open access

Digital Economy Defined

Mike Linksvayer, July 18th, 2009

July 14 the Australian Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy released Australia’s Digital Economy: Future Directions under a CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Many readers of this blog will be especially interested in the report’s section on open access to public sector information:

An open access approach to the release of public sector information is a logical response to the digital economy and innovation benefits that can result from new and emerging digital use and re-use, subject to privacy, national security or confidentiality concerns. In this context, ‘open access’ means access on terms and in formats that clearly permit and enable such use and re-use by any member of the public. This allows anyone with an innovative idea to add value to existing public sector information for the common good, often in initially unforeseen or unanticipated ways.

As one commentator has argued, “[n]o one supplier, public or private, can design all information products required to meet the needs of all users in a modern information-based economy.” By opening access to appropriate categories of government information to all members of the public, those best placed to innovate can do so and the market can decide which product is most useful.

The report covers many other topics, befitting its definition of “digital economy”:

The global network of economic and social activities that are enabled by information and communications technologies, such as the internet, mobile and sensor networks.

Congratulations to all involved, especially former CC General Counsel Mia Garlick, who last year joined the Australian Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to lead its digital economy initiatives.

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U of Oregon Library faculty research to become more open

Jane Park, May 8th, 2009

Steps towards openness were taken yesterday by the University of Oregon Library, as its faculty unanimously passed a resolution requiring all library faculty-authored scholarly articles to be licensed CC BY-NC-ND (thanks to Peter Suber of Open Access News). Although NC-ND does not allow derivations (which may include translations and other adaptations) of the articles, library faculty also have the option of licensing their works under one of the more open licenses, including CC BY-SA and CC BY.

We highly encourage library faculty (and libraries in general) everywhere to consider adopting these more open CC licenses for their content (especially CC BY). If you remember from last October, the University of Michigan Library adopted CC BY-NC for all of its works, including those to which the University of Michigan held copyrights. Stripping away the ND term enables collaboration across institutions, as you are granted more than the simple right to access, but to also adapt, translate, and improve the work.

However, adopting CC BY-NC-ND is a step in the right direction. From the announcement,

“We largely followed the leads of Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and most recently Oregon State (our friends and rivals). One area where we differ is in explicitly mandating a CC-BY-NC-ND license. Choosing that license was very conscious. We believe that it is vital that the community standardize on a small number of licenses to move beyond the present mess where every publisher and practically every author has their own unique terms. The license we chose is a good candidate for standardization. … Authors who wish to can of course also license their works under a more liberal license such as CC-BY-SA.”

For more information on our Open Access work, visit the Scholar’s Copyright Project page.

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NIH Open Access mandate made permanent

Kaitlin Thaney, March 17th, 2009

Over on the Science Commons blog, Thinh writes:

The NIH Public Access Policy, which was due to expire this year, has now been made permanent by the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law last week.

Last year, Science Commons, SPARC, and ARL jointly released a White Paper authored by our board member Mike Carroll called “Complying With the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy,” explaining the new NIH-mandated PubMed deposit requirement and questions that grant recipients should consider in designing a program to comply with it. At that time, the new mandatory policy had just taken effect, and many recipients were still learning how to comply. Nevertheless, the results were dramatic. Prior to NIH’s mandatory deposit requirement, under a voluntary policy NIH began in 2005, the compliance rate in terms of deposits in PubMed had been very low (4%, as published in an NIH report to Congress in 2006). Shortly after the adoption of the new mandatory policy, submissions spiked to an all time high, prompting an NIH official to project compliance rates of 55-60%. Just take a look at this NIH chart, and note the sharp rise after the policy took effect in early 2008.

In a subsequent White Paper that Science Commons and SPARC jointly issued, our recommendations included looking beyond compliance with the new policy and taking this opportunity to develop comprehensive institutional deposit and public access policies, such as Harvard’s open access policy.

Making the NIH Public Access Policy permanent will provide scholars and institutions with much needed certainty and impetus to focus on implementing these requirements within their institutions. It also creates a opportunity for scholars, universities, and the research community to take a broader look at their institution’s scholarly publishing and open access policies, not only as it applies to deposit in PubMed, but also as it applies to their own institutional repositories and scholarly communities.

We will work with our collaborators to develop further policy and legal briefings for university and public research institutions who are studying these issues. Look for that this summer.

