Commons News

MapWorks Learning combines OER and open data to protect threatened biodiversity

Billy Meinke, August 28th, 2014

Mangrove forests have been described by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the world’s most threatened tropical ecosystems. In an effort to protect and raise awareness around this problem, MapWorks Learning launched the first of what they plan to make an annual Mapathon for ecological preservation and learning. The inaugural event engaged schools, universities, and environmental groups around the world to document the health and well being of mangrove populations using the Mapping the Mangroves tool.

Screenshot 2014-08-21 14.45.03

The Mapping the Mangroves (MTM) toolkit is a project originally funded by Qatar Foundation International, and is now a keystone project of MapWorks Learning. MTM uses a mapping application built on the open source Ushahidi software platform, relying on crowdsourcing to collect geographic and descriptive data about mangrove forests. The project’s reporting system allows anyone to submit a report about mangrove forests, describing the area’s biodiversity and pairing it with geographic coordinates and other sensor data. The data are then displayed on an interactive map on the project’s homepage, with all reports searchable and explorable by geographic region and other habitat or report traits. The data are freely available for download and licensed under a CC0 Public Domain Dedication, too.

The MTM project is supporting the development of OER curriculum introducing learners to mangrove forest ecosystems, basic species identification, and explaining how they can take part in the monitoring and protection of forests around the world. The toolkit’s learning material is available under a CC BY-NC-ND license on OER Commons.

To find out more about MapWorks Learning and their upcoming Mapathons see mapworkslearning.org, visit them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
mtm_logo

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The 2nd OER Summer Camp on Luxi Island of CC China Mainland

Jane Park, August 27th, 2014

The following is a guest post by LIUPing, members of the CC China Mainland Affiliate team and the School of Open community. Below is a description of the 2nd CC China Mainland open educational resources (OER) summer camp (30th June to 8th July 2014) for the children of Luxi Island, a remote island off the coast of China.

Why did we have the 2nd OER Summer Camp?

The summer of 2013 was special for the CC China Mainland team, Wenzhou Medical University and Guokr.com. These three parties co-hosted OER summer camp which was successfully initiated on Luxi Island. For Wenzhou Medical University, the summer camp has already been a part of its routine volunteering activities for five consecutive years. But it’s the first time for them to connect such a camp with the CC China Mainland Project. The latter, to their surprise, brought something fresh this time; a real world OER activity in rural China took shape.

The first OER summer camp received great feedback, not only from volunteers of Wenzhou Medical University that participated, but from the officials of Luxi Island, and more importantly, from the students of Luxi Public School.

Can we create some OER courses?

The first successful but not flawless camp greatly encouraged us to hold the second one. We thought there was a lot of room for improvement, especially that more CC-licensed OER should be included. In addition to OER available online, we wondered if we could make some interesting online courses ourselves for the kids within our reach. And based on feedback, “How to make herbarium” was regarded as the most interesting course during the first camp.

“We hope to make a difference,” said volunteers from Wenzhou Medical University. “why not make some courses based on our knowledge as medical students? We believe that would be more interesting and flexible.”

What courses did we create?

All preparations went smoothly by volunteers, days before the launch of the camp. Wenzhou Medical University’s student center, which provides opportunities for students to start small businesses within the campus, happened to have a photography studio. Undoubtedly, it was chosen to be our “OER course studio” for making videos of the courses. About 12 volunteers participated and 16 different courses were recorded, of which 14 were used, including:

1. The introduction of traffic signs (video)

2. Comprehensive water treatment, namely sewage treatment, flood prevention, drainage, water supply and water saving. The course was concentrated on how to identify water quality (video)

Comprehensive water treatment
ZHU Renkai / CC BY

3. Interesting Japanese language (video)

Interesting Japanese language
WANG Hongying / CC BY

4. Traditional Chinese handwork: stamp, tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty and blue and white porcelain. The courses teach students aged from 11-13, on how to create this handwork.

