Commons News

CC Talks With: The Shuttleworth Foundation on CC BY as default and commercial enterprises in education

Jane Park, December 22nd, 2009

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Photo by Mark Surman CC BY-NC-SA

For those of you who don’t know Karien Bezuidenhout, she is the Chief Operating Officer at the Shuttleworth Foundation, one of the few foundations that fund open education projects and who have an open licensing policy for their grantees. A couple months ago, I had the chance to meet Karien despite a six hour time difference—she was in Capetown, South Africa—I was in Brooklyn, New York. Via Skype, I asked her about Shuttleworth’s evolving default license (CC BY-SA to CC BY), her personal stake in OER, and how she envisions us (CC Learn and Shuttleworth) working together. She also gave me some insights into three innovative open education projects they have a hand in: Siyavula, M4Lit, and Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU).

The conversation below is more or less transcribed and edited for clarity. It makes for great holiday or airplane reading, and if you’re pressed for time, you can skip to the topics or projects that interest you. This is CC Learn’s last Inside OER feature of 2009—so enjoy, and happy whatever-it-is-that-you-are-doing-in-your-part-of-the-world!

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Commoner Letter #6: Stephen Friend of Sage Bionetworks

Allison Domicone, December 21st, 2009

Stephen Friend is the President, CEO, and co-founder of Sage Bionetworks. He was previously a Senior Vice President at Merck & Co., Inc. where he led Merck’s Basic Cancer Research efforts. Stephen is a committed advocate of Science Commons, the wing of Creative Commons dedicated to making the Web work for science. Stephen’s innovative work with Sage creating an open access bionetwork is inspiring and commendable, and we’re honored to have him write the sixth letter in the Commoner Letter series of this year’s fundraising campaign. We hope you will be inspired by his story of scientists coming together to grow a commons that will help speed medical innovation and discovery and will join him in supporting Creative Commons today.


Stephen Friend

Dear Creative Commoner,

I’m writing today as the President and co-founder of Sage Bionetworks, a new non-profit medical research organization. At Sage, we’re working to build a pre-competitive space for scientists, research foundations, and research institutions to collaboratively discover the way diseases really work in the human body.

I started my career as a doctor, treating kids with cancer. My experience there led me into a deep study of genetics, and into the use of software and computation to investigate diseases by filtering genome data. For a long time, the field has been dominated by a reductionist approach to disease, and by the idea that success would come to individual groups who gathered and mined their own self generated enclosed data and content.

With my scientific partner Eric Schadt, we built software and databases at Merck that assemble “globally coherent” data (like clinical outcomes, genetic variation, intermediate traits, drug reactions) into unified predictive models. We have proven that it works.

But after spending seven years building massive models of human disease it becomes clear to me that no single company, not even one as big as Merck, could possibly gather and integrate enough information to make the decisions we need to make about when and how to treat something as complicated as cancer or Alzheimer’s, or for that matter, cardiovascular disease.

It was going to take a collaborative effort. I saw inspiration in Wikipedia, in GNU/Linux, in systems that were capable of scaling far beyond the capacity of a single institution.

So I decided to leave Merck, and build the seed of an open, pre-competitive space in biology using what we’d done inside the company. Merck gave us more than $150,000,000 worth of work, software and data and supercomputers, and we launched this fall with funding from disease foundations and other donors.

Our goal is ambitious. We want to take biology from a place where enclosure and privacy are the norm, where biologists see themselves as lone hunter-gatherers working to get papers written, to one where the knowledge is created specifically to fit into an open model where it can be openly queried and transformed. To learn more, please look at our website at www.sagebase.org. We feel very fortunate to be working with the Science Commons project at Creative Commons on the construction of a scalable, open commons for biological research.

What Creative Commons is doing to build scalable communities who share – whether it’s creative works like photographs, stem cells, patents, or massive biological data like we’re doing at Sage – is essential infrastructure for the Web. Our goals at Sage won’t be realized if we can’t build a commons for us, for our users, for our patients.

I strongly urge you to join the fall campaign to support Creative Commons with a donation, and I also urge you to get out there and start licensing!


Stephen H. Friend
President, CEO and a Co-Founder, Sage Bionetworks

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Intellectual backing for the CC paradigm shift

Mike Linksvayer, December 21st, 2009

Our board member Hal Abelson points us to Modeling a Paradigm Shift: From Producer Innovation to User and Open Collaborative Innovation , an important new paper by Carliss Y. Baldwin and Eric von Hippel. If you’re interested in the theoretical case for the ascendancy of innovation and creativity in the commons — and for policy that does not cripple the commons — read, or at least skim these highly readable 29 pages. Their first policy recommendation should come as no surprise:

The roots of this apparent bias in favor of closed, producer-centered innovation are certainly understandable – the ascendent models of innovation we have discussed in this paper were less prevalent before the radical decline in design and communication costs brought about by computers and the Internet. But once the welfare-enhancing benefits of open single user innovation and open collaborative innovation are understood, policymakers can – and we think should – take steps to offset any existing biases. Examples of useful steps are easy to find.

