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PLOS launches open access science award program

Timothy Vollmer, May 1st, 2013

asap banner

Today the Public Library of Science announced the Accelerating Science Award Program (ASAP). The award program seeks nominations of individuals who have used, applied, or remixed scientific research — published through open access — in order to realize innovations in science, medicine, and technology. The goal of ASAP is to build awareness of and encourage the use of scientific research published through open access. Major sponsors include the Wellcome Trust and Google.

Three winners will each receive $30,000. The nomination period opens today and runs through June 15, 2013. Potential nominees may include individuals, teams, or groups of collaborators -– such as scientists, researchers, educators, social services, technology leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers, patient advocates, public health workers, and students -– who have used scientific research in transformative ways. The winners will be announced in Washington, DC, in October 2013 at an Open Access Week event hosted by SPARC and the World Bank.

Creative Commons is a supporter of ASAP, along with several other library organizations, publishers, and research organizations.

For more information, including the full details of the ASAP program, nomination process, and the award specifics, go to http://asap.plos.org/. For program rules visit http://asap.plos.org/nominate/rules/.

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Apply now for 2013 Google Policy Fellowship at Creative Commons

Timothy Vollmer, February 19th, 2013

Update: Please be sure to apply at the Google Policy Fellowship website.

For the fifth year, Creative Commons will take part in the Google Policy Fellowship program. It’s fantastic to see that Google has expanded the number and diversity of groups involved in the fellowship program. This year there are participating organizations from Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America.

The Google Policy Fellowship program offers undergraduate, graduate, and law students interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests. Fellows will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and trademark reform, consumer privacy, open government, and more.

The 2013 Google Policy Fellow will receive a grant to work at Creative Commons’ office in Mountain View, California.

Past CC Google Policy Fellows have worked on a wide variety of projects. These have included surveying intellectual property and licensing policies of philanthropic foundations, research on the welfare impact of Creative Commons across various fields, and an investigation of the characterization of Creative Commons within U.S. legal scholarship.

We look for motivated candidates with partially-developed ideas in exploring a particular interest/expertise area, short research project, or related activity within the broad spectrum of open licensing and the commons. In 2013 we are particularly interested in working with fellows interested in supporting education and advocacy efforts around open policies so that publicly funded resources are openly licensed resources. One specific project we are looking for assistance on is the development of an Open Policy Network. We are very flexible in accommodating project ideas that will be mutually beneficial to the candidate and CC. The project work with CC will not be supervised by an attorney.

Please be sure to apply before March 15, 2013, and good luck.

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Creative Commons & the Association of Educational Publishers to establish a common learning resources framework

Jane Park, June 7th, 2011

Today Creative Commons and the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) announce the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative, a project aimed at improving education search and discovery via a common framework for tagging and organizing learning resources on the web. The learning resources framework will be designed to work with schema.org, the web metadata framework recently launched by Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, as well as to work with other metadata technologies and to enable other rich applications.

Some of the details on my Moleskine
Some of the details on my Moleskine by Kim Joar / CC BY

The great promise of Open Educational Resources (OER) to provide access to high quality learning materials is limited by the discoverability of those resources and the difficulty of targeting them to the needs of specific learners. Creating a common metadata schema will accelerate movement toward personalized learning by publishers, content providers and learners, and help to unleash the tremendous potential of OER and online learning.

From AEP’s press release:

“This is a watershed project for our industry. It benefits both users and content providers because improved discoverability expands the market,” said Charlene Gaynor, CEO of AEP. “Being part of the process allows publishers to address issues such as quality and suitability as dimensions of educational content.”

CC is co-leading the LRMI with the Association of Educational Publishers, which includes publishers such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill Education, Scholastic, Inc. and Pearson. Open education organizations in addition to CC also support the project, including the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISMKE), Curriki.org, BetterLesson.org, and the Monterey Institute for Technology (MITE).