Traditional China handwork
WAN Yu / CC BY

5. Interesting Traditional Chinese Medicine: introduce some basic knowledge about TCM, which is relevant to students daily lives. (video)

Interesting Traditional Chinese Medicine
WANG Hongying / CC BY

6. Interesting history: the introduction of some historical events which had significant impact on China. (video)

Interesting history
ZHU Renkai / CC BY

7. Presentation skills: How to give a presentation or host an event. How to present yourself in front of people with confidence. (video)

8. Course for senior citizens on the island: including some basic knowledge of labor contract if any of their family members are immigrant workers in other provinces; living knowledge such as why some vegetables can’t be cooked together, etc. (video)

Course for seniors in the island
WANG Hongying / CC BY

9. Pink ribbon: the course was designed for females on the island by Wenzhou Medical University volunteers. The presenter is a Clinical Medicine Science major student; she introduces relevant knowledge of breast cancer, including how to prevent it from happening. (video)

Pink ribbon
YANG Jiayi / CC BY

10. Muscle-bone strengthening exercise: Through proper adjustment in human body and correct method for breath (muscle, bone etc.), the exercise can help to improve blood circulation and the functions of internal organs of the body (heart, spleen, liver, lungs and kidneys). (video)

11. Interesting Oral English: Mr. Percy provides kids with some simple and easy oral English. (video)

12. MOOC from Guokr: How to select good quality fruit. A specially designed course for kids (link)

Feedback from Participants of the 2nd Luxi Summer Camp

Students’ comments on the OER summer camp:

CHEN Xinhao, Grade One:

We had many different courses, and learnt a lot from our teachers. Besides, discipline plays a big role in our classes. I learnt how to be strong, even if being injured, I didn’t cry. Teachers cared us a lot and we can feel the love from their hearts. Maybe next time, we can have more classified courses based on our exiting knowledge. I sincerely hope that they can come again; we really like all these teachers.

CHEN Yanjie, Grade Four:

I enjoyed my stay with teachers, from their daily lives, I learnt how to be strong, independent and insistent on my dreams. Teachers gave us so many supports and encouragement. Same time, I got to know my weak points and believe that I can always do better. I really hope they can come and visit us next summer, by binging knowledge and happiness. I like my teachers.

MIAO Xiaoting, Grade Four:

Though I can’t fully understand the class, I think all classes are great and interesting. Teachers really tried hard to explain us. I like this kind of teaching and will try my best to learn in future. I enjoyed the play time with teachers after class. It’s funny to play games and take photos together. So many unforgettable moments. I hope all of them can come back next summer. I love them! In order to provide us good classed, teachers’ preparation task lasted late at night and got up early in the morning. I hope they can have good rest after back home.

ZHENG Ruize, Grade Six:

One of the important things I learnt from these teachers is always be diligent, humble and hard work. I believe that I can walk out of this island and get to know the world outside. Now I’m on Grade Six, and will be in mid school soon. I think I will work harder in future and let myself become an excellent student with the days to come. I really hope after grow-up, I can back to the island with teacher, to support more kids in this island. I hope all teachers would take good care of themselves. I like them all and look forward to seeing them again with diversified courses.

Volunteers’ comments on OER summer camp:

QIN Xu, age 19, major in Law:

The most impressive thing happened in summer camp is the process of making courses. It’s a very interesting to be a teacher for others. Besides, team work always makes things earlier to proceed and get diversified thoughts on how to do it. Personally, being a teacher in front of so many students in different ages made me overcome the fear in facing a camera, become more confident.

PAN Yixiu, age 19, major in Traditional Chinese Medicine:

After being a volunteer for the summer camp, I understand that when kids made mistakes, the last thing to do is to blame them, but let them know why this is not the right thing to do. Taking a trans-positional consideration always helps in communications. As a teacher, we should encourage, praise them, other than criticize or disappoint them. Only by doing so, they create a new world with more confidence.

LIU Hanzhong, age 19, major in rehabilitation:

This volunteering experience really made me feel that kid’s world is so clean, honest and simple. A fine educational system should concentrate on personality-building, then knowledge-teaching.


About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run online courses, offline workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a peer learning community for developing and running free online courses.

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CC Salon in San Francisco: Public Domain FTW!

Elliot Harmon, August 26th, 2014


Source photo: Philipp Henzler, CC0

RSVP on Eventbrite
RSVP on Facebook

September 9, 2014
6:30 – 8:30 PM Pacific time
General Assembly, 501 Folsom St (1st and Folsom)
San Francisco, CA 94105
Public Transportation: Close to Embarcadero BART, Montgomery BART, or San Francisco Caltrain

Creative Commons, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and General Assembly are excited to announce an salon on Tuesday, September 9. This informal event will be a celebration of the public domain, with discussion on the cool things people are doing with it, why it’s under attack, and what we can do to fight for it. Before and after the discussion, we’ll have computers set up around the space with games from the Public Domain Jam. Public domain for the win!

