Today marks an historic step forward for public access to publicly funded research in the United States. The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. FASTR requires federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to the research articles stemming from that funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
If passed, the legislation would extend the current NIH Public Access Policy (with a shorter embargo) to other US federal agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and others.
The bill text is available here. The legislation was introduced with bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate. Sponsors include Sens. Cornyn (R-TX) and Wyden (D-OR), and Reps. Doyle (D-PA), Yoder (R-KS), and Lofgren (D-CA).
Creative Commons has supported policies aligned with the practice of making taxpayer funded research available free online and ideally under an open license that communicates broad downstream use rights, such as CC BY. While FASTR – like the NIH Public Access Policy before it – does not directly require the application of open licenses to the scientific research outputs funded with federal tax dollars, it represents a key next step toward increasing the usefulness of public access to research.
Specifically, FASTR includes provisions that move the ball down the field toward better communicating reuse rights. Peter Suber notes,
- FASTR includes a new “finding” in its preamble (2.3): “the United States has a substantial interest in maximizing the impact and utility of the research it funds by enabling a wide range of reuses of the peer-reviewed literature that reports the results of such research, including by enabling computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies.”
- FASTR includes a formatting and licensing provision (4.b.5): the versions deposited in repositories and made OA shall be distributed “in formats and under terms that enable productive reuse, including computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies.”
In addition to making articles free to access and read after a six-month publishing embargo, these new provisions make a significant impact in pushing federal agencies to ensure that the research they fund is available and useful for new research techniques like text/data mining.
SPARC has issued an action alert, and there are several specific things you can do to support of FASTR. Today marks the 11th anniversary of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, and you can voice your support that the public needs and deserves access to the research it paid for and upon which scientific advancement and education depends.2 Comments »
In keeping with the tradition inaugurated by the third Creative Commons Arab regional meeting (30th June-2nd July, Tunis, 2011), the 2012 fourth annual gathering of the CC Arab communities was marked by a great deal of creative energy and a strong push towards strengthening a sharing culture in the Arab region.
Organized in cooperation with Arab Digital Expression Foundation (ADEF), an Egyptian NGO extremely active in the domain of free culture and sharing, the fourth Creative Commons Arab regional meeting was held in Cairo from 10 to 14 December 2012, with participants coming from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, Sudan, Oman, and Egypt.
Three days of intensive hands-on workshops, held at ADEF headquarters in the beautiful area of Moqattam overlooking Cairo, were self-organized and led by members of the CC Arab community. Workshops tackled issues such as licensing artworks under CC licenses, or using open-source tools to design and produce creative work. A team of musicians, together with a filmmaker and a graphic designer, worked on a multimedia project aimed at producing a creative journey into science fiction literature in the Arab world (see sample below).
A group of visual artists worked on caricatures of the participants, which were remixed and turned into beautifully colored cartoons. Another team worked on the concept of Creative Commons as bringing creative people to life; or lampooning the traditional copyright as a “locked up” culture.
Egyptian guest speakers were also featured during the three days meeting, such as filmmaker Ahmed Abdallah who directed the popular movie Microphone and who raised the controversial issue of using CC-licensed music in movies that the producers then decide to distribute under a traditional, all-rights reserved copyright. Blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah and technologist Ahmed Gharbeia also shared their thoughts about openness.
The 10th anniversary celebrations were held across the four corners of the Arab region. Creative Commons communities in Algeria, Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, and Oman all hosted live events animated by local artists and communities, featuring light talks, discussions about sharing culture, and homemade birthday cakes.
CC CEO Cathy Casserly, in her first official trip to the Middle East, joined the CC Qatar celebrations in Doha, before heading to Cairo where she participated in the CC Arab community’s call to free Bassel Khartabil aka Safadi, the public lead of CC Syria who has been detained in Damascus since March 2012. During the closing ceremony of the 4th Arab regional meeting in Cairo, the CC Arab community recorded a video message for Bassel and emphasized that in the Arab region, advocating for free culture and sharing might put one’s life at risk of imprisonment or death.
Two months later, the open community is still urging for Bassel’s release. The good news is that Bassel has been granted visitation rights, and even wrote a letter to #freebassel supporters. Visit FreeBassel.org to find out how to get involved.