To learn more about the timeliness and impact of the LRMI, CC’s role in the project, and what this means for OER and online education publishers, grantees of the U.S. Department of Labor’s $2 billion TAACCCT program, other CC-using publishers and platforms, and technologists, please see our LRMI FAQ.

You can keep up to date and contribute to the broader conversation by following http://creativecommons.org/tag/lrmi and using the tag #lrmi on social media. If you want to get involved, join the LRMI list at http://groups.google.com/group/lrmi and introduce yourself. We look forward to your contributions!

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Apply for the 2011 Google Policy Fellowship with Creative Commons

Timothy Vollmer, November 23rd, 2010

We’re happy to announce that for the third year Creative Commons will take part in the Google Policy Fellowship program.

The Google Policy Fellowship program offers undergraduate, graduate, and law students interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests. Fellows will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and trademark reform, consumer privacy, open government, and more.

Aurelia Schultz was Creative Commons’ 2009 Fellow, and worked on a project to analyze the WIPO development agenda in relation to its affect on access to public domain materials. She also developed draft strategic plans for CC’s engagement with WIPO as well as outreach in Africa. Aurelia is now Counsel at Creative Commons. Tal Niv was CC’s Fellow last summer, and she’s been continuing work as a Research Analyst on a key investigation into CC’s welfare impact. The 2011 Google Policy Fellow will receive a substantial grant to work at Creative Commons’ San Francisco office. Potential topics may include, but certainly not limited to:

  • Analyzing trends in license adoption, including identification and development of relevant metrics.
  • Coordinating with counsel to critically analyze the current state of public domain policy in U.S. and abroad. Develop a framework to help Creative Commons’ deploy messaging regarding public domain policy in U.S. and abroad.
  • Researching how the contemporary discourse of copyright, sharing, reuse, and remix has been shaped over the last eight years as a result of the Creative Commons project.
  • Investigating new opportunities for Creative Commons implementation in ‘uncontacted’ communities, institutions, artists, and mediums.
  • Working with Creative Commons’ international community and jurisdiction project leads on projects, research, and outreach.

Check out more details and the application, which is due by January 17, 2011.

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Educational Search and DiscoverEd

Alex Kozak, June 25th, 2010

Last week in the vuDAT building at Michigan State University, a group of developers interested in educational search and discovery got together to contribute code (in what’s commonly called a code sprint) to Creative Commons’ DiscoverEd project. Readers interested in the technical details about our work last week can find daily posts on CC LabsDay 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

DiscoverEd is a semantic enhanced search prototype. What does that mean practically? Let’s say you’re a ninth grade biology teacher interested in finding education resources about cell organelles to hand out to students. How would you go about that?

If you’re web savvy, you might open up a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing and search for “cell organelles”. You’d find a lot of resources (Google alone finds over 11 million pages!), but which do you choose to investigate further? It’s time consuming and difficult to sift through search results for resources that have certain properties you might be interested in, like being appropriate for 9th graders, being under a CC license that allows you to modify the resource and share changes, or being written in English or Spanish, for example. As you throw up your hands in dismay, you might think “Can’t someone do this for me?!”

DiscoverEd is an educational search prototype that does exactly that, by searching metadata about educational resources. It provides a way to sift through search results based on specific qualities like what license it’s under, the education level, or subject.

Compare search results for “cell organelles” in Google, Yahoo, Bing, and now in DiscoverEd. You can see that finding CC licensed educational resources is friendlier because of the available metadata accompanying each result.

While most search engines rely solely on algorithmic analyses of resources, DiscoverEd can incorporate data provided by the resource publisher or curator. As long as curators and publishers follow some basic standards, metadata can be consumed and displayed by DiscoverEd. These formats (e.g. RDFa) allow otherwise unrelated educational projects, curators, and repositories to express facts about their resources in the same format so that tools (like DiscoverEd) can use that data for useful purposes (like search and discovery).