Speakers

Parker Higgins
EFF activist

Anne Wootton
Pop Up Archive CEO

Ryan Merkley
Creative Commons CEO

Nicky Case
videogame developer

About General Assembly

At General Assembly, we are creating a global community of individuals empowered to pursue work they love, by offering full-time immersive programs, long-form courses, and classes and workshops on the most relevant skills of the 21st century — from web development and user experience design, to business fundamentals, to data science, to product management and digital marketing.

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Wiki Loves Monuments: bringing open to Pakistan

Jessica Coates, August 25th, 2014

Faisal Maseet
Faisal Maseet / Khalid Mahmood / CC BY-SA

Wiki Loves Monuments is one of the most successful free culture events worldwide. A global photo competition organized by local Wikimedia chapters and groups, it has been running since 2010 and has grown larger each year. For 2014, we speak to Saqib Qayyum from Wikimedia Pakistan about how the event will help promote the commons to new communities.

Tell us about Wikimedia in Pakistan, and Pakistan’s open community.

Wikipedia is the 7th most most visited website in Pakistan and is known by the vast majority of the more than 30 million Internet users in the country. Despite having financial and social challenges, Pakistani people are embracing the Internet and the growth rate of internet users is on the rise.

Surprisingly, however, the English language edition of Wikipedia has only a thousand or so registered volunteer editors from Pakistan. When you compare it with the overall number of internet users in the country, this figure is miniscule. The most disappointing fact is that out of those thousand or so registered editors, less than 100 – mostly students – actively contribute to the world’s largest free encyclopedia. The people of Pakistan are not contributing as much to Wikipedia as they should.

The national language Urdu is also underrepresented on the internet and is experiencing an online stagnation. The Urdu edition of Wikipedia has more active editors from India than from Pakistan. There’s a strong need to encourage people to get involved with Wikipedia and push them to collaborate and exchange useful digital materials freely online.

With regards to the open source community in Pakistan, the situation is analogous to that on Wikipedia. Outside of a core group of members of Mozilla Pakistan and Linux Pakistan, the majority of internet users are not familiar with the free culture and open movements. This, in all likelihood, is due to a lack of widespread awareness of the movements.

Even as Pakistan is experiencing a widespread internet penetration amongst the public, unfortunately the country has not yet adapted well to the ideas of free culture and open. Copyright protection in Pakistan is a critical issue and copyright infringement and online piracy has always been a concern. With Wikimedia Pakistan, we can help to raise awareness of the advantages and benefits of having open and free platforms, and the major role this could play in developing our market and economy.

We all need to play our part in ensuring a bright future for the open and free internet. I think the success of the movement globally depends on participation of people from not only the developed countries but also from the Global South.

How did you get involved with the open source and Creative Commons movements?

When I wonder why people are not very interested in open educational resources such as Wikipedia or other movements that promote free and open content, I imagine one factor might be due to the low literacy rate in Pakistan, or the deficiency in human rights educational initiatives in the country.

Many people who know me over the internet assume I am a university student or a professional in the information technology sector, but the fact is I’m actually a college dropout and work part-time in my family-owned manufacturing company and deal with overseas clients. Therefore, I am able to be connected to the internet for most of the time, and am able to keep active on Wikimedia projects as a result. So my devotion to the free culture and open movements isn’t a professional pursuit, but one I indulge in because it is fun.

Many people, and even my family, ask why I’m involved in the Wikimedia movement, as it doesn’t play a role in building my career and is not connected to my line of work. In short, they think I am wasting my time. I disagree. I believe in the free exchange of ideas and knowledge in this ever changing world and vehemently advocate for the principles of collaboration, openness, transparency and consensus which lay the groundwork for innovation and growth.

Since discovering Wikipedia and Creative Commons as a teenager, I have made it a point to actively promote the concept of free knowledge and open content as I believe the free culture movement can bring broad and positive social change in Pakistan.

Right now, I’m involved with the free web-based travel guide project, Wikivoyage, and am planning to publish a travel guide book for Karachi, my hometown, drawing upon materials I and others have contributed to the Creative Commons licensed Wikivoyage project. There is the possibility this could be the first Creative Commons-licensed book in Pakistan.

Lahore Fort

Lahore Fort / M. Umair / CC BY

What is the history of Wiki Loves Monuments?

