Commons News

Data Governance, our idea for the Moore Foundation

Cathy Casserly, August 23rd, 2011

The Moore Foundation has called for community feedback on where to invest in the area of data-intensive science. We’ve submitted our own idea — data governance — and would love your feedback and support for the idea. We have been exploring data governance issues, including data licensing, since 2004 in our science work, and we’re planning to make data governance a priority across the Creative Commons organization going forward.

Data governance is more than just licensing. It’s the system of decision rights and accountabilities for data-related processes that describe who can take what actions with what information, and when, under what circumstances and using what methods. Our work on the Neurocommons project — using web standards to mark up copyright licenses and developing technological infrastructure to make the commons searchable and usable — all inform our ideas on data governance.

We are actively planning for a major project in data in 2012, and look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please register and vote, and not just on our idea — participation in processes like this is a great way to increase their usage by foundations in making funding choices that can benefit the commons.

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Open Government Data in Austria

Jane Park, August 23rd, 2011

Vienna-Rathausv2
City Hall (Rathaus) by http2007 / CC BY

For a while now, government data for the City of Vienna has been open for reuse under the CC Attribution license. In a more national effort, the City of Vienna, along with the Chancellor’s Office and the Austrian cities of Linz, Salzburg and Graz, recently coordinated their activities to establish the Cooperation OGD (Open Government Data) Austria. The cooperation aims to “to forge common standards and develop conditions in which OGD can flourish to the benefit of all stakeholders.” In its first session, the group agreed to eight key points, which were reported at the Linz Open Commons blog. The first key point was also highlighted over at the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) blog in English:

“All public administration will be free under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), meaning it can be reused and shared for any purpose, with only attribution necessary.”

This is great news for Austrian PSI and open government in general. By using CC licenses and tools to communicate broad reuse rights to the content, data, and educational materials they create, governments are stimulating economic growth, promoting citizen engagement, and increasing the transparency of government resources and services.

We will be running several sessions on government data and PSI at the CC Global Summit in Warsaw speaking to these themes and engaging CC affiliates and community from around the world. One month after the summit, the OKF will also host Open Government Data Camp 2011 in Warsaw (now open for registration). Don’t worry if you can’t make it to either event, as we will be providing updates to both on our blog. In the meantime, you can find many more examples of CC use in government at creativecommons.org/government.

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The Technical Working Group for the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative is Announced

Greg Grossmeier, August 16th, 2011

We had a wonderful response from the Call for Participation in the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) Technical Working Group with highly qualified individuals and representatives from many leading organizations in the education field. (As you may recall, LRMI is a project led by Creative Commons and the Association of Educational Publishers to establish a common vocabulary for describing learning resources.) After consultation with the LRMI project partners, we needed to balance all the restrictions of an efficient, productive, and representative working group along with the large numbers of qualified potential members.

The LRMI Technical Working Group membership is:

  • Sheryl Abshire, Calcasieu Parish Public School System
  • Phil Barker, JISC CETIS
  • Dan Brickley, VU University Amsterdam
  • Brian Carver, UC Berkeley School of Information
  • Cable Green, Creative Commons
  • Greg Grossmeier, Creative Commons (Co-Chair)
  • Charlie Jiang, Microsoft
  • Michael Johnson, Full Potential Associates
  • Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons (Co-Chair)
  • Joshua Marks, Curriki
  • Brandt Redd, Gates Foundation
  • Colin Smythe, IMS Global
  • Stuart Sutton, Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
  • Randy Wilhelm, netTrekker
  • Lee Wilson, PCI Educational Publishing

The first meeting of the Working Group will be a teleconference this Wednesday (August 17th). To follow along with the progress of the group, there is a public timeline and mailing list that anyone can join.

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CC News: Announcing the Creative Commons Global Summit!

Jane Park, August 12th, 2011

Stay up to date with CC news by subscribing to our weblog and following us on Twitter.

Announcing the 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit!

We are thrilled to announce the 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit, now open for registration! The Creative Commons Global Summit will take place over three full days from September 16-18, and is generously hosted by our affiliates at CC Poland. The summit will bring together the CC community in Warsaw, Poland, to engage strategically on the future of our shared commons, to renew and further build CC’s vital community, to collaborate on mutual projects and initiatives, and to celebrate our successes as we head towards the end of our first decade together. For more information, and to register, head on over to the Global Summit wiki.