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Creative Commons CTO speaking at Open Access Week

Greg Grossmeier, March 16th, 2009

open-access-badge

Open Access Week at the University of Michigan is “a week-long, campus-wide exploration of Open Access.” And a discussion sponsored by the Michigan Library on this topic couldn’t come at a better time; libraries are facing tough economic situations and the current political discourse around copyright and open access needs to be addressed. Featured Commoner (on behalf of Michigan Libraries) Molly Kleinman said it best on her personal blog announcing Open Access Week:

First we have the return of the dreadful Fair Copyright In Research Works Act, which is opposed by just about everyone except commercial publishers, including 33 Nobel Laureates in science. Then comes the word that together Elsevier and LexisNexis earned over $1.5 billion US in profit in 2008. For Elsevier that’s an adjusted operating margin — a profit — of 33%. While universities across the country are facing budget cuts of 20% or more, Elsevier brings in 33% profits, largely on the backs of university libraries. And economic news more broadly indicates that no library will escape unscathed. When Harvard starts laying off librarians and eliminating subscriptions, we’re all in trouble.

And that is only a small sub-section of the issues facing libraries today, including big issues like the Google Books Settlement. What better time to speak about the use of Creative Commons licenses in academic journals and what technological tools Creative Commons is developing to build an ecosystem of openness? With the right tools and the right attitude academic libraries will be a major player in fixing many of these issues.

Nathan Yergler, CTO at Creative Commons, will be speaking during Open Access Week on March 23rd on the University of Michigan campus. Everyone is welcome to join this event, and all of the events during Open Access Week. For the details about Nathan’s talk, check out the the schedule.

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OpenSA – Championing South African heritage

Jane Park, January 29th, 2009

If I hadn’t interned for Clarity Films one summer, I would never have learned most of what I know now about the apartheid, Nelson Mandela, and Desmond Tutu. I spent hours transcribing interviews and condensing documentary footage into some type of digital package that I don’t recall the name of (nor do I remember the outdated technology I used). What I do remember: the world’s reactions to the tumult that surrounded South Africa within the past fifty some odd years.

opensa-logoNow, anyone can learn about South Africa and its rich heritage with the recent launch of OpenSA, “a pilot project to make South African heritage more accessible for remixing and re-publishing by online creators.” From the announcement at The African Commons Project:

“In collaboration with SA Rocks and the African Commons Project, OpenSA! is collecting, tagging and managing donations from people who are willing to make their material freely available online. OpenSA! will also be helping to coordinate outreach to South Africa’s young creators to enable them to learn more about how to find open content that they are free to remix and share.

As access to the Internet grows in South Africa, so too does the range of creative activity by a new generation of active online citizens. Internet publishing in the form of blogging and citizen journalism, online publishing of photographic, video and music publishing are all part of a wide range of democratic speech that we as a young nation are trying to encourage and nurture.”

Some media they’ve found and posted so far:
A documentary about one of the first Chinese restaurants in Cape Town (CC BY-NC by Link Media Inc.)
Photos of Johannesburg (CC BY-NC-SA by Gregor Rohrig)

Anyone can get involved and contribute. We encourage you to choose a CC license and send in your materials, or build on what’s already out there.

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Access 2.0

Jane Park, January 20th, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day! Following on the heels of Fred’s post, I’d like to point out a Seminar on open knowledge that will take place on February 4th and 5th at the National University of Bogota. Access 2.0: A discussion on intellectual property from the sciences, arts, library sciences, and education is being hosted and coordinated by the National University of Colombia and the Karisma Foundation. It will address “the important changes [that have occurred] in the past decade with regard to “the way in which we create and broadcast knowledge.” The Seminar acknowledges the emerging necessity of open educational resources (OER) and their future impact on the state of education:

“The issue of intellectual property and of copyright has ceased to be the exclusive province of lawyers, or to be relevant only in the area of the commercialization of cultural products. It no longer deals solely with concerns regarding remuneration of professional artists. For this reason, the responsibility of academics, teachers, scientists, and managers of information and knowledge in general in the construction of the legal culture has acquired a new and updated dimension.”

Our very own John Wilbanks, head of Science Commons, will speak at the meeting. The Seminar itself is free of charge and open to the public, though afternoon workshops will require prior registration.