Since the outbreak of the uprisings in late 2010, the Arab world has witnessed the rise of popular movements for political and social change. This has been matched by violent reactions by authoritarian regimes, repression and political unrest. Yet, a genuine push towards peer-produced and collaborative work has responded to violence and repression with creativity and innovation. The fourth Creative Commons Arab regional meeting has been a celebration of this courageous stance of the Arab youth and of their defiance in responding to authoritarian power with the weapons of creativity.
CC Cairo meeting
- CC Arab World Facebook group
- Flickr pools: CC10, CC Arab World
- Works from the Cairo workshops
- Video project
- Report about the closing party (Arabic)
Creative Commons 10th anniversary in the Arab worldComments Off
An Education Sprint
The future of Open is a dynamic landscape, ripe with opportunities to increase civic engagement, literacy, and innovation. Towards this goal, the Science Program at Creative Commons is teaming up with the Open Knowledge Foundation and members of the Open Science Community to facilitate the building of an open online course, an Introduction to Open Science. The actual build will take place during a hackathon-style “sprint” event on Open Data Day on Saturday, February 23rd and will serve as a launch course for the School of Open during Open Education Week (Mar 11-15).
Want to help us build this?
The course will be open in it’s entirety, the building process and content all available to be worked on, all to help people learn about Open Science. Do you know a thing or two about Open Access? Are you a researcher who’s practicing Open Research? Do you have experience in instructional or visual design? This is an all-hands event and will be facilitated by representatives at CC, OKFN, and others in the Community. Open Science enthusiasts in the Bay Area are invited to the CC Headquarters in Mountain View for the live event. Remote participants will also be able to join and contribute online via Google Hangout.
The day will begin with coffee, refreshments and a check-in call with other Open Data Day Hackathons happening around the globe. The Open Science Community is strengthened by shared interests and connections between people, which we hope will grow stronger through networked events on Open Data Day. The Open Science course sprint at CC HQ will build upon open educational content, facilitate the design of challenges for exploration, and provide easy entry for learners into concepts of Open Access, Open Research, and Open Data. It will be done in a similar fashion to other “sprint-style” content-creation events, with lunch and refreshments provided for in-person participants. We’re literally going to be hacking on education. Sound like something you’d be interested in?
For details about the ways you can participate, see the Eventbrite page here.
To see the draft (lightly framed) course site on Peer to Peer University, go here.
For information about other Open Data Day events, see the events wiki here.
We need you, too! Basic skills for working with open datasets is important, and can be difficult to grasp. Who better to develop great lessons about working with data than you? Similarly, for those interested in building upon apps and projects from other Open Data Events, updated source code and repository information will be posted to a public feed (for now, follow hashtags #ODHD13 and #opendataday on Twitter).
For other information, contact billy dot meinke at creative commons dot org or @billymeinke.5 Comments »
In the UK, the House of Commons has asked for feedback on their Open Access Policy. One provision of that policy requires that articles funded through the Research Councils UK (RCUK) must be released under a CC BY license. Last year, CC submitted a short comment in support.
And just last month, the House of Lords completed a consultation period which has generated some misinformation about how the CC BY license operates. So, in order to clarify some of these misconceptions, Creative Commons and Creative Commons UK submitted a joint response to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee to set the record straight.
We’ve pulled together some clarifications to some of the uncertainty lobbed at the CC BY license provision in the Open Access Policy. Some of the reasons given that CC BY should not be retained include:
- it would promote “misuse of research or would cause authors to “lose control of their work”
- third party rights negotiations for content that authors wish to include within an openly licensed article would prove too difficult
- open licensing provides less protection against plagiarism
- CC BY is not widely used in OA publishing
- authors should choose licensing conditions, not funders
These claims are confusing, misguided, or not backed up by evidence. We offer our responses and support here.Comments Off
After nearly two years working with to support our community and forward Creative Commons in Europe, our European Regional Coordinator, Jonas Öberg, will be leaving us at the end of the month. Jonas has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Shuttleworth Foundation to further his research into metadata standards for open materials. We will be very sad to lose Jonas, who has done a wonderful job of promoting CC and open in general over the last few years, and has worked tirelessly to support our European affiliates in their work. Europe is CC’s biggest region, with 37 affiliates stretching from Ireland and the UK all the way through Kazakhstan and Russia – so the job isn’t easy.
The good news is that Jonas won’t be going far, with his Shuttleworth work likely to keep him a constant face in our community.