New Creative Commons Regional Managers

Instrumental in planning for the Global Summit are our new Regional Managers. New hires Jonas Öberg (Europe), Carolina Botero and Claudio Ruiz (Co-Managers, Latin America) will join existing CC staffers Chiaki Hayashi (Asia and the Pacific), Donatella della Ratta (Arab World), Aurelia J. Schultz (Africa), and our new Network Affiliate Coordinator, Jessica Coates, to form a new team dedicated to supporting our Affiliate Network worldwide. Adding staff support for our affiliates is part of a broader strategy CC is currently implementing to enhance the role and profile of the Affiliate Network. The Regional Managers will be dedicated to supporting and working with these local affiliates, while also working together to inform and shape CC’s ongoing development and policy making. Read more.

Design the winning poster for the Global Summit!

Some of our CC affiliates in Asia are hosting a poster design competition for the summit, based on the theme, “Powering an Open Future.” The winning designs (judged by an international panel and by popular vote) will be introduced at the Global Summit with people in attendance from all over the world, featured prominently at the venue and also as part of a CC visual arts exhibit. The designer will receive a gift of the printed poster from a professional publishing company in Warsaw. The deadline is August 22, Japan time, and in less than two weeks! For the complete submission rules and to enter, visit the competition site.

In other news:

  • Support for Creative Commons is growing in Russia.
  • Support for Creative Commons is growing everywhere! The Power of Open launched with seven successful events in Tokyo, Washington DC, Brussels, Rio de Janeiro, London, Paris, and Madrid.
  • The 3rd Creative Commons Arab regional meeting in Tunis also proved to be extraordinary.
  • We participated at the yearly SERCI (Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues) Congress.
  • We talked to Sir John Daniel from the Commonwealth of Learning. COL recently adopted CC BY-SA as part of its new OER policy.
  • We added support for the Learning Resources Metadata Initiative (LRMI) with Greg Grossmeier as our new Education Technology & Policy Coordinator.
  • And lastly, we are in the process of recruiting our next Chief Technology Officer, so do recommend colleagues and friends who seem well suited to be the next CC CTO!
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Announcing the Creative Commons Global Summit!

Jessica Coates, August 11th, 2011

We are thrilled to announce the 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit, now open for registration!

The Creative Commons Global Summit will take place over three full days from September 16-18 in Warsaw, Poland, and is generously hosted by our affiliates at CC Poland.

The theme of this year’s Summit is “Powering an Open Future.” As Creative Commons enters its second decade, prominent thinkers from the commons movement worldwide, including Sir John Daniels from the Commonwealth of Learning, Melissa Hagemann from the Open Society Foundations, CC board member Lawrence Lessig, and CC CEO Cathy Casserly, will come together with experts from our global Affiliate Network, CC staff, and key stakeholders to consider “what next”?

Central to the Summit will be a day-long CC Festival on Saturday, September 17th. This public day will feature a variety of panels, workshops, plenary speakers and a CC visual arts exhibition, showcasing the best of the commons now and in the future. It will include sessions focused on key areas of interest to the commons community worldwide, including education, science, government, data, business and the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) sector. Most excitingly, it will be followed in the evening by a CC Salon, a musical celebration of creativity, remix, and openness.

The Global Summit will also serve as a major meeting and planning forum for the CC community itself, with regional meetings, legal debates, community planning, training workshops, and general discussion and strategizing on the big issues for the next ten years of CC, including the new version 4.0 licenses and supporting and enhancing the Affiliate Network worldwide. The CC Board of Directors will be joining us at the Summit, specifically to meet with the community and engage in these broader discussions.

The Creative Commons Global Summit will be a chance for the whole commons community to communicate, celebrate and connect. We hope you can join us.

For more information, and to register, head on over to the Global Summit wiki. The 2011 Creative Commons Global Summit is a free event, but registration is required.

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Design the winning poster for the Creative Commons Global Summit!

Jane Park, August 10th, 2011

You may have heard about the Creative Commons Global Summit to be held in Warsaw, Poland this September. In the lead up to its public launch later this week, we want you, our community, to get involved!

Some of our CC affiliates in Asia are hosting a poster design competition for the summit, based on the theme, “Powering an Open Future.”

