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

Timothy Vollmer, November 21st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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State of the Commons

Ryan Merkley, November 20th, 2014

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

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

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

Please help us spread the word about this groundbreaking report.

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

Support Creative Commons

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SciDataCon 2014 Recap

Puneet Kishor, November 16th, 2014

scidatacon
Photo by Puneet Kishor published under CC0 Public Domain Dedication

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

scidatacon-tdm
Photo by Puneet Kishor published under CC0 Public Domain Dedication

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

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

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

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

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Finnish translation of 4.0 published

Kat Walsh, November 12th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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


Read CC Finland’s announcement.

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The Voyager Golden Record

Puneet Kishor, November 8th, 2014

Voyager Golden Record Cover Explanation

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

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

Voyager by Lily

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

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

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

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CC in a world of worthy causes

Ryan Merkley, November 6th, 2014

Creative Commons wasn’t done after we created our first license suite, or even after hundreds of millions of licensed works were shared. The web is changing — and so are the ways we get, share, and use content — so we’re trying new things.

One new idea is our mobile app, The List, supported by a prototype grant from the Knight Foundation. The List app will allow users to make lists of wanted images, or submit requested photos to a global archive of images, all licensed CC BY. We’ll release a public beta in the next few months.

We’re also still active in areas where we can make a huge difference, like open educational resources (OER). We’ve been helping foundations and governments adopt open policies and exploring new ways of licensing scientific data. Teachers and learners everywhere — from Kenya to Canada — are reaping rewards of shared information and knowledge, with huge savings.

All of that work, old and new, is supported by a small team, and a lot of inspired supporters and volunteer advocates, including more than 100 affiliate teams in 75 countries. Our licenses have become the global standard for legal sharing, and they underpin many of the most well-known media platforms on the web.

If Creative Commons plays a role in how you use the internet or share your work, please consider making a gift to support the organization. Our licenses are (and will remain) free, so developing a stable funding stream to support sharing has always been a challenge. A generous — but small — group of individual donors has always supported us. Let’s grow that number and work together to build a better internet and world.

As you’re considering which charities to support this year, please take a moment to reflect on what we’ve built together these past 12 years, and the challenges we face in copyright reform, open access, and building an open web for everyone to learn and create.

In a world of worthy causes, it’s our job to demonstrate the value of CC to individuals, governments, institutions, and corporations. And especially to you.

Please support us and help us spread the word.

Sincerely,
Ryan

PS: In a few weeks, we’ll be releasing information about the state of the commons — our most accurate assessment to date. Watch for it.

Support Creative Commons

 

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CC Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting Held in Seoul

Soohyun Pae, November 5th, 2014

CCKorea
CCKorea / CC BY

Representatives from CC affiliates in Asia and the Pacific were once again hosted by CC Korea for the CC Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting this year. Asia-Pacific CC affiliates have a regular face-to-face meeting every two years to share their experience and know-how, to discuss common issues, and to seek opportunities for collaboration. Last September, 13 representatives from CC affiliate teams in China Mainland, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Mongolia, and South Korea came all the way to Seoul for this rare opportunity to get inspired by each other and meet Ryan Merkley, new CEO of Creative Commons, whom many of them met in person for the first time.

This year’s regional meeting was held in conjunction with the 3rd CC Korea Conference, “Share Everything, Connect Everything.” Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, opened the event with an inspiring keynote speech on sharing and the commons attended by more than 200 people from various fields including government, business and academia. Around the three main themes of Creativity, Sharing City, and Civic Hacking, insightful presentations were given by various local and international speakers including Todd Porter, Co-founder of FabCafe and Hal Seki from Code for Japan. As the closing session, Won-soon Park, Mayor of Seoul City, and Jay Yoon, Project Lead of CC Korea, discussed how we could shape our future with sharing and cooperation.

Following the successful conference on the first day, the CC affiliate representatives sat down together for a full-day meeting dedicated to the discussion of internal issues, from individual activities to regional and global cooperation. After a round of warm greetings to each other, each presented not only their success stories but also exchanged experiences in projects that did not turn out as they had expected, focusing on what they could improve and how they could do better in the future. Challenges faced by teams varied from fundraising to support and sustain their activities to restructuring their volunteer community. Discussion revolved around how to address these by facilitating regional collaboration both among individual affiliates and with CC headquarters in California.

