Commons News

Affiliate Project Grant Update: Arab World

Meryl Mohan, February 25th, 2014

CC is doing a five week series on the Affiliate Team project grants. Last week, you heard about the exciting events and activties from CC’s African region, and today we are featuring those from the Arab World. You’ll learn about a book about Arabic iconic figures that is first of its kind, videos explaining CC in a simple and exciting format, a book on open technology and media production, and an open source platform for stories of hope and change led by a group of Palestinian rappers and spoken word artists.


Algeria: Arabic Icons
by Meryl Mohan (project lead: Faiza Souici)

CC Algeria is currently finalizing its project agreement. With Faiza Souici as lead, the team will prepare an Arabic book under CC licenses, telling the stories of iconic Arabic figures who have had a positive influences in countries throughout the Arab World. They plan to include as many as 20 participants from the community, each writing about the distinctive personality of his or her country. CC Algeria plans to introduce the book at the next CC Salon.


Lebanon: CC Explained Simply in Arabic
by project lead Maya Zankoul

We’re working on two explainer videos for Creative Commons in Arabic. The first movie explains to people with no background whatsoever what Creative Commons is, how it started, and why there is a strong need for Creative Commons. The second movie is focused on licensing, explaining in Arabic what are the different types of licenses and how they can be used.

Our first movie is ready; you can view it here:

Our second movie is being animated at the moment and will be ready in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here is a screenshot from the movie!


Maya Zankoul / CC BY


Morocco: Creative BookSprint
by Meryl Mohan (project lead: Ahmed Mansour)

CC Morocco is writing a print and online book that will be the first in Arabic language on open source software for multimedia production, remixing, and publication. The title of the book will be “Guide to Free Culture,” or in Arabic “دليل الثقافة الحرة” where they will talk about the broad free culture movement (open source software, open data, OER, etc.) with a focus on Creative Commons licenses and most importantly how to be part of that larger movement by licensing your content using CC.

The project targets media creators in the Arab region by introducing them to the free culture movement and the benefits of CC licenses. In addition, it will be a how-to guide to using open source software in producing and remixing media including audio manipulation and video editing.

Four participating authors from Morocco’s affiliate team will work on the project, and upon its completion, they will continue to update the book with feedback from the community. By collaboratively engaging the local community and sending the resulting book to other local affiliates in the region, others can also use it for future workshops and events. With this initial project, free culture and the CC mission can continue to spread throughout Morocco and the North African region.

The book cover and the website (still under construction) where the book will be available for download and online viewing are here: http://opentaqafa.github.io.

The cover is made of a “remix” of the Glider that represents the hacker subculture and CC license symbols.


Ahmed Mansour / CC0


Palestine, Lebanon: Hope Spoken/Broken: Change in the Eyes of Palestinian Refugees
by project leads Bashar Lubbad and Stefan Larsson

Hope Spoken/Broken is a social innovation project hosted by the Internet Institute and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. The project records stories of hope and change from the Jabalia Refugee Camp in Palestine and invites rappers and spoken word artists to reflect on these stories using hip hop and spoken word poetry. In this project, we will interview Palestinians from different age groups, record their oral histories, and work with rap artists and poets (spoken word artists/lyricists) to turn their true stories into performance pieces for a wider audience. Using digital and social media, we will spread the words, thoughts, and feelings of Palestinians living in the Jabalia Refugee Camp to viewers around the world who would otherwise never hear these stories. Spoken word and hip hop poetry have the unique ability to increase listeners’ empathy. By connecting with poets who live in both Washington D.C. and Palestine as well as with rappers from Sweden, Denmark, and Palestine, we will build an international partnership to create, record, and share an original collection of poems and songs inspired by recorded oral histories from the Jabalia Refugee Camp. Artists (poets and rappers) will attempt to draw parallels between the lives of Palestinian refugees and that of ethnically, socially, politically and economically marginalized groups in the United States, Denmark, and Sweden.