From the website,

The Creative Commons Global Summit 2011 provides an opportunity for volunteers, industry leaders and practitioners of the worldwide open content licensing movement to explore and showcase the past, present and future of Creative Commons, copyright and free culture. It will be an event focused on sharing, openness and collaboration, with an eye towards setting the path for the Creative Commons community over its next 10 years.

The winning designs (judged by an international panel and by popular vote) will be introduced at the Global Summit with people in attendance from all over the world, featured prominently at the venue and also as part of a CC visual arts exhibit. The designer will receive a gift of the printed poster from a professional publishing company in Warsaw.

All submissions must be licensed under the CC BY license and incorporate the CC Global Summit logo (see above for what that looks like). For the complete submission rules and to enter, visit the competition site. (In the case you are not fluent in Japanese, you can change the language to English in the upper right hand corner.)

The deadline is August 22 (Japan time & in less than two weeks!), so we look forward to seeing your creativity in action!

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Launch of The Public Domain Review website

Timothy Vollmer, August 10th, 2011

We’re pleased to see the launch of The Public Domain Review. The Review is a website with weekly updates in which scholars, writers, artists, librarians and others present an interesting or curious work (including films, photographs, texts and audio) from the public domain and write short accompanying articles about it that provide background, context, history, or other commentary or criticism. There are already several articles up on the site. The Review is also accepting submissions.

The Public Domain Review aspires to become a bounteous gateway into the whopping plenitude that is the public domain, helping our readers to explore this rich terrain by surfacing unusual and obscure works, and offering fresh reflections and unfamiliar angles on material which is more well known.

The Public Domain Review will highlight public domain materials from Wikimedia Commons, The Internet Archive, Flickr’s The Commons, and other sites. While all the multimedia content featured on the site is in the public domain, the reviews themselves are published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Congratulations to editors Adam Green and Jonathan Gray on launching this fascinating site that will share and celebrate the vast wonders of the public domain! You can sign up for updates, or follow on Twitter.

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Reporting the 3rd Creative Commons Arab Regional Meeting

Donatella Della Ratta, August 2nd, 2011

This year the third Arab regional meeting of Creative Commons (30th June-2nd July, Tunis) proved extraordinary, in keeping with prior gatherings in the region. Co-organized with Tunisian blogging platform Nawaat and sponsored by the Al Jazeera network, the event garnered CC volunteers from Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, UAE, Qatar, Iraq, Tunisia and, for the first time, welcomed three people from the Gaza strip—bloggers Bashar Lubbad and Nalan Sarraj and rapper Ayman Mghamis—who joined to contribute to two days of workshops focused on creativity, remixing and peer-production.

CC Arab community members Mahmoud Abu-Wardeh, Stephanie Terroir, Eman Jaradat, Darine Sabbagh, Pierre el Khoury, Issa Mahasneh, Kanaan Manasrah, Bassam Ali, and Bilal Randeree designed and led a variety of workshops on visual art, creative remix, open education, law, citizen journalism, and social media targeted to designers, bloggers, educators, lawyers and civil society members coming from Tunis and other Tunisian municipalities. All workshops were characterized by an emphasis on openness. In particular, a track devoted to the use of “open source tools for creative production” – led by Mahmoud and Stephanie from CC UAE team – showed the Tunisian workshop participants how to produce videos, cartoons and graphics by using exclusively open source software. The results of this workshop are the Visuals and video projections that have been projected during the final closing event of July 2nd.

Two full days of hands-on workshops were held at the Golden Tulip hotel in Tunis, in addition to two plenary sessions to discuss the future of CC in the Arab region with the presence of CC Chairman and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito. Al Jazeera`s Head of New Media, Mooed Ahmed, introduced the Creative Commons Al Jazeera repository and a number of other open projects initiated by the Qatari-based network, while Nawaat`s Sami Ben Gharbeia, Malek Khradhraoui and Riadh Guerfali spoke passionately about the role of bloggers and activists during the Tunisian revolution that ended the rule of President Ben Ali last January.

Oussama Barkia and Fedi Fedi from Kharabeesh delighted everybody with a screening of their CC BY-NC-ND-licensed web cartoons that mock Arab dictators, an example of the new Arab creativity that is no longer bounded by a fear of expressing thoughts and ideas freely.

