Commons News

Why are we prosecuting students for sharing knowledge?

Timothy Vollmer, September 18th, 2014

In July the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote about the predicament that Colombian student Diego Gomez found himself in after he shared a research article online. Gomez is a graduate student in conservation and wildlife management at a small university. He has generally poor access to many of the resources and databases that would help him conduct his research. Paltry access to useful materials combined with a natural culture of sharing amongst researchers prompted Gomez shared a paper on Scribd so that he and others could access it for their work. The practice of learning and sharing under less-than-ideal circumstances could land Diego in prison.

The EFF reports that upon learning of this unauthorized sharing, the author of the research article filed criminal complaint against Gomez. The charges lodged against Diego could put him in prison for 4-8 years. The trial has started, and the court will need to take into account several factors: including whether there was any malicious intent to the action, and whether there was any actual harm against the economic rights of the author.

Today EFF, Creative Commons, Right to Research Coalition, and Open Access Button are launching a campaign to help raise awareness about Diego’s situation, to promote a reasonable handling of his and similar cases, and to support open access policies and practices. We hope you’ll sign on.


Let’s stand together to promote Open Access worldwide.

Help Diego Gomez and join academics and users in fighting outdated laws and practices that keep valuable research locked up for no good reason.

Diego Gomez, a Colombian graduate student, currently faces up to eight years in prison for doing something thousands of researchers do every day: posting research results online for those who would not otherwise have a way to access them.

If open access were the default for scholarly communication, cases like Diego’s would become obsolete.

Academic research would be free to access and available under an open license that would legally enable the kind of sharing that is so crucial for enabling scientific progress.

When research is shared freely and openly, we all benefit. Sign the petition to express your support for Open Access as the default for scientific and scholarly publishing, so researchers like Diego don’t risk severe penalties for helping colleagues access the research they need.

Sign-on statement:
Scientific and scholarly progress relies upon the exchange of ideas and research. We all benefit when research is shared widely, freely, and openly. I support an Open Access system for academic publishing that makes research free for anyone to read and re-use; one that is inclusive of all and doesn’t force researchers like Diego Gomez to risk severe penalties for helping colleagues access the research they need.

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Daily awesome from the internet: CC presents the Thing of the Day

Elliot Harmon, September 15th, 2014

When you go searching for Creative Commons–licensed content, you never know what you’ll find. Sometimes you’ll find the exact photo or piece of sound you were looking for, and sometimes you’ll find something you never could have imagined.

We’ve created a new Tumblr blog to celebrate those unusual, beautiful, and quirky CC finds from around the web. It’s the Creative Commons Thing of the Day!

Sign up to get the Thing of the Day delivered to your inbox every morning.

Here’s the last week and a half in Thing of the Day.


Italic Shelf / Ronen Kadushin / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Ronen Kadushin designs unusual pieces of furniture like this unorthodox bookcase. He shares the designs under Creative Commons licenses and invites people to experiment with them, adapt them, and share their modified versions. Kadushin writes, “An open design value is increased with wider modification possibilities and transformation potentials into other products. Designs that typically live only a few years in the marketplace can live on and develop into new shapes and uses.”


Buy My Bed in Brooklyn / Jonathan Mann / CC BY 3.0

Jonathan Mann writes a song every day. Many of them tackle complex emotions and ideas. But inevitably, a lot of them are just silly, like “Buy My Bed in Brooklyn.” In songs like “Buy My Bed,” we see a songwriter whose talent lies in his childlike approach to day-to-day life.

On why he licenses all his music under CC, Jonathan told us, “It’s kind of a no-brainer… I don’t even really understand why anyone would do anything different. It makes such simple sense.”


Coming Out Simulator / Nicky Case / CC0

Nicky Case creates videogames that deal with issues many videogame designers wouldn’t touch. Nicky’s Nothing to Hide is a frank look at government and corporate surveillance, and an addictive puzzle game to boot.

Coming Out Simulator is a semiautobiographical game about Nicky coming out of the closet to their parents. The player is given choices of what to say, but the heartwrenching ending is inevitable.