For further information, check out the links below:

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Cookbook in honor of Bassel Khartabil

Elliot Harmon, February 24th, 2014

In honor of Bassel Khartabil and Free Bassel Day, artist Niki Korth is putting together a #freebassel cookbook. Bassel, a free software activist and leader of the Syrian Creative Commons community, has been in prison since 2012. In Niki’s words:

The #FreeBassel Cookbook is a collection of recipes from people who care about Bassel and would like to share a meal with him if he weren’t in prison.

Please contribute a recipe to this collection. Submit it before 10 March 2014 to get it included in the first edition of the cookbook. Pick a recipe that is special to you, a recipe that makes you think of Bassel, a recipe that reminds you that the virtual/digital world is only a tool for real world human encounters, and is in no way a substitute for experiences such as sharing a meal, or a recipe for a meal that you think Bassel would enjoy.

The #FreeBassel Cookbook V.1 will be released as a free, digital book on #FreeBassel Day 2014 (15 March)

If Bassel has not been freed by this date, please make a recipe from this collection on this day in his honor and share it with people who you care about. Share pictures of your meal with the #FreeBassel hashtag.

Repeat until Bassel is free.

Submit your recipe here. See our previous post to learn how to get involved with Free Bassel Day.

Previously: Disquiet Junto honors Bassel Khartabil

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CC Workshop for Musicians in Vanuatu

Soohyun Pae, February 20th, 2014

Singaot Musik Kamp
Cristina Panicali / CC BY-NC

The first-ever CC Workshop in Melanesia was held on October 23rd in Port Vila, Vanuatu during the Singaot Musik Kamp, a two-week long residency program for musicians from the Pacific, Southern Africa, and Europe.

Singaot Musik Kamp is part of the Music Bridges project which aims to reinforce the creation and production of music industry in Vanuatu and Mozambique, engaging with diverse musicians from Melanesia and Southern Africa through music camps, festivals, and workshops. Around 70 musicians and experts in the music industry from Vanuatu and the Pacific region, Mozambique, Reunion Island, and Australia gathered to share experience, build networks, and to learn skills and strategies to promote their music.

Singaot Musik Kamp

Cristina Panicali / CC BY-NC

After the two weeks of festive live performances and jam sessions, musicians were invited to sit down together to discuss various topics such as distribution/promotion strategies and copyright, including Creative Commons licenses. Entitled “Music Industry Development & Rights,” the two-day training workshops were dedicated to discussing technical, managerial, and production skills and related issues for musicians, artists, and industry professionals to build careers and opportunities. As most of the participating musicians had very limited or no knowledge about copyright and music industry, it was especially meaningful to help them understand copyright system and learn how they can manage and exercise their right in a way they want.

Representatives from SOMAS – a collective management society from Mozambique – and a collective management society in Fiji introduced the concepts of copyright and collective management in general and discussed business strategies for musicians who wanted to promote their work and develop their careers.

The second day was dedicated to the introduction of CC licenses as the last session to wrap up the whole program. Around 50 people in the music field attended the workshop from Vanuatu and neighboring islands as well as Mozambique and Reunion Island in South Africa. Cristina Perillo from Fondazione Lettra27 opened the session as the moderator, welcoming the participants and introducing the structure and background of the workshop. I gave a presentation to introduce what the CC license is and how it works and to explain why it can be useful to musicians using some case studies. Some participants nodded when the presenters pointed out that sharing was what musicians (including those who were participating in the camp) had already been doing to get inspiration for their work and to meet and communicate with the audience, and that CC license could be useful as a way to meet broader audience and to promote one’s work.

Singaot Musik Kamp

Cristina Panicali / CC BY-NC

Luciano Mabrouck from Kom Zot, a band renowned as the pioneers of reggae made in Reunion, took part in the workshop as guest speaker to share his experience of the benefits of sharing. He introduced an interesting example where one of his band’s demo files were accidentally leaked to the public. Unexpectedly, it acted in the band’s favor: more people listened to and loved their music, resulting in increase in sales. The band and their management team did not take any action to stop people from sharing the files; rather they used it as an opportunity to communicate with fans, promote their music, and explore new opportunities. Luciano’s talk allowed the participants to have a better understanding of the benefits of what sharing and CC license can bring in a more practical way.

