Last year, the U.S. Congress included a provision in its appropriations legislation that would ensure that some research conducted through federal spending would be made accessible online, for free. It mandated that a subset of federal agencies with research budgets of at least $100 million per year would be required provide the public with free online access to scholarly articles generated with federal funds no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The agencies affected by the public access provision of the appropriations bill included the Department of Labor, Department of Education, and Department of Health and Human Services. Of particular note is the Department of Health and Human Services, which encompasses research-intensive agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SEC. 525. Each Federal agency, or in the case of an agency with multiple bureaus, each bureau (or operating division) funded under this Act that has research and development expenditures in excess of $100,000,000 per year shall develop a Federal research public access policy that provides for— 1) the submission to the agency, agency bureau, or designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, a machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals describing research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government; (2) free online public access to such final peer reviewed manuscripts or published versions not later than 12 months after the official date of publication.
Alongside the federal spending legislation, there were references included in accompanying reports (see Departments of Commerce, Justice, Science report at p. 30 and Department of Interior report at p. 32) that point to President Obama’s Directive requiring agencies to increase access to the results of federally funded scientific research. The appropriations language passed for 2014 and 2015 echoes the language of the White House Directive, issued in February 2013. It directs “Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research.” The agency plans were due in August 2013, and according to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), all agencies have submitted at least a draft plan (PDF). Those plans are now being reviewed by OSTP.
Progress has been slow, but public access to publicly funded research remains on the table in the United States.
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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:
- Publications Are Discoverable and Accessible Online. Publications will be deposited in a specified repository(s) with proper tagging of metadata.
- 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.
- Foundation Will Pay Necessary Fees. The foundation would pay reasonable fees required by a publisher to effect publication on these terms.
- 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.
- 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.3 Comments »
Leicester City Council is the first local government authority in the United Kingdom (UK) to provide 84 community schools with blanket permission to openly license their educational resources. The council is recommending that school staff use the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to share materials created in the course of their work. The Council has also released guidance and practical information for school staff on using and creating open educational resources (OER).
As part of Josie Fraser’s (ICT Strategy Lead, Leicester City Council) work with the council, she leads on a citywide project to raise school staff skills and confidence in using technology to support teaching, learning, and school community development. The project has surveyed staff across the city to identify strengths and gaps in their use of technologies and digital resources. While the results on the whole have been very positive, the survey identified that school staff knowledge about OER and open licensing is very limited.
In response to this, Josie worked with Björn Haßler and Helen Neo (from the University of Cambridge) to create accessible OER schools guidance and practical resources for schools on finding, attributing, remixing, creating, and sharing CC licensed resources. School staff were invited to participate in the development of the resources, by review and discussion, and by taking part in pilot workshops for school staff and leaders.
“The response to the guidance has been very positive, with schools keen to raise the profile of excellent work being produced through the use of Creative Commons licenses. Schools want to raise staff knowledge in relation to copyright and open licensing, and see the classroom modelling of good practice in using and accrediting resources as important for their learners.”
– Josie Fraser
Schools routinely make use of web-based resources to support their learners, but don’t routinely benefit from the range of openly shared resources available if they aren’t aware of open licensing. The permission and guidance are designed to work together in raising awareness about CC licenses and OER, and support schools in promoting the work they are doing by sharing – enabling them to create, and to connect and collaborate with other educators. At a time when so many resources used in schools are digital, and accessed and shared online, understanding copyright and the role that open licenses play is essential for education professionals.
“Leicester City Council is the first local authority in the UK to provide its school employees with permission to openly license their resources. This is a highly commendable and visionary step. We very much hope that this will inspire other councils and schools to look at how they can also support staff in sharing their work.”
– Dr. Björn Haßler, University of Cambridge
Resource packs, which including model policies, guidance and resources for schools, are available at: http://schools.leicester.gov.uk/openeducation. The resources themselves build on existing openly licensed materials, and all new materials are all released under CC BY 4.0 and are available in editable versions for adaptation.