The “grand finale” was truly a celebration of Arab creativity and of Arab youth who, during 2011, were able to seize their future and reinvent it. Since the events in the region had their starting point in Tunis, the celebration was also an homage to the Tunisian people, particularly the youth. On the 2nd of July, Tunisian and Arab artists — among them, Armada Bizerta, Lak3y, Yram, Aliaa, Badiaa Bouhrizi, Barbaroots, Yasser Shoukry — gathered at the stunning venue of Ennajma Ezzahra in Sidi Bou Said, Tunis to play music together in a concert which has been renamed “Sharing the Spring”, in reference to the “Arab spring”, a movement of change which has been spread all across the Arab world after the Tunisian revolution.

The concert was also an homage to the sharing culture that CC, together with many organizations and civil society activists, has contributed to spread out in the Region. During the CC regional meeting, musicians Mark Levine and Reda Zine conducted a music workshop with Tunisian and Arab artists, the results of which being two songs — “Mamnou3” (Forbidden) and “Thawra mustamirra” (Ongoing revolution) — entirely written and performed by its participants, musicians from a variety of Arab countries and music backgrounds, from heavy metal to rap to folk to classical Arab music. The artists are now working to produce the two original tracks and distribute them on a CD and on the Internet under a CC BY NC license.

Media resources
Visuals and video projections during the concert have also been the result of a creative workshop with Tunisian artists led by Mahmoud and Stephanie from CC UAE. The concert audio is now available, together with pictures on Flickr and Picasa, in addition to video footage of the event.

Media coverage
Tunisian and international media reviewed “Sharing the spring” concert, including Rolling Stone Middle East, Tunisian magazine Tekiano, Italian news agency Ansa, and Al Jazeera English.

Blog posts of the event are also widely available online, together with the report by Creative Commons Qatar.

For those who wish to stay tuned and learn more about the meeting, the concert and the upcoming CD, you can join the Creative Commons Arab regional mailing list or email donatella [at] creativecommons.org.

Thanks to eveybody who has contributed to make this event and concert a perfect example of the creativity and innovation that can be produced via collaboration and sharing.

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Creative Commons at the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues Congress

Tal Niv, August 2nd, 2011

Last month, CC participated in the yearly SERCI congress, which took place in Bilbao, Spain. SERCI is the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues. The SERCI congress is therefore intended to allow researchers to discuss their ongoing work with their peers and to further academic alliances between them for the benefit of future research enterprises. We were only able to participate following a rigorous process in which our research outputs were refereed.

Just to give you an idea of the people we were fortunate to meet at SERCI and how interesting and critically important their research is, attending was Nancy Gallini (University of British Colombia), who was discussing antitrust implications of copyright bundles, such as the ones arguably created by collecting societies. Participating was also Michael Yuan (Roger Williams University) who was discussing a paper he wrote along with Koji Domon (Waseda University) presenting their research comparing between copyright systems of “Indefinitely Renewable Copyright” and the current system. Christian Handke (Erasmus University of Rotterdam) spoke about Copyright and its “Effects on Different Types of Innovation”, and Jin-Hyuk Kim (the University of Cambridge) was discussing his work on copyright levies. These participants were just part of a very long list of prominent researchers from all over the world, and the person orchestrating it all was Richard Watt from the University of Canterbury.

As you can probably tell from the titles of the papers, we were delighted to find at the congress academics highly involved in research directly intended to impact global, international and national copyright policy! That, as well as the quality of their input, is why they have the ear of policy makers and this is why they are right up our alley!

So to serve as an example for how high the level of involvement of these academics in policy-making circles reaches, at SERCI we met economists who work for governmental authorities such as Benjamin Mitra-Kahn (UK Intellectual Property Office), Dimiter Gantchev (WIPO) and Raphael Solomon (Copyright Board of Canada). Benjamin was speaking about the Hargreaves report, which is a review of Intellectual Property and Growth, initiated in November 2010 by England’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, conducted by Prof. Ian Hargreaves. And Dimiter Gantchev was discussing the recent discussions ongoing in WIPO about global copyright registries.

I believe I can objectively report that the level of interest from participants in Creative Commons was very high. And our own topic for discussion can be essentially described as ourselves: Our presentation was about our ongoing project about CC’s economic contribution (see especially first, fourth and fifth posts about the project, and of course, the paper itself). Several good results came from our participation:

First, we were able to arouse a lot of interest among this global community of researchers, and boy, did we cherish the attention! For instance, people were asking how CC is impacting the copyright environment that applies to its different communities, how exactly the process of applying the license works, how CC analyzes its users’ incentives, etc.