The last session was a group discussion where participants shared their views and questions with each other. They helped each other understand the new concepts and talked about challenges they would face when using CC license.

The workshop was a good opportunity to help musicians in the region have a better understanding of copyright and CC license and what sharing can bring to them. It was also meaningful in that it was the first-ever CC-related workshop in Melanesia, which I hope will lead to more CC stories in the region of vibrant culture and rich heritage in the future.

The music camp was the first part of the two-year-long project. Next year Music Crossroads will be the host to in Maputo, Mozambique.

Read a blog post by COSV to learn more about the event.

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Thank you, Donatella Della Ratta

Jessica Coates, February 18th, 2014

Donatella Della Ratta
Donatella Della Ratta / Joi Ito / CC BY

Creative Commons extends its deepest gratitude to Donatella Della Ratta. For almost six years, she’s been working as a tireless advocate for Creative Commons and open culture in the Arab world, increasing the knowledge and adoption of CC, conducting outreach to creative communities, and connecting activists throughout the region. Dona has done all of this with grace and tenacity in the midst of an oftentimes unpredictable and sometimes unstable political and social environment in much of the Arab world. We thank you, Dona.

Even though Dona is leaving her position as regional coordinator for the Arab world, Creative Commons will continue to support this incredibly important region. We are in the process of bringing on two new part-time regional coordinators, as we’ve done with other geographic areas. Below is a note from Donatella.


On my way back from Amman, where the fourth Arab Bloggers meeting was held this year, I was thinking that it all started here. Back to early 2008, I was lucky enough to breathe an atmosphere of excitement and change that pervaded the Arab region, and encouraged the Arab youth to gather and discuss ideas, projects, new challenges. Technology played a key role in these gatherings: at the time, open communities such as Linux, Wikipedia, Mozilla, and the like, were being formed and getting together. We started the Creative Commons Arab world community during that wave of change, connecting with the other Arab communities which were using technology to create content together, promote social change, defend freedom of choice – and of expression.

We launched the first archive of CC-licensed broadcast footage with Al Jazeera, at a time when the lack of foreign journalists on the ground in Gaza during the Israeli attack had made information a very precious and scarce resource. Since 2008, many things happened in the Arab region. The Creative Commons Arab community has grown exponentially, and many countries have joined: together with Jordan and Egypt, where we had already official affiliates prior to 2008, informal communities started to gather in Lebanon, Syria, Qatar, UAE, Palestine, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq, Oman, and Mauritania. The latest addition has been Yemen, where few months ago the first training workshop on CC and open licensing was held in Sana`a.

During these years, we have held CC Salons everywhere in the region, from Doha to Casablanca; we have hosted CC Iftars in a number of Arab capitals, from Damascus to Amman. CC Arab communities have gathered in regional meetings four times (2009 Doha; 2010 Doha; 2011 Tunis: 2012 Cairo). We have hosted CC training sessions, panels and hands-on workshops in many regional, tech and community related events. In 2011, we started the first Pan Arab peer-produced and CC-licensed music project, “It will be wonderful”, which is still traveling around the world and being remixed. We produced the first collaborative, open-licensed comics fanzine between Egyptian and Moroccan artists. And many other exciting projects are in the pipeline: books, videos, music, and training toolkits, in Arabic and free to share.

Meanwhile, the Arab uprisings have happened, and this was probably the biggest change that the region witnessed in decades. Today the Arab world lives in difficult conditions: after the first wave of excitement for the toppling of many authoritarian regimes in the region, the civil movement for change has now to face tough challenges. Activists are being jailed and tortured, and creativity and cooperation are being repressed in an atmosphere of dire restoration. One of the most prominent member of the CC Arab world community, Bassel Khartabil aka Safadi, has been imprisoned by the Syrian government for two years without charges, probably being guilty of having dreamt a more free and open society for himself and his peers. Yet, against all odds, the Creative Commons Arab world, together with many other youth-led movements and communities in the region, is still producing content, sharing and building on other people`s ideas, and working for a better, more open society.