Wiki Loves Monuments is an international photographic competition held worldwide each year during the month of September, and organised by the volunteer Wikimedia community members. The first Wiki Loves Monuments competition was held in 2010 in the Netherlands as a pilot project. In 2011, it spread to around 18 countries in Europe and more than 170,000 photographs of cultural heritage sites were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the 2011 edition of Wiki Loves Monuments broke the world record for being the largest photography competition in the world. In 2012, the competition was organised on much bigger scale and extended beyond Europe, with a total of 35 participating countries and more than 363,000 photographs were contributed by more than 15,000 participants from around the globe. Last year, the Wiki Loves Monuments competition was held across six continents including Antarctica and had official participation from more than fifty countries.

What do you hope to achieve with the Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan competition?

Wiki Loves Monuments is one of the most successful initiatives of the Wikimedia movement. Over the past three years, more than 15,000 people, who have never contributed to Wikimedia projects, participated in Wiki Loves Monuments for the first time.

With Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan, I’m trying to encourage people in Pakistan to contribute to Wikipedia and motivate them to use Creative Commons licensing. It takes a lot of time and energy to edit an article on Wikipedia, but it’s pretty simple, fun and easy to take a photograph and upload it.

I believe once people participate in Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan they will eventually start to contribute to Wikipedia, which is amongst the most successful products of the open and free internet. Thus, they will eventually come to learn about the concept of a free culture movement. Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan, in my opinion is the best, quickest and easiest way to introduce the free culture movement to the country. I think Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan will bring a change in mindset of Pakistani people as to how they see the Internet. It will also spread awareness of free licensing and copyright amongst the people and will hopefully encourage a change in the mindset that knowledge should be freely accessible to anyone that we all should play our part to make this possible.

Why is Creative Commons licensing important to the competition?

Creative Commons is central to the competition in the same sense that it is important to the world’s largest encyclopedia Wikipedia, the most-used search engine on the web Google, and the largest and popular photograph database Flickr. I don’t think there’s really a good reason why one shouldn’t use Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons licenses were specifically designed for creative works and photography is a creativity, an art. It gives freedom for sharing information and knowledge and aims to encourage creative sharing. Many professional photographers in Pakistan might feel uncomfortable about releasing their photographs under a free license but it’s worthwhile to release at least part of your work under a Creative Commons license. Even a small part would work and be more than enough.

The Creative Commons license provides an easy and flexible way to share, and enable reuse of, photographs which enables maximum public exposure, at no cost, for both the photographer and their work. Creative Commons licensing also gives the photographer control on how they want to distribute their works whilst still receiving credit for the work.

How do people get involved?

Participating in Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan is really straightforward. Lists of eligible sites to be photographed have been made available online on Wikipedia. All you need to do is register an account on the Wikimedia Commons media repository, choose the sites from the list to photograph, take photographs of your chosen sites and upload the photographs to Wikimedia Commons. That’s it!

By getting involved in the competition you are helping to document Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage for current and future generations, and helping to contribute towards the expansion of free knowledge for all. Additionally, by participating in the Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan competition, you may be eligible to win a fantastic cash prize and even become part of a growing community that believes in making knowledge freely available to all.

The Wiki Loves Monuments Pakistan website gives detailed instructions on how one can participate. I’m very excited to welcome everyone to participate in the first edition of the Pakistani competition; whether you’re a professional or amateur photographer or someone who has never engaged in photography before.

Wiki Love Monuments Pakistan launches on 1 September. To find out about Wiki Loves Monuments in your country, check out the 2014 website.

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A new course on Open Research at the School of Open

Jane Park, August 25th, 2014

The following is a guest post by Beck Pitt, researcher at the Open University’s OER Research Hub. We are collaborating with Beck and her team to investigate attitudes towards sharing educational resources online and the impact of School of Open courses.

Are you curious about what it means to research openly and what benefits it could have? Interested in how you can be open and ethical when conducting research? Wondering how openness could help raise the profile of your research? Thinking about the benefits of sharing reflections on your research?

The award-winning, Hewlett Foundation-funded OER Research Hub based at The Open University (UK) is pleased to announce its very own School of Open course in collaboration with the Peer 2 Peer University and Creative Commons. It opens for sign-up today at https://p2pu.org/en/courses/2377/open-research/.

Over six months in the making and peer-reviewed by the community, this new School of Open course offers the opportunity to explore the concept and practices of open research with participants from around the world. The course has been designed for any researcher who has an interest in utilizing open techniques and practices in their own research.

Join researchers Bea de los Arcos, Rob Farrow, Beck Pitt, and project manager Natalie Eggleston for this four-week course that explores what open research is and the issues involved around it, including: ethics, dissemination, reflection, and evaluation. The course starts Monday, 15 September 2014 and features its very own “Open Research” badge for course completion and participation.