Andrew Archer / CC BY-NC 3.0

Illustrator Andrew Archer drew these terrifying images of a post-apocalyptic California for a feature in California Magazine.


Found in Translation / Anjaya Iyer / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

These gorgeous prints feature words that capture ideas and feelings we’ve all experienced, but that don’t translate well into English. By introducing such perfect words to English speakers, they serve as a testament to the way that languages constantly grow, adapt, and borrow words from each other.


Copyright / XKCD / CC BY-NC 2.5

It even happens to us some days.


프라하 까를교 악사 / Miyoung Yi / CC BY 2.0

Miyoung Yi’s gorgeous drawings capture everyday moments, both in her home country of South Korea and around the world. As a Creative Commons activist, she encourages other Koreans to consider sharing their work under open licenses.


Steven Lewis / CC0

Here at CC, we’re huge fans of the photography blog Unsplash. The blog presents a single photo every day – the Unsplash curators have a great eye for delightful slices of life. The best part is that all of the photos are available under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication, meaning that anyone can use them for any purpose, commercial or noncommercial, with or without attribution.


Silhouettes / The OO-Ray / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Illustration: Broken window / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The OO-Ray’s Silhouettes is a great example of how Creative Commons–licensed work can take on a life of its own. The OO-Ray (né Ted Laderas) composed and recorded the piece in 2011. Since then, it’s appeared in dozens of videos thanks to its CC license. As Laderas told SoundCloud, “It’s incredibly energizing to see that people like your music so much to include it in their video.”

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Hey, CC musicians! Enter the Free! Music! Contest!

Elliot Harmon, September 15th, 2014

Every year, our friends at Musikpiraten e.V. host the Free! Music! Contest to find the best Creative Commons–licensed music of the year. CC is proud to serve as a partner in this awesome tradition.

This year, anyone who preorders the album of winning selections earns the right to vote for their favorite entries. From the announcement:

“With the public voting we want to achieve two things,” explains Christian Hufgard, chairman of the Musikpiraten. “On the one hand, the selection of songs on the CDs are placed on a broader footing. And the obvious choice is to give a voice to those who will hear the CDs afterwards? But we also hope that the participating bands indicate their fans even before publication of the sampler the competition and we still get the more attention.”

Additionally, German gothic rock band Aeon Sable is offering a special prize for remixing its song “Visions,” which the band has shared a multitrack version of under CC BY-NC.

Submissions are due September 30. Check it out!

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Creative Commons launches School of Open events in Tanzania and Nigeria

Jane Park, September 12th, 2014

Today and tomorrow the School of Open launches in Tanzania and Nigeria in conjunction with Mozilla Maker Party!

SOO AfricaV2
(SOO logo here. Earth icon licensed CC BY by Erin Standley from the Noun Project.)

In Tanzania, CC Tanzania is hosting a creative event for kids at the Open University of Tanzania, the first university in the region to offer open and distant learning programs. Kids will use the Internet and open educational resources to create animations. This event occurs today: see the Maker Party page for details. It marks the launch of three training programs around ICT empowerment training for unemployed youth, teaching persons with disabilities how to use computers, and training educators on using ICT to improve how they teach their students.

In Nigeria, CC Nigeria is hosting a web building skills event for the public at the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies at the University of Lagos. Anyone may join to learn how to build the web and share creative works through Mozilla and CC tools. The opening ceremony and maker party are tomorrow, see the Maker Party page for details. The event also marks the launch of a five-week training program around Nigerian copyright and Linux Operating System. During the opening ceremony, SOO Nigeria’s facilitators, partners and supporters will meet and set expectations for program participants. See the School of Open Nigeria page for more details. You can follow SOO Nigeria on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtags #SOOAfrica and #MakerParty.

School of Open launch events are also set to occur in Kenya and South Africa — stay tuned! (Read more about their plans here.)


About Maker Party

School of Open and Creative Commons is excited to be partnering with Mozilla to celebrate teaching and learning the web with Maker Party. Through thousands of community-run events around the world, Maker Party unites educators, organizations and enthusiastic Internet users of all ages and skill levels.