After five years spent as Arab world regional coordinator, I am proud to have helped this community to come together, and humbled by the strength and energy of this youth. While I am leaving my official role at Creative Commons, I will always be involved with the amazing Arab community and work together to push forward new ideas and exciting projects, despite all the problems we have to face in the region. And we will be waiting for our friend Bassel Safadi to join us in new, upcoming challenges.

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School of Open: Copyright & Creative Commons for Educators Courses Now Open for Sign-up

Jane Park, February 18th, 2014

fuzzy copyright
Is copyright a little fuzzy? / Elias Bizannes / CC BY-SA

Following on the heels of “Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond,” three more School of Open courses are now open for sign-up. They are:

1. Copyright 4 Educators (AUS)

This course will equip Australian educators with the copyright knowledge to confidently use copyright material in the classroom. It will also introduce Open Educational Resources (OER) and teach you how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classes. The course is open to all educators around the world, but it is specifically targeted to Australian teachers, teacher-librarians from K-12, TAFE teachers, University lecturers/tutors, and University students studying to become teachers. The course material is learnt around practical case studies faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day-to-day teaching and educational instruction.

Facilitators: Jessica Smith and Delia Browne

To sign up, click the “Start course” button on the bottom left of the course page.

2. Copyright 4 Educators (US)

This is a course for educators who want to learn about US copyright law in the education context. Educators who are not in the US are welcome to sign up, too, if they want to learn about copyright law in the US. The course is taught around practical case studies faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day-to-day teaching. By answering the case scenarios and drafting and discussing the answers in groups, you and other participants will learn:

  • What is the public domain?
  • What does copyright law protect?
  • What is fair use?
  • What other exceptions are there in copyright law?
  • What are open access educational resources?

Facilitators: Laura Quilter and Lila Bailey

To sign up, apply using the Google form — also linked at the top of the course page.

3. Creative Commons for K-12 Educators

K-12 educators would like to find and adapt free, useful resources for their classes. Some would even like to incorporate activities that teach their students digital world skills — such as finding, remixing, and sharing digital media and materials on the web. In this lightly facilitated course, we will learn how to do these things with each other in a peer learning environment.

Facilitator: Jane Park

To sign up, click the “Start course” button on the bottom left of the course page.

About the School of Open

school of open logo

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, research, and more. 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 and platform for developing and running free online courses.

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Affiliate Project Grant Update: Africa

Meryl Mohan, February 18th, 2014

Last June, CC began a project grant program for our Affiliate Teams around the world. Of over 70 applicants, 18 were selected to receive funds to support events or activities in their region. The chosen projects in music, education, data, culture, and technology all work towards CC’s mission to promote the understanding and adoption of open policies and practices globally.

We wanted to share how these have unfolded in the past months. Each week for the next five weeks, we will be featuring projects from different regions: Africa, Arab World, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. This week we’re showcasing the innovative projects from Africa.



Kenya: School of Open Kenya Initiative
#schoolofopen

by project lead Simeon Oriko

Introduction
The School of Open Kenya Initiative is a series of workshops aimed at introducing high school students to the concept and culture of ‘Open’ through the courses listed on the School of Open website. This will help them learn about and employ open tools, such as the CC licenses, as well as participate in open culture through collaboration and sharing.

Progress
Jamlab has run this project for six months now. We have worked with about two hundred high school students directly. The first batch was in Precious Blood Riruta, a girls’ high school in Kenya. The second, was Lycee Malick Sy in Thies, Senegal. The SOO Kenya program was designed to simply introduce the students to the idea of “Open” but the students gradually became more immersed and have began creating their own openly licensed content. Precious Blood Riruta students have released an Open Education Video on YouTube based on the Kenya High School literature curriculum. The students from Senegal, on the other hand, have become active editors in the Wikipedia space in Senegal. Their first collaborative effort is a Wikipedia page about their school.

