those who are not aware of such resources. Similarly, only 34% of respondents are aware of OER (including those 13% who are „somewhat aware, but not sure how to use them”), while 50% of faculty declare use of OERs. And finally, if open licensing is commonly described as a key element of the OER model, then why only 1/3 of those who use OER consider it important? All these mysteries have a simple possible solution: academics simply don’t know what they mean, when they answer questions about „OER”).

(There’s a chance – small one, in my opinion – that people recognise OER by specific „brands” instead of the licensing model. It would have been interesting to ask about awareness of most popular OER projects, such as Openstax).

This is ultimately not a problem with the survey itself, as care was clearly taken to create a proper survey methodology. It is a problem faced by all OER advocates – in most cases, we’re not only promoting an alternative intellectual property rights model for education; we have to make educators aware of the very issue of IPRs. It’s an issue that many educators don’t understand or don’t care about – they either ignore it, or expect that it will be solved by their institution (In Poland, we gathered research data on this – but I assume that the issue is more or less similar around the world).

Without making them aware about OER, we cannot achieve change. So we have to make people care and worry about the very issue that we’d like to see becoming insignificant. Because without a „strict” understanding of OERs, we face open washing (to use David Wiley’s term), a dilution of the open model. Low declared awareness of Creative Commons licenses, and of their significance as part of an explanation of what OER is, shows just how difficult this task is. And the risk of openwashing will grow, the more OER become mainstreamed.

What I would do differently (suggestions for the next year study)
I think that a study of OERs should not map awareness of the concept itself. Similarly, asking respondents to declare willingness to use OER in the future offers little predictive power with regard to their future actions. Instead, we should try to map and understand practices around the use of resources by educators – and then decide whether they fit a definition of what OER is. For example, educators could be asked to keep digital „resource use diaries”, which could then be analysed, with links checked for open content licensing.

We also need to go beyond quantitative, survey methods – these are great for mapping well understood concepts. But when facing issues that are still being constructed in the society, qualitative studies are much more important. Surveys provide us with general driving directions instead of precise maps. Interviews and ethnographies could help to define the „real life understanding of open”, and see whether it overlaps with the formal definitions of open.

Some nuggets from the study (if you are still reading)
Cost is among the least important criteria used by academics for choosing resources. 3% worry about cost, while 20% care about ease of use, 50% about quality and 60% about efficacy. Obviously, these costs are not covered by instructors, who rationally do not worry about them. But the data suggests that the typical OER argument – „it’s free” – will not be convincing for educators.

Only 35% of educators are „very aware” about copyright (even fewer about Public Domain and Creative Commons). This is an extremely low value for a knowledge-intensive sector in a knowledge-based society. The survey asks about „licensing models” – but this is also, and more importantly, an issue of user rights.

Asked about deterrents to OER adoption, 1/3 of respondents mention lack of knowledge about permissions to use – which is the most shocking number for a study on resources with an explicit permission to use.

When asked about what types of resources they use, faculty members that declare OER use mentioned: images (89%), videos (88%), followed by video lectures and tutorials (60%). Ebooks and textbooks are relatively often used, but below the 50% mark. This suggests that some of the most often used OERs are incidental (images). It might also be a measure of a shift in American higher education away from traditional, printed resources. (It would be useful to collect similar data for non-open resources).

SciDataCon 2014 Recap

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Photo by Puneet Kishor published under CC0 Public Domain Dedication

Earlier this month, CODATA and World Data System, both interdisciplinary committees of the International Council for Science, jointly organized SciDataCon, an international conference on data sharing for global sustainability. The conference was held Nov 2-5, 2014, on the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Creative Commons Science had a busy schedule at the conference attended by 170+ delegates from all over the world, many from the global south.

Photo by Puneet Kishor published under CC0 Public Domain Dedication

We started early with a full day workshop on text and data mining (TDM) in cooperation with Content Mine. The workshop was attended by a mix of PhD students and researchers from the fields of immunology and plant genomics research. It was really rewarding to see the participants get a handle on the software and go through the exercises. Finally, the conversation about legal uncertainty around TDM appraised them about the challenges, but bottom-up support for TDM can be a strong ally in ensuring that this practice remains out of the reach of legal restrictions.