We share Mozilla’s belief that the web is a global public resource that’s integral to modern life: it shapes how we learn, how we connect and how we communicate. But many of us don’t understand its basic mechanics or what it means to be a citizen of the web. That’s why we’re supporting this global effort to teach web literacy through hands-on learning and making with Maker Party.

About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, 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.

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Time is running out: We all need to support a fair and neutral Internet

Timothy Vollmer, September 10th, 2014

Today a large group of companies and organizations are raising awareness about the importance of net neutrality by joining the Internet Slowdown campaign. The action asks what would happen if large internet service providers (ISPs) and cable companies get their way and are able to squash net neutrality. Net neutrality is the concept that ISPs should treat all data that travels over their networks equally. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a framework for “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet.” But to many companies and users the guidelines are inadequate for truly supporting an open internet. Instead, some think that the FCC proposal props the door open for ISPs to offer internet “fast lanes” to customers who can pay more–thus breaking the principle of network neutrality.

Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools support access and reuse of hundreds of millions of pieces of creative work by allowing creators to attach rights information about how they wish to share their creativity. And of course, open licensing is just one part of the ecosystem of sharing. CC helps break down copyright barriers to online sharing, but without net neutrality, the sharing of all works (both CC licensed and not) will be restricted from the users who cannot cough up the money to jump into the fast lane. Creators should be able to share content on equal footing. And users should be able to access and reuse that shared content via a fair and open internet.

The FCC has been soliciting feedback from the public. You can support the campaign for net neutrality at Battle for the Net and sign the letter which will be sent to your members of Congress, the FCC, and the White House. And you can still have your voice heard by sending your comments to the FCC. The public comment period ends on 15 September.

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MapWorks Learning combines OER and open data to protect threatened biodiversity

Billy Meinke, August 28th, 2014

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

Screenshot 2014-08-21 14.45.03

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

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

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

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

Jane Park, August 27th, 2014

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

Why did we have the 2nd OER Summer Camp?

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

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

Can we create some OER courses?

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

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

What courses did we create?

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

1. The introduction of traffic signs (video)

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

Comprehensive water treatment
ZHU Renkai / CC BY

3. Interesting Japanese language (video)

Interesting Japanese language
WANG Hongying / CC BY

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

Traditional China handwork
WAN Yu / CC BY

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

Interesting Traditional Chinese Medicine
WANG Hongying / CC BY

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

Interesting history
ZHU Renkai / CC BY

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

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

Course for seniors in the island
WANG Hongying / CC BY

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

Pink ribbon
YANG Jiayi / CC BY

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

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

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

Feedback from Participants of the 2nd Luxi Summer Camp

Students’ comments on the OER summer camp:

CHEN Xinhao, Grade One:

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

CHEN Yanjie, Grade Four:

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

MIAO Xiaoting, Grade Four:

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

ZHENG Ruize, Grade Six:

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

Volunteers’ comments on OER summer camp:

QIN Xu, age 19, major in Law:

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

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

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

LIU Hanzhong, age 19, major in rehabilitation:

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


About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

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

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CC Salon in San Francisco: Public Domain FTW!

Elliot Harmon, August 26th, 2014


Source photo: Philipp Henzler, CC0

RSVP on Eventbrite
RSVP on Facebook

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

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

Speakers

Parker Higgins
EFF activist

Anne Wootton
Pop Up Archive CEO

Ryan Merkley
Creative Commons CEO

Nicky Case
videogame developer

About General Assembly

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

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Wiki Loves Monuments: bringing open to Pakistan

Jessica Coates, August 25th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lahore Fort

Lahore Fort / M. Umair / CC BY

What is the history of Wiki Loves Monuments?

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

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

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

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

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

Why is Creative Commons licensing important to the competition?

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

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

How do people get involved?

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

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

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

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

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A new course on Open Research at the School of Open

Jane Park, August 25th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the OER Research Hub

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

About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

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

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