What’s coming up?
For the next series of workshops, we are planning to focus our efforts in four Kenyan high schools. This will enable us to work with another two hundred students countrywide. In addition to introducing them to Open ideals, we will also encourage a system of competition in the creation of openly licensed material among the schools in order to thrust them deeper into the ecosystem that until now, has proven to change and affect their mindsets in the most gratifying way.


South Africa: Creative Commons for Kids
#schoolofopen

by project lead Kelsey Wiens

Creative Commons South Africa (ZA) and Obami are busy building a CC4Kids curriculum. This pilot program is aiming for innovative and dynamic course work to interest kids of all ages. Barbara Mallinson from Obami approached Kelsey Wiens, OER Lead from CC ZA last year to build the program after seeing a number of copyright violations from the kids on the network. The motivation behind the program: Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of teaching kids how to protect and lock down their stuff we instead taught them how to open and share freely? This is something kids and teenagers tend to do naturally. The course is planned to launch in March 2014 as part of the School of Open. We’re looking forward at getting a peek at what they’ve come up with!


Tanzania: Tanzania CC Salon
by project lead Paul Kihwelo

Creative Commons Tanzania affiliate team held their inaugural CC Salon on 6th December, 2013 at the Open University of Tanzania headquarters in Dar es Salaam. The Salon was the third in Sub Saharan region following Kenya’s in early 2013 and South Africa’s held in August, 2006.
Attracting over 60 diverse professionals, including academics, bloggers, journalists, scientists, engineers, students, librarians and information system experts, lawyers, medical practitioners, policy makers, IT professionals, representatives of Tanzania Medical Students Association, Consortium of Tanzania University Libraries and Researchers and Coalition for Open Access in Tanzania, among other participants.
Among the prominent attendees included Ms. Doreen Sinare, CEO-Copyright Society of Tanzania, Ms. Loy Mhando representing CEO-Business Registration and Licensing Agency, Dr. Mary Mayige, Director General – St. Laurent Diabetes Centre and Alex Gakuru the Regional Coordinator – Africa, Creative Commons based in Kenya.


Paul Kihwelo / CC BY

The salon focused on the importance of open copyright and open educational resources, including how Africa stood to benefit from openness in teaching, learning, and sharing as well as increased access to knowledge and quality of learning resources. Open University of Tanzania Institutional Repository also explained how the institutional repository leveraged the university and the country in adding more African content online, as African materials currently represent just 2% of online content. Other topics discussed included health and medicine, and the need to share information for better prevention and/or management for ongoing health problems like diabetes.
Alex Gakuru, Creative Commons Africa Regional Coordinator, summed up the event nicely with an overview of how the CC philosophy ties with the African community: “Creative Commons reflects our common culture and heritage of sharing.”
Click here for the full report on Tanzania’s salon.


Uganda: Promoting Creative Commons Initiatives in Uganda
by project lead Moses Mulumba

In August 2013, CC Uganda received a grant from CC HQ to implement the project “Promoting Creative Commons Initiatives in Uganda.” The project, which is in its final stages, implemented activities to include:

  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Convening CC Uganda Affiliates to discuss the potential for the implementation of the Creative Commons initiatives in Uganda.
  • Producing promotional materials like CC Uganda customised T-shirts, factsheets, stickers & IEC materials on CC Initiatives
  • Holding a salon illustrating Creative Commons licences as an example of an alternative model based on copyright to stakeholders
  • CC Translation Sprint.

The team met at Café Java on September 9th, 2013 and mapped out stakeholders to engage. The then team was composed of only 15 members i.e 9 lawyers, 2 information scientists, and 4 technology specialists (Javie Ssozi, Ruth Aine, Collins Mugume, and Micheal Niyitegeka) joined the team that day – as below:


Moses Mulumba / CC BY

Having tech specialists and social media enthusiasts join the CC Community was added advantage in breaking the monotony of lawyers being the sole advocates for CC licensing. Soon after the meeting tweets (#CCUganda) of the licences were up and blogs running news of the same –see https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ccuganda&src=typd.
The mapping exercise was followed up with a translation sprint exercise where Affiliates were subjected to an exercise to translate CC Public domain tools/factsheets to Luganda. This too was a success as we won CC HQ support to design and print the translated factsheets for dissemination.
We have also produced IEC including factsheets, T-shirts, and stickers to raise more awareness of the licences. We have convened stakeholders and held a CC salon that has attracted more members joining the open community and committing to use and advocate for use and adoption of the licences in the Ugandan community.