The Seminar is the first step in a four objective research project examining intellectual property in public policy. For more information, see the description of the project on ccLearn’s resources page.

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Australian National Innovation Review recommends Creative Commons

Michelle Thorne, September 9th, 2008

CC Australia writes about an important report that advises Australian governments to follow open publishing standards and recommends using a Creative Commons license for government material released for public information.

Those interested in open access to public sector information will be excited to see the results of a recently released Australian Federal Government Review of the National Innovation System, http://www.innovation.gov.au/innovationreview.

The final report, titled VenturousAustralia, was prepared for Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, by consultants Culter and Co, headed up by industry consultant and strategy adviser Dr Terry Cutler. It places a strong emphasis on open innovation, stating in the introduction:

“Today innovation is understood to involve much more than the transmission of knowledge down the pipeline of production from research to development to application. In the age of the internet, with the opportunities for collaboration which it opens up, open innovation is increasingly important.”

Most importantly from an open access point of view, it was Recommendation 7.8 which is most exciting:

“Australian governments should adopt international standards of open publishing as far as possible. Material released for public information by Australian governments should be released under a creative commons licence.”

The full report is available at http://www.innovation.gov.au/innovationreview/Documents/NIS-review-web.pdf.

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eIFL.net on Open Access, Open Education, and Creative Commons

Jane Park, May 5th, 2008

CC BY-SA by * CliNKer *

CC BY-SA by * CliNKer *

In April, ccLearn crossed telephone lines with Italy and Ukraine for the first time. Executive Director Ahrash Bissell spoke with eIFL.net, Electronic Information for Libraries, an international nonprofit organization whose interests, among many, lie in open access publishing and fair and balanced intellectual property laws for libraries.

Below is a follow-up interview over email with Rima Kupryte, Director of eIFL.net, and Iryna Kuchma, Program Manager of eIFL-OA (Open Access).

First, can you say a few words about yourselves and eIFL? How did you come to get involved in eIFL and to hold your respective positions within the larger framework? What about eIFL attracted you?

Rima
I am a professional librarian, graduated from Vilnius University in Lithuania. I joined the Open Society Institute – Budapest (OSI) Network Library Program late in 1995. The idea for eIFL was born at OSI and later the idea turned into an independent organisation which I joined from its establishment in 2003. Coming from Lithuania, which had poorly resourced libraries and where access to information was restricted when I was a student, I was very passionate about ideas—what could be done in order to improve libraries, open them and offer better services to its users. eIFL.net is a very innovative and creative organisation that offers a lot of opportunities and ideas; it makes things happen.

Iryna
eIFL’s mission statement, “Enabling access to knowledge through libraries in developing and transition countries,” appeals to me a lot. I graduated from the social sciences department and access to knowledge was one of my research topics as well as social aspects of open access, free and open source software and open content licenses. For nine years I worked for OSI in Ukraine and Open Access was one of my program areas. It was fascinating to see the positive changes in scholarly communication and I am glad I can go on with this program – Open Access – in eIFL.net.

What about eIFL itself–can you sum up what it stands for, its mission and overarching agenda? Assuming you don’t already have one, if you could come up with a catchy new slogan for what eIFL is trying to do, what would it be?

eIFL.net is a not-for-profit organization that supports and advocates the wide availability of electronic resources by library users in transitional and developing countries. It is universally acknowledged that access to knowledge is fundamental to education and research and the creation of human capital upon which the development of societies depend. This is especially true in a knowledge society where economic progress depends on having a literate and educated population. Libraries and education are synonymous. A library has little meaning if it cannot impart knowledge. Good education cannot exist without access to quality information resources to support teaching, learning and research. Our current slogan is “Enabling access to knowledge through libraries in transition and developing countries”. In July we will be having an eIFL visioning retreat to brainstorm and think where eIFL.net will be five to ten years from now.

Iryna
eIFL.net is a powerful network of 2,220 libraries in 47 transitioning and developing countries with a combined population of 800 million people including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Croatia, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestine, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In 2008, a pilot Open Access workshop is planned in Latin America – Cuba.

I’ve gathered (mainly from information on your website) that eIFL and Creative Commons are promoting and doing similar things. For example, the vision of the eIFL program “Advocacy for Access to Knowledge: copyright and libraries”, known as eIFL-IP, is the development of fair and balanced copyright laws taking into account libraries and the public interest. How would you relate these goals to CC and CC-licensing?