First, as was mentioned earlier, intellectual property rights grants can be used as the basis for licenses that help keep innovation open as well as keep it closed (O’Mahony 2003). Policymakers can add support of “open licensing” infrastructures such as the Creative Commons license for writings, and the General Public License for open source software code, to the tasks of existing intellectual property offices. More generally, they should seek out and eliminate points of conflict between present intellectual property policies designed to support closed innovation, but that at the same time inadvertently interfere with open innovation.

You can be a policymaker — share, discover, and support the commons. Regarding the last, read and heed Hal Abelson’s personal appeal — in this you’ll join Eric von Hippel, co-author of the above paper (see contributor list on Hal’s page).

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We Met Twitter’s $3k Matching Challenge! Happy Birthday CC!

Allison Domicone, December 17th, 2009

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Thanks to everyone who donated to help us meet Twitter’s $3,000 matching giving challenge in record time! This is particularly great news, since today marks CC’s 7th birthday, so thanks to Twitter and thanks to everyone who donated – we’ve now raised a total of $6,000 toward our annual fundraising campaign!

We’re honored to have Twitter’s support, since the social networking site has played a huge role for CC over the past year. We use Twitter to engage directly and efficiently with people worldwide who care about participatory culture and the innovation and social good that come from it, and as a nonprofit we’re grateful for this valuable medium for giving and getting feedback, promoting projects, and announcing milestones. If you’re not one of the more than 240,000 people already following us on Twitter, visit our page and become one! It’s a simple way to stay up to date with all things CC.

Help ensure that Creative Commons is around for another seven years! We need everyone’s contribution in this final push for our 2009 annual campaign, so please donate today!

CC 7 years

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Deadline extended for Talis Incubator for Open Education

Jane Park, December 17th, 2009

As an early xmas present, Talis Education has extended the deadline for the Talis angel fund to January 31, 2010, one full month later than the original deadline to give you a chance to hone your proposals (or begin writing them after the holidays). If you don’t remember, I blogged about the Talis angel fund for open education in August when it launched:

“Talis Education launched an angel fund for open education, called the Talis Incubator for Open Education. Talis Education is providing funds up to “£15,000 to help individuals or small groups who have big ideas about furthering the cause of Open Education. All Talis asks in return is that the project deliverables are ‘open sourced’ and the intellectual property returned back to the community, allowing it to be used freely. Talis won’t, and never will, exert any rights to the intellectual property or ideas that are funded.”

Talis Education is licensed CC BY. Check out the announcement for more details.

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Dlaczego CC BY? (Why CC BY? in Polish)

Jane Park, December 17th, 2009

We are excited to highlight the first Polish translation of our CC Learn Productions. CC Poland has translated and adapted a CC Learn Recommendations doc—Why CC BY? into Polish: Dlaczego CC BY? The reason CC Poland could lead the way in translation and adaptation (and can do the same with all of our productions)? Because they’re licensed CC BY, which means anyone is free to translate, remix, republish, recolor, make a billion copies of… our work. Check out the Polish translation on the CC wiki, where we have set up a page for translations from around the world. Source files are available in Open Office (odt) as well as PDF, which you can also download from our newly revamped Productions page on the learn site at learn.creativecommons.org/productions.

We encourage you or anyone you know to translate and adapt our productions to your local and lingual context, and upload your translation to the wiki. Open educational resources work because there is a global community around them, and the CC Learn team fervently wishes we were fluent in more than a couple languages. However, we know we have an amazing community of people around the world who believe in the same things we do—so please help promote the movement in your region. Some suggested documents for translation are Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons Licensing, Why CC BY?, and Remixing OER: A Guide to License Compatibility. These are just a few key documents to get people’s feet wet to the idea of OER.

You can also create your own community on OpenED for your local project or region, where ES and Brazilian communities have currently dropped anchors. It’s a wiki as well–so anyone can create an account and start editing.

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2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition

Jane Park, December 17th, 2009

HASTAC’s third annual Digital Media and Learning Competition launched yesterday, an initiative supported by the MacArthur Foundation. Last year‘s theme was participatory learning, and CC Learn was awarded a grant for Student Journalism 2.0—a pilot initiative “engaging high school students in understanding the legal and technical issues intrinsic to new and evolving journalistic practices.” The pilot, by the way, is in full swing, and we are entering our second semester after the holidays. Check out sj.creativecommons.org for updates.