CC Stakeholder convening held on 31st October, 2013 at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala
Moses Mulumba / CC BY


CC Uganda Salon held on 31st January 2013, at the CEHURD Gardens in Ntinda.
Moses Mulumba / CC BY

Details of pictorials can be accessed at our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Creative-Commons-Uganda-Affiliates-Page/335875883192903.
We are currently working on our 2014 roadmap and official blog from which members can creatively post articles and developments of the open movement in Uganda. The page, which is in its infancy, can be accessed here http://creativecommonsug.wordpress.com/.


Cross Regional Africa: Activate Africa
#schoolofopen

by project lead Kelsey Wiens

To Open Africa we need to activate the community. This week is the start of a month-long training program that centres around all things ‘Open’. This pilot program have been created to activate 5 Africa communities. Advocates from across Africa including Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda, and Ghana are being taken through an Open bootcamp. The intense training program for them covers all the tools and skills required for them to return to their home country and activate their communities. We are teaching them all things Creative Commons, Wikipedia, Open Street Maps, Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Data, Open Government, and the related fundraising & community building. An online version of the training program will be featured as part of the School of Open. They are all racing for the prize to be the first Kumusha Bus stop (a week-long activation in their home country on Africa Day). The Kumusha Bus is the Africanized LibreBus done in South America. The winning bid country will organize activations for a week in different locations around the country. It will be the first bus stop (of many) in Africa.


From left to right: Abel Asrat – Ethiopia, Nkansah Rexford – Ghana, Michael Phoya – Malawi, Cyriac Gbogou – Cote d’Ivorie, Erina Mukuta – Uganda
Kelsey Wiens / CC BY

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Next phase of the CC Toolkits project: Regional events

Billy Meinke, February 17th, 2014

Back in November, we launched the CC Toolkits project with the aim of invigorating the CC Community through affiliate events. CC Argentina collaborated with Wikimedia Argentina to hack out a template for the toolkits during a sprint, creating a starting point for just about anyone to collect open content about CC, and publish it on the web.

CC Toolkits Hackathon / by Gino Cingolani / CC BY-NC-SA

Building momentum for sharing resources about CC

This month, affiliate groups in Argentina, Paraguay, Nigeria, and Poland will be running local events bringing people together around openness in law, government, education, and cultural works. Though the events will be about much more than open copyright licenses, volunteers in our community will be sprinting and hacking to gathering and create useful videos, guides, and other content on the web that make it easy for others to learn about the importance of CC.

CC Toolkits Homepage

CC Toolkits Homepage

The toolkit template developed by the design team is composed of a WordPress theme built from the ground up, with media panes for embedding and linking and viewing content about CC that various affiliate groups have created. The goal is make it easier for creators and curators in the CC community to frame interesting and useful content into toolkits that can support conversations about CC. But beyond the tech, the regional events happening this month will help set the stage for new ways we can share about open.

Here is a rundown of events being run by affiliates this month:

CC Nigeria flag
CC Nigeria will be hosting an event at the University of Lagos to talk about CC, address offline and low-bandwidth components of toolkit bundles, and translate the current version of the Basics of CC toolkit into local languages.
 

CC Argentina will be running a multi-day event in Capital Federal (Buenos Aires), Resistencia (Chaco), and Cordoba, focusing CC and it’s importance in education. Two days of hackathons will take place in late February, bringing together members of CC and other open organizations to discuss how CC licenses can improve education.
 

CC Paraguay will be hosting a 2 day “CCthon” in late February to produce toolkit materials to support CC in government. The group has invited participation from the Open Government of Paraguay to guide the toolkit, and is coordinating the event with local translators and bloggers.
 