“Open licensing is an important step in making cultural change happen – for educators and learners to benefit from public work, and for schools across the city to move towards open practice. Change will not happen overnight, but the permission and guidance provides a great way for schools to think about how they share and collaborate, and how they would like to take their communities forward.”
- OER Guidance for Schools was commissioned by Leicester City Council, as part of the Council’s award winning digital literacy school staff development project, DigiLit Leicester.
- The OER Guidance resources were produced by Björn Haßler, Helen Neo, and Josie Fraser, and are available under CC BY 4.0.
- For further information please contact Josie Fraser (email@example.com) or Björn Haßler (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Last month, I had the honour of providing a keynote address and two workshops at a teacher conference at Northcote College1, on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand.
Like many schools, Northcote is in the process of developing an overarching digital citizenship policy for staff, students, and the wider community. This policy is likely to include – alongside other issues like safety, privacy, research and integrity – a commitment to Creative Commons licensing.
If Northcote College does adopt a Creative Commons policy, they will join between fifty and one hundred New Zealand schools that have decided to formally give permission for teachers to share resources using a Creative Commons licence, with a preference for CC BY and CC BY-SA.
The policy is designed to address the fact that, under Section 21 of the 1994 Copyright Act, the first owner of copyright works made by New Zealand teachers in the course of their employment is their employer – namely, the schools governance board, known as the ‘Board of Trustees’ (BoT).
This means that teachers who share resources they make are legally infringing the school’s copyright – even when they are sharing with other teachers in the New Zealand state education system.
We’re advocating two solutions to this problem. First, we think every school in New Zealand’s pre-tertiary education system – all 2,500 of them – should pass a Creative Commons policy. This policy allows – and encourages – teachers to share their resources with other teachers under a Creative Commons licence.
Second, we think that teachers should adopt practices of finding, adapting, and sharing open content into their workflow. This will give teachers more confidence and flexibility when re-using third-party resources, and provide more resources for other teachers to build on and reuse.
We’ve been working at this for a couple of years now, spreading the word to the many groups working in the sector, including teachers, principals, Boards of Trustees, unions, disciplinary associations, public agencies, and other NGOs.
It’s been a long campaign, but we’re starting to make real progress. We’re giving an average of forty talks and workshops per year to the education sector, and we’re currently looking for ways to scale this work to meet the needs of every school in the country. This will become increasingly important as new resource sharing platforms – such as the crown-owned Network for Learning’s Pond – begin to take off.
The other challenge is to follow the lead of other CC affiliates, such as Poland, and help open up works produced or contracted by the Ministry of Education. There are signs that more of these resources will be openly licensed.
The adoption of open policy in schools coincides with similar moves in the local heritage and research sectors, and follows the continuing integration of CC licensing in central government. While there is still plenty to be done, it appears as if open licensing is on the verge of becoming mainstream across New Zealand’s public institutions – which is definitely good news for the global commons.Comments Off on Creative Commons policies grow in New Zealand schools
On Monday California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 609–the California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act. The law requires that research articles created with funds from the California Department of Public Health be made publicly available in an online repository no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. AB 609 is described as the first state-level law requiring free access to publicly funded research. It is similar to the federal National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy. The bill has been making its way through the California legislature since being introduced by Assemblyman Brian Nestande in February 2013. Nestande’s office announced the passage yesterday.
The law applies to grantees who receive research funds from the Department of Public Health, and those grantees are responsible for ensuring that any publishing or copyright agreements concerning manuscripts submitted to journals fully comply with AB 609. For an article accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, the grantee must ensure that an electronic version of the peer-reviewed manuscript is available to the department and on an appropriate publicly accessible database approved by the department within 12 months of publication in the journal.
Congratulations to California, the leadership of Assemblyman Nestande, and the coalition of open access supporters who worked hard to make this law a reality.Comments Off on California enacts law to increase public access to publicly funded research
Yesterday at the United Nations, President Barack Obama marked the Open Government Partnership‘s (OGP) third anniversary by announcing that in addition to the commitments outlined in the current U.S. OGP National Action Plan, “The United States will take additional steps to make our government more open, transparent, and accessible for all Americans.”