The other good news is that this opens up a new position for someone to work with Creative Commons in Europe. You can find the full position description here.
In summary, our European Regional Coordinator works to “Assist Creative Commons and the CC Global Network team with organizational planning, strategic communications, community building, and fundraising in Europe in support of the organization’s mission, goals and objectives.” This means running events, coordinating collaborative projects, and generally assisting our European affiliates to build and grow their community. We also expect that 2013 in Europe will see a lot of work with local organisations advocating for the adoption and implementation of open policies in the region, particularly in the fields of government and educational materials.
If you have an interest in community management, open access, and Creative Commons, and live in or have ties to Europe, we’d love to hear from you.Comments Off
In December, we blogged about a new initiative by journalists called Syria Deeply, a news platform aiming to redesign the user experience of the Syrian conflict through news aggregation, interactive tools, original reporting, and feature stories. To encourage sharing and viral distribution, Syria Deeply licensed everything on its site under Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY).
Now “I Am Syria,” a project to increase education about Syria in the classroom, is working with Syria Deeply and President-elect Steve Armstrong of the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) to build a lesson plan about the Syrian crisis. This lesson plan, along with other open educational resources for the classroom, is available at iamsyria.org under CC BY. It will be the first in a series of teaching materials on global events and humanitarian issues.
From the announcement,
Even the most off-the-shelf tech solutions can make a monumental impact in bringing more foreign policy education to our schools. Which is why we built our Creative Commons licensed open courseware on IamSyria.org as a portal to our teacher friendly lesson plan. You simply go to IamSyria.org to download a Teacher’s Guide, and you will have a full 40 minute lesson plan’s worth of Common Core friendly material to expand your student’s horizons about global affairs. Included on the website is an introductory background video for your students as well as supplemental materials for executing the lesson plan, including a PowerPoint with accompanying worksheet, a video on what other kids are doing, and a Presidential Cabinet exercise which has been focus-grouped and loved by students.
By CC licensing its resources, “I Am Syria” will encourage teachers everywhere to educate their students about events in Syria and why it impacts them. Teachers will also be able to adapt “I Am Syria” resources to their particular classroom needs, and even contribute to the resources’ improvement over time.Comments Off
PLOS and figshare announced a partnership earlier today that will allow authors publishing in PLOS journals host their data on figshare. The authors would also benefit from the visualization capabilities that figshare provides right in the browser alongside the content. This partnership symbolizes all that is good about a healthy scientific publishing process that is enabled by innovative thinking aided by open licensing tools from Creative Commons.
When PLOS launched ten years ago, everyone involved could only hope for the kind of success it has seen in promoting open access publishing. Now with seven journals, six Currents sections, a network of blogs and new ways such as hubs and collections to organize content post-publication, PLOS spans a range of options from very selective to relatively inclusive. PLOS is the undisputed leader in the open access publishing space, and everything published by PLOS is under a CC license. But PLOS is constantly thinking of new ways to make the publishing process better.
John Chodacki, Director of Product Management at PLOS: “We know that Supporting Information acts as a container for valuable resources and data, but can remain relatively hidden from readers. With our partnership with figshare we are opening this data up to PLOS readers and showcasing its value.”
figshare is much younger. Founded by Mark Hahnel, a young scientist frustrated with the stunted mechanism for data sharing, figshare also adopted a blanket open licensing policy based on CC licenses and public domain dedication, and made it easy to upload, visualize and share data.
Mark says, “The common goal of PLOS and figshare for open access to research are connected by the liberal licensing of content, giving authors control over their outputs. Without the standards set out by Creative Commons, partnerships such as this would be much less achievable. Long may it continue as the academic space moves into new ways of disseminating research”.
Both PLOS and figshare leverage the internet to the fullest giving scientists a better way to publish research results and data. This directly promotes CC’s vision of realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.
By complementing each other, PLOS and figshare help the entire scientific process take another step toward being truly open. They are shining examples of leveraging the open licensing and public domain dedication tools created by Creative Commons. We wish them continued success and a future full of innovations we hope will continue to surprise and delight us.Comments Off
Department of State Seal / Public Domain
Earlier today, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the Open Book Project (remarks, project page, press notice), an initiative to expand access to free, high-quality educational materials in Arabic, with a particular focus on science and technology. These resources will be released under open licenses that allow their free use, sharing, and adaptation to local context.