During the main conference we joined panel discussions on data citation with Bonnie Carroll (Iia), Brian Hole (Ubiquity Press), Paul Uhlir (NAS) and Jan Brase (DataCite) and international data sharing with Chaitanya Baru (NSF), Rama Hampapuram (NASA) and Ross Wilkinson (ANDS). We also participated in a daily roundup of the state of data sharing as presented at the conference organized by Elizabeth Griffin (CNRC).

SciDataCon, which used to be called CODATA, is held every two years, and is an important showcase of open science around the world. It is an important gathering for it brings together many scientists from the global south. A lot remains to be done to make real-time, pervasive data sharing and reuse a reality in much of the world, but there are heartening signs. At a national level, India’s data portal holds promise, but making data licensing information more explicit and data easily searchable by license would make it more useful. Citizen science projects in the Netherlands, India and Taiwan demonstrated how crowds can be involved in experiments while ensuring the user-generated content is made available for reuse, and SNEHA’s work on understanding perspectives on data sharing for public health research was particularly insightful of the value of listening to the feedback from participants.

We look forward to continue working with CODATA and WDS promoting and supporting open science and data initiatives around the world, and particularly in the global south, and hope for more success stories in the next SciDataCon.

Finnish translation of 4.0 published

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We are thrilled to announce our first official translation of 4.0, into Finnish. Congratulations to the CC Finland team, who have done an outstanding job. The translation team consisted of Maria Rehbinder of Aalto University, legal counsel and license translation coordinator of CC Finland; Martin von Willebrand, Attorney-at-Law and Partner, HH Partners, Attorneys-at-law Ltd: for […]

Finnish translation of 4.0 published

Creativecommons.org -

We are thrilled to announce our first official translation of 4.0, into Finnish. Congratulations to the CC Finland team, who have done an outstanding job. The translation team consisted of Maria Rehbinder of Aalto University, legal counsel and license translation coordinator of CC Finland; Martin von Willebrand, Attorney-at-Law and Partner, HH Partners, Attorneys-at-law Ltd: for translation supervision; Tarmo Toikkanen, Aalto University, general coordinator of CC Finland; Henri Tanskanen, Associate, HH Partners, Attorneys-at-law Ltd: main translator, and Liisa Laakso-Tammisto, translator. Particular thanks go to Aalto University, HH Partners, and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture for their support.

Maria Rehbinder, Martin von Willebrand, Tarmo Toikkanen, Henri Tanskanen, and Liisa Laakso-Tammisto; photo Mikko Säteri, CC BY

Internationalization was one of the 5 main goals of the 4.0 licenses, so this is an important milestone for the CC community. Our translation policy was written to reinforce that goal: if the licenses work everywhere, everyone should be able to use them in their own language without needing to worry about what the original English version says. The official translations are accessible to anyone, anywhere wishing to have access to the official legal text of the 4.0 licenses in Finnish.

Particular kudos go out to this team for their detailed work: producing linguistic translations is difficult! Many words don’t have exact equivalents between languages, especially where you’re bringing in specialized language from countries with different legal systems. Teams working on translations go through a detailed review of their work with CC to ensure that the meaning of the documents lines up. This often involves many detailed questions about exact meanings of words and the legal concepts they refer to, especially when no one on the CC legal team speaks the language. (If you’re particularly curious, you can look at some of the notes in the translators’ guide.) The Finnish team anticipated most of the questions we might have asked, providing a detailed explanation that will be useful as an example to others, and their thorough work has paid off.

Keep your eyes out: several more translations are in the final stages of review and will be published in the coming months! In the meantime, we join CC Finland in celebrating the launch of the first official 4.0 translation.

Read CC Finland’s announcement.

