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Open Education and Open Science in Poland

Open Education

Two very important conferences were held in Warsaw earlier this month (and late last month): “Open Educational Resources in Poland” (23 April) and “Open Science in Poland” (5 May). Alek Tarkowski, Public Lead of Creative Commons Poland, elaborates on the open education workshops held at each conference, one of which was led by ccLearn’s Ahrash Bissell:

“Two practical workshops on open education were organized by the Coalition for Open Education (KOED) in coincidence with two conferences taking place in Warsaw in April and May 2009: the conference on open education on 23rd of April 2009 and the conference on open science on 6th of May 2009. The first workshop, conducted by Susan d’Antoni from UNESCO and Richard Baraniuk from the Connexions project at Rice University, provided an overview of practical issues tied to open education, such as community building, IT tools and development strategies. The second workshop, led by Ahrash Bissell from ccLearn, focused on open licensing issues.

The two workshops were attended by a dozen representatives of NGOs active in the field of education and culture, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Education. Most important, they provided an opportunity for people working with open educational projects or considering starting such a project to meet and network.

As a result of the project, the Coalition for Open Education hopes to increase its number of member institutions, as well as enable the growth of open educational projects in Poland.”

For information on the conferences themselves, check out Alek’s detailed reports for both.

Open Educational Resources in Poland

The conference, “Open Educational Resources in Poland”, was organized on the 23rd of April, 2009 in the Column Hall of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland by the Coalition for Open Education (KOED). The conference was held under the honorary patronage of Bronisław Komorowski – the Marshal of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland.

The aim of the conference was to present the open education movement and the model of open educational materials for all levels of the educational process, to argue for the importance of open education in Poland, and to increase broad interest and involvement. This first-in-its-kind event, organized as a parliamentary conference, drew the attention of both government members and Parliament members to the issue of open education.

The conference was attended by 250 participants, including government officials, educators and scientists, librarians and NGO representatives. Among honorary participants were: Bronisław Komorowski, the Marshal of the Parliament; Katarzyna Hall, the Minister of Education, and several members of the Parliament: Krzysztof Tyszkiewicz, Andrzej Celiński, Marcin Zawiła, Renata Butryn, Tadeusz Ross and Tadeusz Borowski.

Opening the conference, Bronisław Komorowski said: “I hope that the conference will result in a great advance regarding these issues, so that we will be closer to the world we dream of, in which knowledge is easily accessible”.

Speaking after him, Katarzyna Hall, Minister of Education declared Ministry’s interest in open educational models as means of creating modern and effective education. “Especially in small towns and villages […] internet makes education more democratic, more accessible, so that important resources are available at any time”, said Hall.

The first session of the conference was devoted to highlighting the state of the global movement for open education and presenting achievements in the field of open educational resources development. Speeches were given by Susan D’Antoni from UNESCO and Richard Baraniuk from the Connexions project at Rice University. The second part of the conference concerned open education in Poland. Presentations were given by Marek Niezgódka from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modeling at the University of Warsaw, who spoke about the challenges of building open higher education and science in Poland; Krzysztof Stanowski from the Ministry of National Education and Grażyna Czetweryńska from the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research at University of Warsaw, who discussed the use of open models in the “Polish school” project, which coordinates Polish-language education for Polish students living abroad; Alek Tarkowski from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modeling at the University of Warsaw and Creative Commons Poland who presented legal and regulatory aspects of open education; and Tomasz Ganicz from the Wikimedia Poland Association, who spoke about open access to public information and data, treated as potential educational resources.

The conference ended with a debate, during which Members of the Parliament presented their viewpoints.

Krzysztof Tyszkiewicz focused on the issue of open school textbooks, as a means to revolutionize education in Poland, and an issue that concerns both students and their parents. “School textbooks currently cost several hundred złotys a year. Textbooks built in the open access model will provide a free alternative”, said Tyszkiewicz.

Andrzej Celiński spoke about the obligation of the government to provide open access to educational resources, especially in the light of long-term challenges that Poland will face.

“Taking into account that social and intellectual capital, capital that has intellectual property as its source, is today a key form of capital, government – with its regulatory tools – cannot ignore its responsibilities in this field”, said Celiński. He also furthermore stressed the importance of quality control for educational materials and of cooperation between governmental bodies and third sector actors.

Marcin Zawiła stressed the importance of legal reform in support of open education, as well as openness of other types of public content, such as audiovisual heritage. “Public mandate, an obligation for publicly funded works to constitute open resources, is the right direction for changes”, said Zawiła and declared support for introducing such a mandate in Poland.

The conference proved the importance of further introducing open models into the Polish educational system, at all its levels. More importantly, it proved the interest of government officials, members of the Parliament and educators in building together open education in Poland. As an outcome of the conference, KOED coalition will continue talks with relevant Ministries regarding open access to educational and scientific materials, as well as introducing an open mandate for publicly funded content.

The Coalition for Open Education (Koalicja Otwartej Edukacji – KOED, is a partnership of organizations founded at the end of 2008 to promote open education and science in Poland. Coalitions’ founding institutions include the Modern Poland Foundation, the Polish Librarians Association, Wikimedia Poland Association and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modeling at the University of Warsaw.

Open Science in Poland

The conference, “Open Science in Poland”, was organized on the 5th of May, 2009 at the University of Warsaw by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modeling at the University of Warsaw, partner institution of Creative Commons Poland and founding member of Coalition for Open Education. The conference was organized as part of the “Open the Book” project in order to highlight the importance of introducing in Poland open models of scientific collaboration and communication.

The conference was organized under the honorary patronage of Professor Barbara Kudrycka, the Minister of Science and Higher Education, Professor Katarzyna Chałasińska-Macukow, Chairman of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (KRASP) and Professor Michał Kleiber, Chairman of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The first session provided an overview of three key elements of open science: open access to scientific content, open education and new models of scientific communication described as “Science 2.0”. Presentations were given by Ahrash Bissell (Creative Commons ccLearn), Ignasi Labastida i Juan (University of Barcelona, Creative Commons Catalunya) and Paweł Szczęsny (Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Department of Biology, University of Warsaw).

The second part of the conference concerned open science in the Polish context. Marek Niezgódka, director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling at the University of Warsaw gave an overview of the open projects currently undertaken in Poland, and of the challenges they face. Jan Kozłowski from the Center for Science Policy and Higher Education Studies at University of Warsaw spoke about alternatives to classical peer review. Alek Tarkowski from Creative Commons Poland spoke about legal issues related to open science, and in particular about open licensing methods.

The conference ended with a panel debate among conference speakers, chaired by Edwin Bendyk from the “Polityka” weekly and attended as well by Krzysztof Gulda, Director of the Department of Strategy and Development of Science at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Mr Gulda declared the interest of the Ministry in introducing open science models in Poland, as part of the current reform of the scientific system. In particular, he declared that the Ministry is considering introducing an open mandate for publicly funded scientific content.

The conference took place to a full attendance, with over 100 participants attending. These included representatives of the scientific community, librarians and archivists, scientific publishers and governmental officials.

The conference presented an opportunity to present the project “Open the Book” (, which will become public on the 20th of May. “Open the Book” is a collection of scientific books made available under Creative Commons licenses by their authors and made available online. The project serves to highlight the importance of open access to scientific content and to promote open scientific models among Polish scientists. The project is organized under the patronage of Michał Kleiber, the chairman of the Polish Academy of Science and with the support of the Polish National Library. The project is funded by EEA and Norway Grants, through the Scholarship and Training Fund.

The conference was organized with the support of the Open Society Institute.

Posted 14 May 2009