Everybody who was there now knows what we do and how important we are in the space of spurring the operation of our different communities (through enhanced sharing and transactional benefits). Obviously, this newly acquired knowledge about CC is bound to be shared with researchers in the respective institutions of the participants, thus percolating through the community of scholars and increasing our renown, as an organization and as a platform.

The critically important implication of all this is that when these scholars are voicing their opinions in policy-making circles, it is highly probable that they will now be offering CC as potential solution for different problems that hinder the activity within our target communities, of creators, scientists, educators, governments, NGOs, individual data contributors, etc.

Second, we were able to receive substantial advice on the project we came in to present. For instance, we discussed with the other participants the decisions we have made to look at our contribution in different CC communities separately and only then at cross-influences, our understanding of our user incentives and our ability to substantially reduce transaction costs, as well as our suggested formulation of how the sharing and collaboration we promote benefits welfare and individuals.

Third, we struck bonds with some new studious friends – and CC now has more colleagues within the research community. This means that we can count on collaborations for CC-oriented research, which we are conducting, and also that we can expect others to initiate and conduct independent research on CC themes.

To make a long story short, SERCI has been what was expected and more, and we are already looking forward to implementing what we’ve learned, to start our cooperation with the scholars we met and to make plans for our next such event!

Note: The SERCI Congress program which is linked to is not updated. We are told by SERCI that it will be, to include the names of all the participants in the coming days.

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CC Talks With: Sir John Daniel of the Commonwealth of Learning: Open Education and Policy

Timothy Vollmer, July 27th, 2011

Sir John Daniel has been working in open education from its earliest days. “Openness is in my genes,” he says. Sir John is President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, or COL. COL is an intergovernmental organization comprised of 54 member states. The overarching focus area for COL is “learning for development.” It aims to help its member nations—especially developing countries—use technology and develop new approaches to expand and approve learning at all levels. Sir John’s first interaction at COL happened over 20 years ago, when he chaired its planning committee. At that time, he was president of Canada’s Laurentian University. He went from there to lead the Open University in the UK, and then served as head of Education at UNESCO. Sir John’s colleague, Dr. Venkataraman Balaji, is Director of Technology and Knowledge Management, and led the efforts in crafting COL’s recent Open Educational Resources policy.

What were the primary motivations in developing an OER policy at COL? What hurdles (legal, social, cultural) did you have to overcome, both within the organization and among the member states?

We’re in the open business, so it made sense to communicate a formal open policy prominently on our website. It really wasn’t a problem, and there were few hurdles inside COL. We drafted the policy, it went through a few iterations within our staff, and then we adopted it. That said, we should be clear that we didn’t take this policy to the member states for review. We’re a small organization, and we do not have a general assembly of our membership. So, we didn’t have to wade through the politics of getting all the states to sign on. However, we didn’t develop the OER policy just pat ourselves on our back. We want to show the world that supporting open education is how we all should behave these days.

The work of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) is very important, but to the outside observer it is sometimes not apparent what IGOs do. What does COL do to “encourage and support governments and institutions to establish supportive policy frameworks to introduce practices relating to OER”?

If I may be so bold, I think your question reflects an American bias. The United States and other large, powerful countries tend to operate bilaterally. Smaller countries prefer the facilitative, collaborative approach of working via intergovernmental organizations. UNESCO is the extreme example, where 193 countries operate democratically, and everyone’s voice is at least in principle equal. When I worked at UNESCO, I was surprised how seriously the member states took the recommendations that were developed. They trust that sort of process more than directives that come at them bilaterally.

In general, the IGO process aims to get countries to work together to do things they cannot do separately. One example is a virtual university for small states within the Commonwealth. Since two-thirds of the 54 member states are nations with populations of 2 million or less, they have fewer resources to spend on content creation. You can imagine when the dot com boom came along the small states were worried how they could come to terms with all the potential benefits (and address the challenges) of this rapidly changing digital, networked world. So their ministers of education looked at the challenge and said, “if we can’t crack it individually, why not crack it collectively?” COL helped them start a ‘virtual university’, which is not a new institution but a collaborative network where countries and institutions can work together to produce course materials as OER that they can all adapt and use. This virtual university has developed curriculum in various areas, such as a diploma in sustainable agriculture for small states. You can imagine that agricultural practices in a place like the atolls of the Maldives are very different than agriculture in the volcanic islands of Dominica. However, developing a vanilla version of the curriculum and then allowing each region to tailor the resources to the specifics of their own agricultural ecosystem has proved much more efficient than each state starting from scratch. A condition of participating in the virtual university is that anything you create must be released as OER.