Representing the Public Domain at the EU Observatory on Infringements of IPR

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Last week Communia joined the “European Observatory on Infringements of IPR” which is hosted by the European Union’s Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). The Observatory’s task is to provide the EU Commission with insights on every aspect of IPR infringement. It does so primarily by conducting surveys and studies on how, where […]

CCANZ November newsletter

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Creative Commons NZ news The University of Canterbury has instituted mandatory deposit of academic research. Lincoln University has passed a wide-ranging Open Access policy. Kiwi author Thomasin Sleigh has published her novel Ad Lib under CC. Latest from NZCommons There are heaps of new articles over at NZCommons.org.nz! Learn about the Open Government Partnership, CC and the courts, and why Open Access is […]

Przegląd linków CC #156

Planet CC -

Otwarta edukacja 1. David Willey analizuje wyniki świetnego raportu z badań Babson na temat otwartych zasobów edukacyjnych na uczelniach wyższych w USA. Jeśli nie macie czasu na cały raport zajrzyjcie chociaż do jego wpisu, w którym pokazuje jak te wyniki pokazują jak otwarte zasoby edukacyjne muszą się rozwijać (ogromna ilość osób zaintresowanych korzystaniem z nich) i jak będą zapewne nadal […]

Te Papa’s openly licensed images

Planet CC -

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa has now made nearly forty thousand images freely downloadable from its Collections Online digital database, giving the public access to the highest-resolution images it can and opening the way for creative reuse. Around twenty thousand of these images are ‘No Known Copyright’ but upwards of seventeen thousand […]

The Voyager Golden Record

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“Voyager Golden Record Cover Explanation” by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons The Voyager Spacecrafts are carrying with them sounds of the earth, of our civilization, recorded on a 12″ gold plated copper disc, a golden record, along with instructions for how to play them. […]

The Voyager Golden Record

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“Voyager Golden Record Cover Explanation” by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The Voyager Spacecrafts are carrying with them sounds of the earth, of our civilization, recorded on a 12″ gold plated copper disc, a golden record, along with instructions for how to play them.

Lily Bui, a graduate student in the MIT Comparative Media Studies program built a lovely web site that allows everyone to enjoy the sounds and music from the golden record via an attractive, easy to use web interface. In a serial burst of inspiration, Lily has also dedicated her web site to the public domain via a CC0 Public Domain Dedication.

In her words, “To be perfectly frank — I mostly designed this mostly for myself so that I wouldn’t have to access the archival audio through the Library of Congress portal.” Well, turns out a lot of people share Lily’s point-of-view. Ever the academic, she was taking a course at MIT that “examined the ‘migration of cultural materials’ into the digital space, combining traditional humanities with computational methods.” She is convinced her work is grounded in theory. Perhaps, for we love the sounds and music so much that we have yet to read Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display by Johanna Drucker.

Join Lily and all of us at Creative Commons and give the Voyager Golden Record a listen.

Apple Updates — A Comic

Planet CC -

Ever been utterly frustrated, made furious, by an Apple upgrade that made things worse?  This post is for you.  (With apologies to Randall Munroe.)        

CC in a world of worthy causes

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Creative Commons wasn’t done after we created our first license suite, or even after hundreds of millions of licensed works were shared. The web is changing — and so are the ways we get, share, and use content — so we’re trying new things. One new idea is our mobile app, The List, supported by a prototype […]

Europe’s cultural heritage institutions deserve better

Planet CC -

For those of us looking forward to copyright rules that enable European cultural heritage institutions to provide online access to their collections, two important things happened last week: on Wednesday 29th October, the Orphan Works directive (OW directive) came into force and on Saturday 1st November, the new European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker assumed office. The first event […]

CC Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting Held in Seoul

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CCKorea / CC BY Representatives from CC affiliates in Asia and the Pacific were once again hosted by CC Korea for the CC Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting this year. Asia-Pacific CC affiliates have a regular face-to-face meeting every two years to share their experience and know-how, to discuss common issues, and to seek opportunities for collaboration. […]


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