Among the multiple new commitments: “Promote open educational resources, to help teachers and students everywhere.”
The multi-pronged commitment to promote OER is described as the first item in the updated National Action Plan Commitments document (638 KB PDF):
Creative Commons licenses put the “open” in OER and we stand ready to work with governments everywhere who wish to update their OGP National Action Plans with commitments to support Open Educational Resources, Open Access, Open Data and Open Policies that require publicly funded resources be openly licensed.
Last week the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced that it is extending its open licensing policy to require that all content (such as reports, videos, white papers) resulting from project grant funds be licensed under the most recent Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. From the Foundation’s blog post: “We’re making this change because we believe that this kind of broad, open, and free sharing of ideas benefits not just the Hewlett Foundation, but also our grantees, and most important, the people their work is intended to help.” The change is explained in more detail on the foundation’s website.
The foundation had a long-standing policy requiring that recipients of its Open Educational Resources grants license the outputs of those grants; this was instrumental in the creation and growth of the OER field, which continues to flourish and spread. Earlier this year, the license requirement was extended to all Education Program grants, and as restated, the policy will now be rolled out to all project-based grants under any foundation program. The policy is straightforward: it requires that content produced pursuant to a grant be made easily available to the public, on the grantee’s website or otherwise, under the CC BY 4.0 license — unless there is some good reason to use a different license.
“When we began thinking about extending the policy from OER grants to the foundation as a whole, we wanted to be sure we would not be creating unforeseen problems,” said Elizabeth Peters, the general counsel of the Hewlett Foundation. “So we first broadened it to cover education grants that were not for OER — and have been pleased to find that there were very few issues, and those few easily resolved. CC BY for all grant-funded works will now be the default, but we are willing to accommodate grantees who have a persuasive reason to take a different path. The ultimate goal of this policy is to make the content we fund more openly available to everyone. We’re only just beginning to implement this change, and will continue to monitor how it’s working, but so far we have found most grantees are ready and willing to apply the license that makes their works fully open for re-use of all kinds.”
In practice, the new policy means that nearly all of the extensive content produced with Hewlett project-based grant funds–not only works specifically commissioned as Open Educational Resources, but scholarly research, multimedia materials, videos, white papers, and more, created by grantees on subjects of critical importance–will be widely available for downstream re-use with only the condition that the creator is attributed. Text will be openly available for translation into foreign languages, and high-quality photographs and videos will be able to be re-used on platforms such as Wikipedia. Releasing grant funded content under permissive open licenses like CC BY means that these materials can be more easily shared and re-used by the public. And they can be combined with other resources that are also published under an open license: this collection grows larger every day as governments and other publicly-facing institutions adopt open policies. Promoting this type of sharing can benefit both the original creator and the foundation, as it enables novel uses in situations not intended by the original grant funding.
For a long time Creative Commons has been interested in promoting open licensing policies within philanthropic grantmaking. We received a grant from the Hewlett Foundation to survey the licensing policies of private foundations, and to work toward increasing the free availability of foundation-supported works. We wrote about the progress of the project in March, and we’ve been maintaining a list of foundation IP policies, and a model IP policy.
We urge other foundations and funding bodies to emulate the outstanding leadership demonstrated by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and commit to making open licensing an essential component of their grantmaking strategy.Comments Off on Hewlett Foundation extends CC BY policy to all grantees
Creative Commons and the Open Policy Network are pleased to announce the first round of fellows for the Institute for Open Leadership. The Institute is a training program to develop new leaders in education, science, public policy, and other fields on the values and implementation of openness in licensing, policies, and practices. We received over 90 applications from around the world and representing a broad diversity of fields. Here are the fellows for this year.