To sign up, simply click the “Start Course” button on the lower left of the course page once you have signed into or registered for a p2pu.org account. Sign-up will remain open through Friday, 12 September.

About the OER Research Hub

The OER Research Hub is an international open research project examining the impact of open educational resources (OER) on learning and teaching practices. It works collaboratively with initiatives, projects and organisations around the world, disseminating its research and curating evidence for the impact of OER on its Impact Map.

About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run online courses, offline workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a peer learning community for developing and running free online courses.

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Announcing the Institute for Open Leadership Fellows

Timothy Vollmer, August 21st, 2014

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.

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Examining deficiencies of and limitations on data sharing

Puneet Kishor, August 18th, 2014

Whether patients, or part of traffic, or exercising or simply walking with one of the behavioral trackers du jour, we are constantly giving data about ourselves and our surroundings to data collecters with few returns. From privacy regulations to bureaucratic barriers to collecting and locking up information just in case it might create monetary value in the future, there are a multitude of barriers between those who collect information and those who want to use it.

With support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), we are launching two projects exploring different aspects that often get in the way of easy sharing of citizen-sourced information.

Sharing v. Privacy

reports

Original image by Puneet Kishor released under a CC0 Public Domain Dedication

In collaboration with the Institute for Human Genetics and EngageUC at UCSF, and Personal Genome Project at Harvard University, we will explore the practical, ethical and legal implications of emphasizing benefits of sharing over the need for privacy at a workshop planned for Spring 2015 in Washington DC. A few of the questions to be tackled at the workshop: What if, instead of emphasizing the imperative of protecting privacy, we emphasized the potential benefits from sharing? Would most patients agree to let their information be shared? more →

Sensored City

inverted-model-of-data-collection

Original image by Puneet Kishor released under a CC0 Public Domain Dedication

Partnering with Manylabs, a San Francisco-based sensor tools and education nonprofit, and Urban Matter, Inc., a Brooklyn-based design studio, and in collaboration with the City of Louisville, Kentucky, and Propeller Health, maker of a mobile platform for respiratory health management, we will design, develop and install a network of sensor-based hardware that will collect environmental information at high temporal and spatial scales and store it in a software platform designed explicitly for storing and retrieving such data.

Further, we will design, create and install a public data art installation that will be powered by the data we collect thereby communicating back to the public what has been collected about them. more →

Silent-Lights

Silent Lights Image © Urban Matter, Inc., used with permission.

Please follow our progress on Sharing v. Privacy and the Sensored City projects, and get in touch with us if you want to learn more.

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Fotopedia closes, but CC-licensed photos live on

Elliot Harmon, August 9th, 2014

Ho Chi Minh City
Trung Dangy / CC BY-NC-SA

If you’re a fan of photo-and-knowledge-sharing community Fotopedia, you’ve likely heard that the site is closing this Sunday, August 10. When Creative Commons heard the news, we contacted Fotopedia to ask if there were some way that we could help save all of the Creative Commons–licensed photos on the site. Now, we’re working together with the staff at Fotopedia to create a new archive of all of that content. At the same time, our friends at Archive Team are creating a copy of the entire Fotopedia website.

Here at CC, we’ve been big fans of Fotopedia for a long time. The site elegantly mixes together content from Flickr, Wikipedia, and other sources in a way that’s only possible thanks to CC licenses. And over the years, Fotopedia developed an amazing community of people curating all of that content into highly entertaining, visually rich albums.

It’s fitting that all of that work will live on in the new archive. Fotopedia has always been a great example of the power of the decentralized web. Just like Fotopedia brought new life to great photos from Flickr, the archive will bring new life to great photos from Fotopedia.

If you’d like to know when the archive is open, subscribe to our mailing list.. If you have any questions, email us at info@creativecommons.org.

Creative Commons salutes Fotopedia for its work as a leader in online content-sharing. We wish Jean-Marie Hullot and his team all the best on their future projects.

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Dozens of organizations tell STM publishers: No new licenses

Timothy Vollmer, August 7th, 2014

The keys to an elegant set of open licenses are simplicity and interoperability. CC licenses are widely recognized as the standard in the open access publishing community, but a major trade association recently published a new set of licenses and is urging its members to adopt it. We believe that the new licenses could introduce unnecessary complexity and friction, ultimately hurting the open access community far more than they’d help.