After a lunchtime walk along the Cheonggye stream, Ryan Merkley joined the group to share CC’s new vision and strategies and solicit feedback from the participants. Generally participants were glad for his willingness to share and to engage more closely with affiliates, welcoming opportunities to contribute and work more closely on various fronts. A theme of the day was ways that CC could collaborate and engage more actively with global affiliates on specific projects such as conducting research, developing tools to improve usability of CC licenses and reuse of CC-licensed content, etc. Some representatives also pointed out that more practical support from CC such as toolkits and resource repositories would be useful, especially for teams who are new or restructuring. Regional activities, such as the creation of a regional website and combining efforts in popular areas such as education, were also important part of the day’s agendas.

The meeting was followed by a CC Salon, held as a wrap-up event of the whole program at a cozy book cafe down an alleyway, away from the noise and bustle of the Hongdae area. Conference speakers, CC Asia-Pacific representatives, and members and friends of CC Korea were all invited to meet old and new friends, try different traditional beverages brought by the participating CC representatives, and get inspired by interesting ignite talks ranging from a fantastic dance performance by Muid Latif from CC Malaysia to Ryan’s “20 things I love from the commons” and a 3rd-grader girl’s talk about her coding projects.

CC Korea would like to once again thank all representatives who participated and hopes that this could lead to more cooperation in the region and beyond.

For more details, see post-conference resources, including videos, all available under CC licenses. You can also read about the previous regional meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012.


bssmile / CC BY 3.0

The thoughts below are from Muid Latif, Project Lead of CC Malaysia:

Visiting Seoul is life-changing experience. As a creative person, each turn you take around the city gives a perfect visual story-telling of its culture and economic progress. Since I was very familiar to the design community in Korea through Behance Network and Creative City project curated by Jackson Tan (Singapore) this year in conjunction of Kaohsiung Design Festival, I was introduced to amazing designers like Yoon Hyup and the talented Na Kim who I had the privilege to meet in September this year in Penang, Malaysia.

I was blown away by the amount of art galleries located in each district. I could easily be overwhelmed by so much talent. It shows how organised and cultured Koreans are in accepting creativity as a part of their daily routine.

While I was in Seoul, attending the CC Korea International Conference provided me with such an insightful experience to know how enthusiastic creators are in ensuring citizen could access better, organised public information and allowing transparency of the government, through projects like CodeNamu. And Randomwalks, for example, amplified various media and data and turned it into phenomenal info-graphics, as shown in Sey Min’s presentation and demonstration. An aspiring young girl named Hannah enlightened us about the best creative way to have fun by creating DIY ear-folding rabbit and a fun wrist-band. I also had the chance to do a contemporary dance performance during the CC Salon featuring music of DD.85′s ‘Adaptation’.

It’s more extraordinary to learn that Koreans take seriously into sharing culture thus seeing Creative Commons as a medium to empower their creations. From sharing innovation of technology through open source, mobile apps and web-based programmes are easily accessible to all. It facilitates greater alternative in cost-saving, and yet at the same time, some generous users would donate through PayPal as part of their appreciation. This is what CC is catered for its content users, the power to appreciate and attribute. The support does not only stop there, a local renowned KPOP artist expresses interest in offering to become an ambassador of CC Korea to increase more awareness. This is indeed admirable and I see that other CC affiliates could adapt and follow the same strategy to advance CC movement into the next level. If people would ask me, what’s the next big thing for CC? Well, this is it.

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Leicester City Council gives permission to 84 schools to create and share OER

Cable Green, November 3rd, 2014


Leicester City Council / CC BY 4.0

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.

Josie concludes:

“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.”

Links:

Related: Creative Commons policies grow in New Zealand schools

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Sketchfab announces CC licensing; Microsoft, HTC, and British Museum early adopters

Elliot Harmon, October 30th, 2014

Sketchfab – an awesome website for sharing 3D models – just unveiled an option to make files downloadable. All of the files marked for download are available under Creative Commons licenses, including those from some big players like HTC, Microsoft, the British Museum and celebrated designer Francis Bitonti.

From the announcement:

This makes Sketchfab not only the best and easiest way to publish and embed a 3D file, but also a great place to find and use 3D content – for example for 3D printing, to build video games or VR experiments – or just to share and collaborate privately on 3D designs. Any user can now chose to publish 3D content for display only, or for display and download under Creative Commons licenses.