The goal of eIFL-IP is to maximise access to knowledge for education, research and civil society through fair and balanced copyright laws that take into account the needs of libraries and students, researchers and professionals who depend on library services to advance their education, careers and life opportunities. Our vision is that eIFL-IP librarians will become activists and leaders for promoting access to knowledge, especially in the digital age. We are achieving this by

  • creating a network of library copyright specialists and building capacity in the library perspective in copyright issues.
  • becoming the recognised advocate for library copyright issues in developing and transitioning countries at international and national levels.
  • encouraging the international library community to place the issues of developing and transitioning countries high on their agendas.

eIFL-IP and CC are natural allies because

  • eIFL-IP supports the use of alternative models through open content licenses, such as CC and GPL. eIFL.net advocates for open access and OER.
  • eIFL-IP and CC both promote access to content (for CC digital content).
  • eIFL-IP builds capacity and raises awareness, including how to use copyright law as an enabler of access to knowledge rather than a means to distort, deny or delay access. CC licenses support this goal by promoting the full spectrum of possibilities within the copyright system, i.e. from all rights reserved to the public domain.
  • As information professionals, librarians should be in a position to advise library clients on issues relating to access and use of digital content. With its powerful brand, CC helps librarians to understand and promote issues relating to access.

For more information on the library perspective on CC: http://www.eifl.net/cps/sections/services/eifl-ip/docs/handbook-e/#cc

What are some of the major challenges eIFL-IP faces?

The challenge that remains is how to build capacity at the national level; when we are working well at both international and national levels, we will achieve the best results.

The relevance of copyright to libraries wasn’t always recognised because the connection with day-to-day library activities was not fully understood. This is changing, however, and eIFL-IP librarians are becoming more aware and thus are more active. Once this connection is made, the importance of advocating for better copyright laws will be better understood.

Good activists are in short supply so it is disappointing to lose trained people due to changes in jobs or through emigration. We rely almost entirely on volunteers which limits our ability to make too onerous demands or to enforce deadlines.

How do you think these challenges will be overcome?

By focusing on building capacity

  • identifying “champions” and encouraging those who are active e.g. Moldova came to WIPO in March 2008, support for regional events (e.g. Nigeria Library Association pre-conference on copyright and digitisation in June 2008).
  • developing a curriculum in copyright issues for libraries for mass training (see below).

You are also now developing a distance learning course on copyright for librarians jointly with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law. Can you describe the project?

In partnership with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School in the USA, we are developing a brand new curriculum on copyright for librarians. This is a first, and we hope that many more librarians, especially in developing and transitioning countries, will benefit from the training and become advocates for access to knowledge.

The curriculum seeks to develop greater understanding of copyright by librarians. The goal is to build a human network from which they can draw support. We hope to reach a critical mass of librarians who can contribute to public discussion, who can take part in informed debate with government and industry representatives, and who can join the library community from the developed world by expressing their views in important international forums, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The course should be implemented with strategic partners in the global South, such as library training and law schools in universities, as well as distance learning programs.

The goals of the course are:

  • To develop greater understanding of copyright by librarians by providing copyright training tailored to the needs of librarians in developing and transitioning countries.
  • To support librarians’ mission (participation to the access to knowledge movement).
  • To help librarians answer copyright questions they face during their work.
  • To help librarians answer users’ questions on their rights (professors, students, general public).
  • To empower librarians to advise governments and other public policy makers and initiatives toward balanced copyright law.

The project lead Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Berkman Fellow, has been legal lead for CC France since 2003.. A meeting of international experts in libraries, copyright, distance learning and developing countries took place at the Berkman Center 17-18 April 2008 to provide advice on the structure, methodology and the content of the course as well as its sustainability.

How important is this and other collaborative relationships to your work? Are you reaching out to additional partners? What types of organizations are key to your efforts?

Collaboration is very important as our agenda and wishes are great and we can not accomplish everything by ourselves. There are certain movements and program areas that require strong advocacy, and for this, more voices are better. This applies to our activities in Open Access (OA), Intellectual Property (IP) and Free and Open Source (FOSS). Some of our programs are more advanced than others as we launched them in different years. Our newest program is on FOSS; we started it only last fall. We have quite a long list of NGO partners in IP, which were built due to our strong presence at WIPO. We are building more partnerships in OA and FOSS this year.