Today, Creative Commons and 57 organizations from around the world released a joint letter asking the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers to withdraw its model “open access” licenses. The association ostensibly created the licenses to promote the sharing of research in the scientific, technical, and medical communities. But these licenses are confusing, redundant, and incompatible with open access content published under other public licenses. Instead of developing another set of licenses, the signatories urge the STM Association to recommend to its authors existing solutions that will truly promote STM’s stated mission to “ensure that the benefits of scholarly research are reliably and broadly available.” From the letter:

We share a positive vision of enabling the flow of knowledge for the good of all. A vision that encompasses a world in which downstream communicators and curators can use research content in new ways, including creating translations, visualizations, and adaptations for diverse audiences. There is much work to do but the Creative Commons licenses already provide legal tools that are easy to understand, fit for the digital age, machine readable and consistently applied across content platforms.

So, what’s really wrong with the STM licenses? First, and most fundamentally, it is difficult to determine what each license and supplementary license is intended to do and how STM expects them each to be used. The Twelve Points to Make Open Access Licensing Work document attempts to explain its goals, but it is not at all clear how the various legal tools work to meet those objectives.

Second, none of the STM licenses comply with the Open Definition, as they all restrict commercial uses and derivatives to a significant extent. And they ignore the long-running benchmark for Open Access publishing: CC BY. CC BY is used by a majority of Open Access publishers, and is recommended as the optimal license for the publication, distribution, and reuse of scholarly work by the Budapest Open Access Initiative.

Third, the license terms and conditions introduce confusion and uncertainty into the world of open access publishing, a community in which the terminology and concepts utilized in CC’s standardized licenses are fairly well accepted and understood.

Fourth, the STM licenses claim to grant permission to do many things that re-users do not need permission to do, such as describing or linking to the licensed work. In addition, it’s questionable for STM to assume that text and data mining can be regulated by their licenses. Under the Creative Commons 4.0 licenses, a licensor grants the public permission to exercise rights under copyright, neighboring rights, and similar rights closely related to copyright (such as sui generis database rights). And the CC license only applies when at least one of these rights held by the licensor applies to the use made by the licensee. This is important because in some countries, text and data mining are activities covered by an exception or limitation to copyright (such as fair use in the United States), so no permission is needed. Most recently the United Kingdom enacted legislation specifically excepting noncommercial text and data mining from the reach of copyright.

Finally, STM’s “supplementary” licenses, which are intended for use with existing licenses, would only work with CC’s most restrictive license, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (BY-NC-ND). Even then they would have very limited legal effect, since much of what they claim to cover is already permitted by all CC licenses. As a practical matter, these license terms are likely to be very confusing to re-users when used in conjunction with a CC license.

The Creative Commons licenses are the demonstrated global standard for open access publishing. They’re used reliably by open access publishers around the world for sharing hundreds of thousands of research articles. Scholarly publishing presents a massive potential to increase our understanding of science. And creativity always builds on the past, whether it be a musician incorporating samples into a new composition or a cancer researcher re-using data from past experiments in their current work.

But to fully realize innovations in science, technology, and medicine, we need clear, universal legal terms so that a researcher can incorporate information from a variety of sources easily and effectively. The research community can enable these flows of information and promote discoveries by sharing writings, data, and analyses in the public commons. We’ve already built the legal tools to support content sharing. Let’s use them and not reinvent the wheel.

Questions should be directed to press@creativecommons.org.

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Creative Commons announces launch of CC Belarus

Gwen Franck, August 6th, 2014

Creative Commons leaflet
Creative Commons leaflet / Sviatlana Yermakovich / CC BY-SA

Creative Commons is happy to announce the launch of CC Belarus. Youth organization Falanster is now the belarusian Creative Commons affiliate team!

On August 29, the official launch of CC Belarus will take place in Minsk. For now, CC Belarus will focus on the following topics:

  • researching the applicability of Creative Commons licenses in Belarusian legislation
  • connect with foreign teams to exchange experiences
  • organizing open discussions on adding Creative Commons licenses to Belarusian law
  • create a platform to discuss the reform of Belarusian Copyright Law
  • inform the Belarusian public about Creative Commons

Falanster began using Creative Commons licenses on its own sites (falanster.by, pirates.by, drupal-sliot.by), has been hosting meetings to endorse the open source principles, organised the Minsk Open Data Day in 2014, and has hosted several summer courses with lectures and panel discussions about copyright law and necessary reforms. Since 2013, Falanster has been holding Wiki-Days periodically, encouraging participants to add articles and photos to Wikipedia (Belarusian, Russian, English). The team has also been spreading information about Creative Commons through leaflets.

More about the CC Belarus team and contact information

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