Creative Commons believes an open web following open standards leads to better outcomes for everyone. Our vision for the web is that everyone following interoperable standards, whether they be legal standards like the CC licenses or technical standards like CC REL and RDFa, will result in a platform that enables social and technical innovation in the same way that HTTP and HTML enabled change. DiscoverEd is a project that allows us to explore ways to improve search for OER, and simultaneously demonstrate the utility of structured data.

Continued development of DiscoverEd is supported by the AgShare project, funded by a grant from The Gates Foundation. Creative Commons thanks MSU, vuDAT, MSU Global, and the participants in the DiscoverEd sprint last week for their support.

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Google Code University

Cameron Parkins, March 23rd, 2010

Continuing with its commitment to open licensing, Google recently updated Google Code University, an educational resource that provides tutorials, lectures, and sample course content for CS students and educators. All the content is released under a CC Attribution license, allowing educators the ability to incorporate the resource in to their own courses. Educators can similarly submit their own course content for inclusion in GCU.

Google already boasts a number of fantastic CC integrations, a measure that is nicely expanded with this update to GCU.

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CC Licenses and the Haiti Relief Effort, Continued

Cameron Parkins, February 1st, 2010

Late last month we looked at how our licenses were being used by both Google and Architecture for Humanity to keep content open, free, and fluid in their Haiti Relief efforts. As these efforts continue to grow more groups have turned to CC licenses to assist their goals, with three projects in particular catching our attention.

The OpenStreetMap project found an immediate niche to fill, launching their Project Haiti page in an effort to map out what was, at the time, a largely incomplete geographical picture. Far more detailed now, OSM’s data set is available for free under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike license, helping those on the ground in Haiti get to where they need to be with greater accuracy.

Haiti Rewired, a project of WIRED magazine, is a collaborative community focused on tech and infrastructure solutions for Haiti. All the content published to Haiti Rewired is licensed under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial license, keeping the conversation legally open. You can read the project’s mission statement for more info.

A similar effort comes from Sahana, a free and open source software disaster management system. Soon after the crisis hit, Sahana launched their Haiti 2010 Disaster Relief Portal, which includes an organizations registry, a situation map, and an activities report. All content and data from the portal is released under CC Attribution license, allowing necessary information to be accessed by anyone without legal or financial hurdles.

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CC Licenses and the Haiti Relief Effort

Cameron Parkins, January 20th, 2010

In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake a number of efforts were put in place to connect survivors with their family and loved ones. In all its good intention, this lead to numerous websites that, in the words of Marc Fest of the Knight Foundation, became “silos” of information with no ability to interact. As a result, Fest – who is VP of Communications – sent an impassioned plea to news organizations to utilize an open-source Google app that was not only collecting similar information but releasing the data under a CC Attribution license – from PhilanTopic:

We recognize that many newspapers have put precious resources into developing a people-finder system. We nonetheless urge them to make their data available to the Google project and standardize on the Google widget. Doing so will greatly increase the number of successful reunions. Data from the Google site is currently available as “dumps” in the standard PFIF format…and an API is being developed and licensed through Creative Commons. I am not affiliated with Google — indeed, this is a volunteer initiative by some of their engineers — but this is one case where their reach and capacity can help the most people.

A similar effort has been taken up by Architecture for Humanity. Already known for their use of CC licenses, AFH is proposing a plan to build Community Resource Centers – centralized locales that will operate as base points for greater building relief through out Haiti. All of the work produced in these recovery centers would be released under a CC license, mirroring similar centers that were built in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In both efforts, there is a distinct desire to keep relief efforts fluid and focused on helping people, a goal assisted by keeping valuable information open, free, and widely usable. Put succinctly by AFH co-founder Cameron Sinclair, “there is no ‘ownership’ in rebuilding lives.”

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CC and the Google Book Settlement

Mike Linksvayer, November 16th, 2009

The is probably the copyright story of the year — it’s complex, contentious, involves big players and big subjects — the future of books, perhaps good and evil — resulting in a vast amount of advocacy, punditry and academic analysis.