[…]

This launch comes with another important milestone: more than 200,000 3D files have been uploaded on the platform so far, making Sketchfab one of the largest repositories of 3D content, and the leading platform to publish and embed interactive 3D models. We want to thank all of our users for that, we are proud to be home for your work. This milestone, combined with our new download option, is strengthening our position as The place to be for 3D files.

Sketchfab co-founder Alban Denoyel told us that his team knew from the start that they wanted to use CC licenses rather than create a new license for model use. “As soon as we started looking into adding a download option on Sketchfab, we wanted to find a legal framework to cover the way people could use the files, and CC was top of mind as the perfect solution to do that.”

And did the high-profile users like Microsoft and HTC have any qualms about CC? Not really, says Alban. “We had a pretty straightforward approach, exposing our plans of enabling download under CC, and asking if they were in or not. No special concerns were raised, they quickly jumped in!”

Congratulations, Sketchfab!

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CC Science’s Indian November

Puneet Kishor, October 28th, 2014

india2014We are in New Delhi and Mumbai for a number of presentations, workshops and meetings. Please come say hello if you are at these events or in the area.

SciDataCon2014 in New Delhi

The International Conference on Data Sharing and Integration for Global Sustainability (SciDataCon) is motivated by the conviction that the most research challenges cannot be addressed without attending to issues relating to research data essential to all scientific endeavors. However, several cultural and technological challenges are still preventing the research community from realizing the full benefits of progress in open access and sharing. CODATA and WDS, interdisciplinary committees of the International Council for Science (ICSU) are co-sponsoring and organizing a high profile international biennial conference at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Nov 2: A day long Text and data mining (TDM) workshop offered in collaboration with ContentMine

TDM is an important scientific technique for analyzing large corpora of articles used to uncover both existing and new insights in unstructured data sets that typically are obtained programmatically from many different sources. While the science and technology TDM is complex enough, its legal complications are equally dizzying. Not only is its legal status unclear at best, it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction making cross-national collaboration difficult. Besides the license status of the original material, contractual agreements between research institutions and publishers, who are often the gatekeepers of the corpora, can create significant hurdles. The workshop offers an introduction to TDM, presenting the legal considerations through hands-on exercises.

Nov 3: How well is the data chain working?

Effective and efficient application of scientific data for the benefit of humanity entails agreed goals, clear and reproducible methods, and transparent communication throughout the data chain from producer to user via data organizer and research publisher. How well is that working? A Panel Discussion at the close of each day will summarise that day’s conclusions, and respond to the question of how well the data chain may be working from a trio of perspectives: Conference Organizer, data-management expert, and data producer.

Nov 5: Citing Data to Facilitate Multidisciplinary Research

Synthesis Data Citation Principles and Their Implications for TDM: Importance, Credit and Attribution, Evidence, Unique Identification, Access, Persistence, Specificity and Verifiability, and Interoperability and Flexibility: these eight important phrases describe the data citation principles agreed upon by the community and published under a joint declaration and endorsed by 185 individuals and 83 organizations. But, what are the implications of these principles beyond just citation, particularly with respect to automated analysis of large corpus of articles? This presentation will briefly present the principles, and then explore some of the issues that we have to come to grips with in order to make text and data mining (TDM) easy for scientists.

Nov 5: Challenges and Benefits of Open Science Data and International Data Sharing

Maximizing Legal Interoperability Through Open Licenses: Many scientists do think about interoperability as they have to work with colleagues from other domains. However, common interoperability efforts are focused on technical, and if we are lucky, semantic interoperability. Rarely do scientists think of legal interoperability in the design of their science experiments. Can my work be legally mixed with someone else’s work without violating any intellectual property (or worse, privacy and security) laws? Is my work portable across not just scientific domains but also across judicial boundaries? We attempt to shed light on some of these questions in this presentation.

Nov 5: Talk on CC/OKF open science activities to be given at the computer science dept., Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi

Jenny Molloy, OKFN Open Science and I will be introducing the young computer science students at IIT-Delhi on the various open science and data activities around the world. This talk is organized by Prof. Aaditeshwar Seth, Computer Science, IIT-Delhi.

Nov 6-8: Meetings on citizen science and sensors at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Mumbai

HBCSE at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai is a National Center with the broad goals to promote equity and excellence in science and mathematics education from primary school to undergraduate college level, and encourage the growth of scientific literacy in the country. We will be discussing with HBCSE’s metaStudio potential areas of collaboration in citizen science and the use of sensors in projects to accelerate the growth of scientific awareness in the country through direct public participation in science.

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