CC Poland will be focusing on the GLAM sector (galleries, libraries, archives, museums), holding a meeting between among CC community members, Wikimedians and other open culture supporters. The two-day summit will take place February 20-21 in Krakow, Poland, crafting a toolkit about CC licence use for cultural heritage institutions.
 


To keep up with the working groups, check out the About page on cctoolkits.com, and the hashtag #cctoolkits on social media channels, and uploading photos to flickr with the same tag. If you’re interested in seeing how the pieces of the toolkits are being threaded together, the Collaborate page has more information about creating toolkits with our design files and media.

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Call for Participation: Open Education Week 2014

Jane Park, February 14th, 2014

oew-logo 2
OCW Consortium / CC BY

Creative Commons invites you to participate in the 3rd annual Open Education Week! Taking place from 10-15 March, 2014, the purpose of Open Education Week is raise the profile of open educational resources (OER) and the global movement of people and organizations behind them, in addition to highlighting the crucial role that legal tools, such as Creative Commons licenses, play in making OER possible.

The OpenCourseWare Consortium, organizer of Open Ed Week, cites several case studies demonstrating the growing impact of OER, including:

  • A pilot program in Utah’s K-12 schools that used printed open textbooks, cutting textbook costs by over 50%
  • A Haitian solar energy company that built their business to serve the needs of its local community thanks to open courseware that helped to deepen its knowledge about solar engineering
  • An engineer in India that developed his management skills and international perspectives to advance his career thanks to a self-designed study plan consisting of OER

…not to mention CC’s own set of Team Open and OER case studies!

You can contribute to the week by submitting an informational video about OER or a specific OER project; hosting a local event/workshop or webinar, and promoting the week to your networks. The deadline to submit your resource or event is 28 February, 2014.

We look forward to seeing your contributions in March!

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Precocious One Year Old Turning Academic Publishing On Its Head

Puneet Kishor, February 12th, 2014

 

“If we can set a goal to sequence the Human Genome for $99, then why shouldn’t we demand the same goal for the publication of research?”

 

PeerJ logo started with that bold challenge. Now, the scrappy startup that dared has done it. One year old today, PeerJ, the peer-reviewed journal, has seen startling growth having published 232 articles under CC-BY 3.0 last year. By the way, per Scimago that number is more than what 90% of any other journal publishes in a year. Then in April 2013 PeerJ started publishing PeerJ PrePrints, the non-peer-reviewed preprint server with 186 PrePrints in 2013, all under CC BY 3.0.

Now PeerJ has more than 800 Academic Editors, from a wide variety of countries and institutions. There are also five Nobel Prize winners on the PeerJ Board. PeerJ receives submissions from all over the world, and covers all of the biological, health, medical sciences. As of the time of this post’s publication, the top subject areas for PeerJ submissions were

Subject Articles
Ecology 106
Bioinformatics 69
Evolutionary Studies 66
Zoology 54
Computational Biology 49
Microbiology 48
Psychiatry and Psychology 47
Marine Biology 45
Biodiversity 45
Biochemistry 45

Not everything has been easy. Starting an entire publishing company from scratch has been a learning experience for the entire team. From no brand recognition, no history, no infrastructure etc. to having successfully established themselves in all the places that a publishing company should be in: archiving solutions; DOI issuing services; indexing services; membership of professional bodies; ISSN registrations etc. PeerJ has done very well. Last year PeerJ won the ALPSP Award for Publishing Innovation.

PeerJ’s vision/mission are deceptively simple:

  • Keep Innovating
  • Remember Whom We Serve
  • Pass on the Savings
Interpretive drawing of DNHM D2945 Hongshanornis longicresta

PeerJ decision-making process is fast, very fast. Authors get their first decision back in a median of 24 days. Being small, and non-traditional means they can take risks. They have built interesting functionality and models such as optional open peer review; Their business model is based on individuals purchasing low cost lifetime publication plans, and that has resulted in a lot of their functionality being very individual-centric.