It’s also a difficult item for Creative Commons to comment on. Both “sides” are clearly mostly correct. Wide access to digital copies of most books ever published would be a tremendous benefit to society — it’s practically an imperative that will happen in some fashion. It’s also the case that any particular arrangement to achieve such access should be judged in terms of how it serves the public interest, which includes consumer privacy, open competition, and indeed, access to books, among many other things. Furthermore, Creative Commons considers both Google and many of the parties submitting objections to the settlement (the Electronic Frontier Foundation is an obvious example) great friends and supporters of the commons.

We hope that a socially beneficial conclusion is reached. However, it’s important to remember why getting there is so contentious. Copyright has not kept up with the digital age — to the contrary, it has fought a rearguard action against the digital age, resulting in zero growth in the public domain, a vast number of inaccessible and often decaying orphan works, and a diminution of fair use. If any or all of these were addressed, Google and any other party would have much greater freedom to scan and make books available to the public — providing access to digital books would be subject to open competition, not arrived at via a complex and contentious settlement with lots of side effects.

Creative Commons was designed to not play the high cost, risk, and stakes game of litigation and lobbying to fix a broken copyright system. Instead, following the example of the free software movement, we offer a voluntary opt-in to a more reasonable copyright that works in the digital age. There are a huge number of examples that this works — voluntary, legal, scalable sharing powers communities as diverse as music remix, scientific publishing, open educational resources, and of course Wikipedia.

It’s also heartening to see that voluntary sharing can be a useful component of even contentious settlements and to see recognition of Creative Commons as the standard for sharing. We see this in Google’s proposed amended settlement, filed last Friday. The amended version (PDF) includes the following:

Alternative License Terms. In lieu of the basic features of Consumer Purchase set forth in Section 4.2(a) (Basic Features of Consumer Purchase), a Rightsholder may direct the Registry to make its Books available at no charge pursuant to one of several standard licenses or similar contractual permissions for use authorized by the Registry under which owners of works make their works available (e.g., Creative Commons Licenses), in which case such Books may be made available without the restrictions of such Section.

This has not been the first mention of Creative Commons licenses in the context of the Google Book Settlement. The settlement FAQ has long included an answer indicating a Creative Commons option would be available. Creative Commons has also been mentioned (and in a positive light) by settlement critics, for example in Pamela Samuelson’s paper on the settlement and in the Free Software Foundation’s provocative objection centering on the tension between the intentions of public copyright licensors and the potential for settlements to result in less freedom than the licensor intended.

Independent of the settlement, we happily noted a few months ago that Google had added Creative Commons licensing options to its Google Book Search partner program. This, like any voluntary sharing, or mechanism to facilitate such, is a positive development.

However you feel about the settlement, you can make a non-contentious contribution to a better future by using works in the commons and adding your own, preventing future gridlock. You can also make a financial contribution to the Creative Commons annual campaign to support the work we do to build infrastructure for sharing.

If you want to follow the Google Book Settlement play-by-play, New York Law School’s James Grimmelmann has the go-to blog. We’re proud to note that James was a Creative Commons legal intern in 2004, but can’t take any credit for his current productivity!

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ccSalon SF (8/12/09) Audio Now Online

Allison Domicone, August 18th, 2009

salon-sf
Thanks to everyone who made it out to our ccSalon in San Francisco last Wednesday. We had a great turn-out, excellent presentations and discussion on CC and open source, and refreshments, all of which made for a delightful evening in PariSoMa‘s inviting space.

Couldn’t make it to the salon? Fear not! You can now download and listen to the presentations, in addition to viewing the presenters’ slides:

Chris DiBona, Open Source Program Manager at Google. Audio | Slides (PDF)
Evan Prodromou, founder of Identi.ca. Audio | Slides (PDF)
Nathan Yergler, CC’s Chief Technology Officer. Audio | Slides (Slideshare)

We’re currently planning the next ccSalon SF for October, so stay tuned. Remember, the best way to stay on top of upcoming CC events from around the world is to subscribe to our events mailing list!

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