This year’s DMLC theme is “Competition is Reimagining Learning and there are two types of awards: 21st Century Learning Lab Designers and Game Changers.” From the announcement,

“Aligned with National Lab Day as part of the White House’s Educate to Innovate Initiative, the 21st Century Learning Lab Designer awards will range from $30,000-$200,000. Awards will be made for learning environments and digital media-based experiences that allow young people to grapple with social challenges through activities based on the social nature, contexts, and ideas of science, technology, engineering and math.”

For more or to apply, see dmlcompetition.net. The winning products and/or programs in the 21st Century Learning Lab Designers category will be licensed CC BY-NC-SA or be available as Open Source.

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TEDxNYED

Jane Park, December 16th, 2009

tedxnyed
You’ve all heard of the TED Conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design), the annual meeting of great minds with amazing 20 minute speeches that share what they’ve been doing with their lives. But not all of you may have heard of TEDx—spinoffs off TED that are independently organized around a central theme or idea.

TEDxNYED is one of those spinoffs—“an all-day conference dedicated to examining the intersection of education, new media, and technology, will take place on March 6, 2010 in New York City.” The speaker line-up includes our own Larry Lessig (founder and board member of CC), Michael Wesch (a cultural anthropologist who created those awesome YouTube videos like “Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us”), Neeru Khosla (Co-founder of the CK12 Foundation that submitted seven open textbooks to California’s Free Digital Textbook Initiative), and David Wiley (big thinker in open education and associate professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at BYU).

CC Learn is partnering with TEDxNYED and Whipple Hill to help with this amazing event. With currently 300 or so people expected to attend, space is limited, so please apply if you would like to join. “TEDx NYED is particularly seeking applicants who work in and around education and who are dedicated to reforming schools from the inside-out as well as outside-in. Those interested in attending should apply at http://tedxnyed.com/apply.”

From the press release,

“TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited
to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology,
Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our
future… The diverse audience — CEOs, scientists, creatives, philanthropists — is
almost as extraordinary as the speakers, who have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane
Goodall, Frank Gehry, Paul Simon, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono.

At the TEDx NYED event, live speakers, two Ted Talks videos, and networking
sessions will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The
TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx
events, including ours, are self-organized.”

All TED Talks are licensed CC BY-NC-ND.

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Twitter Wants to Double Your Donation to our Annual Campaign!

Allison Domicone, December 15th, 2009

Twitter

This week marks Creative Commons’ 7th birthday, and Twitter is helping us celebrate by generously matching all donations made to our annual fundraising campaign for the next week, up to $3,000. Even if you’ve already contributed, give whatever you can today – Twitter will match your donation so that it goes twice as far towards supporting CC.

Creative Commons uses Twitter to engage directly and efficiently with people worldwide who care about participatory culture and the innovation and social good that come from it. Twitter provides a valuable way for nonprofits like us to give and get feedback, promote projects, and announce milestones. If you’re not one of the more than 240,000 people already following us on Twitter, visit our page and become one! It’s a simple way to stay up to date with all things CC.

Here’s another way to support Creative Commons during its birthday week: When you tweet this week, include the hashtag #cc and link to our support page, to let your community know that you value the work Creative Commons does:

Click here to tweet Twitter is matching donations to @creativecommons! http://bit.ly/5qiRE8 Show your support http://bit.ly/10w0w8 #cc.

We need everyone’s contribution in this final push for our 2009 annual campaign, so please donate today!

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The Complete Guide to Google Wave is BY-SA

Cameron Parkins, December 14th, 2009

googlewaveGina Trapani and Adam Pash are editors at Lifehacker, but over the last couple of months they’ve been penning (wiki-ying?) a guide to Google Wave. Their hard work has paid off as a preview edition of The Complete Guide to Google Wave is now available for purchase as a DRM-free PDF. The first edition of the book will be debuting in January as both a PDF and a softcover print book with new editions to follow throughout 2010.

What’s particularly salient to those in the CC-community is that Trapani and Pash have authored and collaborated on the book using MediaWiki and are releasing its content under our Attribution-ShareAlike license. This means the book is not only compatible with Wikipedia (allowing it to be imported to and exported from the encyclopedia), but also free to share, sell, and reproduce online – a decision that is already bearing fruit in the form of a full Japanese translation.

You can learn more about the project at their website, where the guide will continue to be freely available.

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