Compared to traditional publishers, PeerJ is a very tech-focused company. They built all the technology themselves, quite unusual in the academic publishing world, which normally uses third parties for their peer-review software and publication platforms. By doing it themselves they have much more control over their destiny, cost, and can build functionality which suits their unique needs. The high percentage of authors describing their experience with PeerJ as their best publishing experience is arguably a direct result of this. Much of PeerJ’s software is open source, and their techie roots are evident in their engagement with the community via events such as Hack4ac, a hackday to specifically celebrate, ahem, CC BY!

Peter Binfield, Co-Founder, says:

We firmly believe that Open Access publishing is the future of the academic journal publishing system. With the current trends we see in the marketplace (including governmental legislation; institutional mandates; the rapid growth of the major OA publishers; and the increasing education and desire from authors) we believe that Open Access content will easily make up >50% of newly published content in the next 4 or 5 years.

 
Once all academic content is OA and under an appropriate re-use license we believe that significant new opportunities will emerge for people to use this content; to build on it for new discoveries and products; and to accelerate the scientific discovery process.

Binfield continues:

We regard the CC-BY license as the gold standard for OA Publications. Some other publishers provide authors with “NC” options, or try to write their own OA licenses, but we have a firm belief in the CC BY flavor. If there are many different OA licenses in play then it becomes increasingly difficult for users to determine what rights they have for any given piece of work, and so it is cleaner and simpler if everyone agrees on a single (preferably liberal) license. We were pleased to see the license updated to 4.0 and were quick to adopt it.

In Jan 2014, PeerJ moved to CC BY 4.0 for all articles newly submitted from that point onwards (prior articles remain under CC BY 3.0 of course). Today, on PeerJ’s first birthday, we at CC send PeerJ our best wishes, and look forward to ever more courageous, even outrageous innovations from this precocious one year old.

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“Really Open Education” Policy Discussion In the European Parliament

Timothy Vollmer, February 4th, 2014

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Creative Commons would like to invite you to a breakfast discussion “Really Open Education. Domestic Policies for Open Educational Resources”. The event will take place on the 18th of February 2014 and be hosted in the European Parliament by Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, MEP.

The event will highlight open education initiatives currently implemented in European member states, with a particular focus on primary and secondary education. With the event, we would like to draw the attention to the development and use Open Educational Resources as a key aspect of the new “Opening Up Education” initiative.

Invited panelists will present projects that deal with open e-textbooks and supplemental resources, repositories for open resources created by teachers, and policies developed in support of open education initiatives. We aim these examples to support the development of open education in Europe within the scope of current educational initiatives and programs, such as Erasmus+.

Program of the event

Welcoming remarks:
Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, MEP

Presentations of country-level activities and key issues related to Open Educational Resources:

  • Hans de Four (KlasCement, Belgium): the role of KlasCement, an open educational resources repository, in Belgian education;
  • Teresa Nobre (Creative Commons Portugal): legal aspects of Open Education, in the perspective of EU copyright reform;
  • Robert Schuwer (UNESCO Chair on OER, Open Universiteit, Netherlands): development of Open Education in the Netherlands;
  • Krzysztof Wojewodzic (Centre for Educational Development, Poland): Polish open e-textbooks project and the „Digital School” program.

Presentation of the “Opening Up Education” Initiative:
Ricardo Ferreira (DG Education and Culture, European Commission)

Questions and answers.

The meeting will be moderated by Alek Tarkowski (European Policy Advisor, Creative Commons).

The event will take place on the 18th of February (Tuesday) at 8.15-10.00, in the Members’ Salon, Altiero Spinelli Building, European Parliament.

Please note that badges are needed to enter the European Parliament building. Badges will be handed out to participants at the Place du Luxembourg entrance. Persons with European Parliament badges should enter through the rue Wiertz entrance (closer to the salon).

If you plan attending the event, please RSVP by sending email to: rsvp@oerpolicy.eu

(Information about the event (PDF) and event poster (PNG) – please share!)

This blog post was written by Alek Tarkowski and originally published on the European Open Education Policy Project website. It is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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