COL has chosen the CC BY-SA license for its own materials. Can you describe how the organization decided upon this license for its resources?

Well, our policy simply says COL will release its own materials under the most feasible open license, which includes the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. We understand why MIT OCW adopted a noncommercial license for its materials—they were the first to do it and didn’t know what was going to happen. But now, we encourage people to not use noncommercial if they can avoid it, and we follow our own recommendation. It wasn’t until Dr. Balaji arrived that we were able to sort through the legal and technical challenges that COL, as an intergovernmental organization, faced in adopting an open license.

Many of the COL member states are located in the global south. How does an OER policy affect global south states differently than the global north?

I’m exaggerating quite a bit here, but we’ve observed that in the north people are more focused on producing OER and that in the south people are more focused on how they can use OER. Just a few months ago I was at the Open Courseware Conference in Boston. Perhaps three-fourths of the presentations there focused on producing OER, while only a small number were about re-purposing and reusing OER content. This has to change for the OER movement to take off.

In the south, there’s a cautious attitude of “there’s lots of stuff available, why not use it?” We’ve been encouraging the north to take a more universal approach and think multidirectionally. This is why we’re delighted that a school like the University of Michigan is using OER from Malawi and Ghana in its medical programs. Why should the University of Michigan create OERs about tropical diseases when there are folks that live in the tropics that can do it better? So, we encourage people to see OER production and use as a multi-directional flow.

Can you discuss the goals and outcomes of the Taking OER beyond the OER community project, organized by COL and UNESCO. What’s next?

This project has a long history, and really goes back all the way to the origin of the term Open Educational Resources. But more recently, in 2009 UNESCO hosted a world conference on higher education. That event didn’t ruffle feathers in the north so much, but influenced thinking in the south. It reiterated the importance of open distance learning, ICTs, and particularly emphasized the global sharing of OER to expand quality higher education. COL picked up the work with UNESCO. We realized that unless there is a much wider appreciation of what OER is, it’s not going anywhere. And as the name of the project implies, our goal was to advocate to those outside of the already-established open education community. We held six face-to-face workshops in Africa and Asia. These were mainly aimed at university presidents, quality assurance groups, and those interested in open distance learning.

Last December we held a policy forum at UNESCO in Paris to pull these threads together. We decided there that it would be helpful to develop a set of OER guidelines targeted at key stakeholder groups. These included governments, higher education institutions, teacher and student groups, quality assurance agencies, and qualification bodies. We’ve been iterating on these guidelines since then, and they are now being distributed for wide consultation. In October of this year there will be another policy forum where the OER guidelines for higher education will be put into final form. We hope to unveil these recommendations at the UNESCO general conference in November alongside an OER platform UNESCO will also be launching at that time.

Over the winter, we wish to conduct a rather extensive survey of governments around the world to find out where they are on policies related to OER, open access, open formats, and other related topics. Surveying governments is not an easy task, especially when they don’t always understand the questions you are asking. But, if all goes well, those survey results will be pulled together, to the end of working toward an update to the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. There’s a desire for COL and UNESCO to mark the 10th anniversary of the launch of the term “Open Educational Resources” with a conference in June 2012 at which countries can sign an updated declaration.

What do you predict will be the impact of the COL OER policy, and what would you like to see come out of this? What can you recommend to other IGOs that are beginning to think about developing an open education policy?

My advice is to just do it and don’t get too fussed about the license at the beginning. We hope that our small organization, which seems to have an influence larger than its size, will be the grain of sand in the oyster for other IGOs. UNESCO is working to get on the right page; given their name it would seem peculiar if they are not more in the ‘open’ business. But I understand the problem with large organizations. When you look at UNESCO, you’ve got general assemblies with lots of people that don’t like things unless they’re invented there. For example, everyone in the world wants for there to be standardization in electrical sockets, as long as the standard that is adopted is the one they use. Those organizations interested in adopting an open policy should start small, and work their way through the problems as they go. If you try to make your entire back catalog available, you’ll be lost. Those big intergovernmental organizations should say, “from now on, we’re going to be as open as we can be.” An important thing is to adopt the philosophy of openness.

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