- Dairo Alexander Escobar Ardila; Instituto Humboldt – SiB Colombia; Bogotá, Colombia
- David Ernst; University of Minnesota; St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
- Eric Phetteplace; California College of the Arts; Oakland, California, USA
- Fátima Silva São Simão; UPTEC – Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto; Porto, Portugal
- Georgia Angelaki, National Documentation Center/Hellenic Research Institute; Athens, Greece
- Jagadish Chandra Aryal; Social Science Baha; Kathmandu, Nepal
- Jane Gilvin; National Public Radio; Washington, D.C., USA
- Julian Carver; Land Information New Zealand; Christchurch, New Zealand
- Klaudia Grabowska; Polish History Museum; Warsaw, Poland
- Mohamud Ahmed Rage; Ministry of Higher Education & Culture, Somalia; Mogadishu, Somalia
- Nasir Khan; Management Information Services, Directorate General of Health Services, Bangladesh; Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Paul UE Blackman; Barbados Community College; St. Michael, Barbados
- Vincent Kizza; Open Learning Exchange Uganda; Kampala, Uganda
- Werner Westermann Juarez; Instituto Profesional Providencia, Santiago, Chile
The in-person portion of the Institute will take place in San Francisco, California in January 2015. The fellows will be develop, refine, and work to implement a capstone open policy project. The point of this project is for the fellow to transform the concepts learned at the Institute into a practical, actionable, and sustainable initiative within her/his institution.
Congratulations to the fellows, and thank you to all the applicants.Comments Off on Announcing the Institute for Open Leadership Fellows
WindTech TV, a collection of wind turbine technician training materials and simulation modules, is now available under a CC BY license. Developed as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education project, WindTech TV’s modules are aligned with industry standards and designed to be integrated into two-year college wind technology programs to sustain workforce development in the field of wind power.
Modules are currently being used by community colleges across the United States, and Principal Investigator Phil Pilcher wants to expand that impact through reuse by other grantees, including those part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.
“WindTechTV has always been free, but we think that the CC BY license will increase usage. One of our project goals is to disseminate the materials nationwide. The CC license lets instructors and administrators know that they can use our videos as they wish when they are developing and delivering courses. Also, TAACCCT grantees who are working on alternative energy courses will now be able to reuse our video content, which should speed up development.”
RelatedComments Off on NSF grantee opens up wind technology training materials for fellow grantees
Today we’re excited to announce the launch of the Open Policy Network. The Open Policy Network, or OPN for short, is a coalition of organizations and individuals working to support the creation, adoption, and implementation of policies that require that publicly funded resources are openly licensed resources. The website of the Open Policy Network is http://openpolicynetwork.org.
Increasingly, governments around the world are sharing huge amounts of publicly funded research, data, and educational materials. The key question is, do the policies governing the procurement and distribution of publicly funded materials ensure the maximum benefits to the citizens those policies are meant to serve? When open licenses are required for publicly funded resources, there is the potential to massively increase access to and reuse of a wide range of materials, from educational content like digital textbooks, to the results of scholarly research, to troves of valuable public sector data. The $2 billion U.S. Department of Labor TAACCCT grant program is an example of a policy whereby publicly funded education and training materials are being made available broadly under an open intellectual property license.
There is a pressing need for education, advocacy, and action to see a positive shift in supporting open licensing for publicly funded materials. The Open Policy Network will share information amongst its members, recruit new advocates, and engage with policymakers worldwide. The OPN members are diverse in content area expertise and geographic location. Creative Commons is a part of the Open Policy Network because we believe that the public deserves free access and legal reuse to the the resources it funds. With simple policy changes — such as requiring publicly-funded works be openly licensed and properly marked with easy-to-understand licensing information — the public will be better able to take advantage of their rights to access and reuse the digital materials developed with taxpayer funds.
With today’s launch of the Open Policy Network, we’re announcing our first project, the Institute for Open Leadership. Through a weeklong summit with experts, accepted fellows will get hands-on guidance to develop a capstone project for implementation in their organization or institution. The Institute for Open Leadership will help train new leaders in education, science, and public policy fields on the values and implementation of openness in licensing, policies, and practices.Comments Off on Launch of the Open Policy Network