The initiative will:
- Support the creation of Arabic-language Open Educational Resources (OER) and the translation of existing OER into Arabic.
- Disseminate the resources free of charge through project partners and their platforms.
- Offer training and support to governments, educators, and students to put existing OER to use and develop their own.
- Raise awareness of the potential of OER and promote uptake of online learning materials.
Creative Commons is proud to be a part of the Open Book Project, partnering with the Department of State; the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization; and our open colleagues around the world. CC licenses are core to OER, providing the world’s teachers and students the rights needed to legally reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute educational resources. When education content is CC licensed, it may be legally translated into (or from) Arabic and any other language. Using CC licenses provides an unprecedented opportunity to ensure OER are able to bridge cultures and fill educational gaps that exist on a global, regional, and local level.
In Clinton’s words, “Talent is universal, but opportunity is not. It’s incumbent upon all of us to keep opening doors of opportunity, because walking through it may be a young man or young woman who becomes a medical researcher and discovers a cure for a terrible disease, becomes an entrepreneur, or becomes a professor who then creates the next generation of those who contribute.”
When digital learning resources can be openly licensed and shared for the marginal cost of $0, many educators believe we collectively have an ethical and moral obligation to do so. Congratulations to all of the partners who will work together to help more people access high quality, affordable educational resources.
Update (Jan 29): The full text of Secretary Clinton’s speech is now available.10 Comments »
Earlier this year, Blackboard announced xpLor — a new cloud-based learning object repository that will work across the various learning management systems (LMS) in use at educational institutions: e.g., Blackboard, Moodle, ANGEL, and Sakai. xpLor’s goal, as stated by Product Manager Brent Mundy, is to dissolve content boundaries between LMS’s and institutions so that instructors can more easily share, discover, and reuse course content. While the LMS is good at administering courses, LMSs are not particularly good at large-scale content management. For example, you can only manage content within an individual course, and you can’t easily share course content with other instructors using a different LMS or even with instructors using the same LMS at different institutions.
Now, with xpLor, which is currently in beta at more than 70 institutions, you can. Since xpLor is cloud-based and built using IMS standards (such as Common Cartridge and Learning Tools Interoperability), any LMS employing IMS standards can work with it. And now, xpLor has added Creative Commons license options, which means that instructors and institutions can create, share, and even build on each other’s CC-licensed content all through the same interface.
The default license for adding content is Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY),
but instructors can opt for a different CC license or their own custom terms. Here’s an example of what a CC-licensed resource via xpLor looks like:
xpLor also integrates CC-licensed content from existing open education projects, like the Khan Academy and Blackboard CourseSites’ CC BY licensed courses.
Instructors can find resources from these projects in addition to content added by their colleagues via xpLor’s search interface. As shown below, the CC license mark is clearly displayed next to each resource. In the future, instructors will be able to filter their searches by the CC license they desire.
In addition, xpLor offers instructors the ability to directly copy, edit and remix CC-licensed content in its system, as long as the resource is one of the basic common content types found in all LMS’s, according to common cartridge standards. As instructors pull from various sources to create content, the resource’s attribution and license will automatically be retained and carried into the new, derivative work, thanks to xpLor’s built-in support for authoring and versioning. In future iterations, content will also be exportable according to the same standards, with the license metadata attached.
For those interested in learning more, Blackboard has produced an infographic site on how it all works, where you can also sign up to receive additional info. If you want the back story on how xpLor originated, including the technical details of how the different systems will operate, we recommend reading project consultant Professor Chuck Severance’s post on xpLor.4 Comments »
As a teenager, Aaron Swartz helped start Creative Commons. Join us in remembering a friend, ally, and inspiration.
Longtime CC volunteer Bassel Khartabil has been detained in Syria since March. Thanks to an international community of supporters, he now has family visitation rights. Join the campaign to free Bassel.
This month, U.S. News and World Report ran an excellent article about the rise of open educational resources.
In other news:
- Every year on January 1st, copyright protection expires for millions of creative works. Celebrate Public Domain Day and find out what’s new to public domain this year.
- Open Education Week is coming up, and School of Open is planning something big. Find out how to get involved.
- Not one, but five #cc10 mixtapes.
- Boundless has released 18 new textbooks under CC BY-SA.
- CC Korea has launched a new iPhone app celebrating ten years of Creative Commons music.
- In case you missed it: #cc10 Antarctica.