Iryna
Our target audience is scholars and researchers, doctors and lawyers, students and teachers. And in Open Access projects we set alliances with human rights groups, environmental organizations, patient groups demanding access to government information, Internet activists (Wikipedia communities, Creative Commons, etc.) modeling the approach of the Alliance for Tax Payers Access (a diverse and growing alliance of organizations representing taxpayers, patients, physicians, researchers, and institutions that support open public access to taxpayer-funded research). We are working closely with SPARC and SPARC Europe, EurOpenScholar, DRIVER project, Electronic Publishing Trust, BioLine International, Association of Research Libraries, Stichting SURF, Dutch collaborative organization for Higher Education and Research on IT, Directory of Open Access Journals, and we are also glad to start working with ccLearn and Creative Commons International (and iCommons).

Like ccLearn, eIFL is a project that is involved with the Open Education Movement. How would you define the Open Education Movement, and what role does eIFL play in it?

The goal of the Open Education movement is to create a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. This goal can be reached by developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. eIFL Open Access (OA) Program encourages sharing of research publications and educational materials.

Through the eIFL OA Program, eIFL members build capacity of the issues related to OA to enable members to benefit from the content, which is made freely available through OA, as well as ensuring that the local content produced within their countries is widely distributed. This is accomplished through the development of open repositories (for the research papers and educational materials) and by encouraging authors within the countries to publish their articles in Open Access journals. eIFL-OA Program seeks to enhance access and use of research findings, increase the efficiency of research developments, and accelerate use and innovation—stimulating the economy. To achieve this, we apply the developing practices of Open Access as defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative (http://www.soros.org/openaccess/). The same practices became the foundation for the recently launched Cape Town Open Education Declaration: Unlocking the promise of open educational resources (http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/).

Among other things, ccLearn is focused on educating people about the importance of legal and technical interoperability for open education. What are your thoughts on this? What other activities do you think should be priorities for ccLearn (and Creative Commons) with respect to open education?

Yes, legal and technical interoperability is extremely important for open education. We encourage educators, scholars and students to use open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing. We advocate for Creative Commons Attribution Licenses used by a number of open access projects, e.g. The Public Library of Science (PLoS) – a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a public resource. Everything they publish is freely available online to read, download, copy, distribute, and use (with attribution) any way one wishes. Creative Commons did a lot for the free culture movements around the world. These approaches should be adjusted now for the educators and learners encouraging them to practice open education and raising their awareness about open content licences. Raising awareness and sharing good examples and advocacy are key elements to the success of the Open Education movement.

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Happy birthday Public Library of Science

Mike Linksvayer, October 17th, 2007

October 13 was the 4th anniversary of the first issue of PLoS Biology, the first journal from the groudbreaking Public Library of Science.

We’re incredibly honored that PLoS was a very early adopter of Creative Commons — we’ll only turn five in two months. See then CC Executive Director Glenn Otis Brown’s editorial in PLoS Biology‘s first issue: Out of the Way: How the next copyright revolution can launch the next scientific revolution.

PLoS (and CC) have made good of these promising beginnings, but expect much greater things in the next half decade. This movement, or rather these intertwined movements, are just getting rolling.

On this note, pay close attention to Science Commons and PLoS ONE. The latter recently published its 1000th research article. I’m particularly fond of #994, Ant Species Differences Determined by Epistasis between Brood and Worker Genomes (disclaimer: the author is my brother).

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Public Library of Science at Net Tuesday in San Francisco

Mike Linksvayer, January 4th, 2007

CC Salon San Francisco is going bi-monthly. The next Salon will be in February featuring speakers from Flickr and BitTorrent.

There’s a close substitute in January. Check out NetSquared’s Net Tuesday featuring the Public Library of Science, Tuesday, January 9 from 6-8PM at Citizen Space, 425 Second St., #300 in San Francisco:

This month our two presenters will be from PLoS, The Public Library of Science. PLoS is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. PLoS is both an open-access advocate and an online publisher that publishes several peer-reviewed biomedical journals under the Creative Commons Attribution License. PLoS collaborates with Topaz in the development of open-source software to facilitate community-based annotation of scientific articles.

Addendum 2006-01-16: Presentation slides, audio, and an accompanying interview are now available.

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