now available under
Paleontology, the description and biological classification of fossils, has spawned countless field expeditions, museum trips, and hundreds of thousands of publications. The construction of databases that aggregate these descriptive data on fossils in a way that allows large-scale, synthetic questions to be addressed, such as the long-term history of biodiversity and rates of biological extinction and origination during global environment change, has greatly expanded the intellectual reach of paleontology and has led to many important new insights into macroevolutionary and macroecological processes.
One of the largest compendia of fossil data assembled to date is the Paleobiology Database (PBDB), founded in 1998 by John Alroy and Charles Marshall. These two pioneers assembled a small team of scientists who were motivated to generate the first geographically-explicit, sampling standardized global biodiversity curve. The PBDB has since grown to include an international group of more than 150 contributing scientists with diverse research agendas. Collectively, this body of volunteer and grant-supported investigators have spent more than 9 continuous person years entering more than 280,000 taxonomic names, nearly 500,000 published opinions on the status and classification of those names, and over 1.1 million taxonomic occurrences. Some PBDB data derive from the original fieldwork and specimen-based studies of the contributors, but the majority of the data were extracted from the text, figures, and tables of over 48,000 published papers, books, and monographs that span the range of topics covered by paleontology. Their efforts have been well rewarded by enabling new science. As of December 2013, the PBDB had produced almost two hundred official peer reviewed publications, all of which address scientific questions that cannot be adequately answered without such a database.
|Ptyagnostus atavus or Leiopyge calva Zone (Cambrian of the United States)|
|PaleoDB collection 262: authorized by Jack Sepkoski, entered by Mike Sommers on 20.11.1998|
Shift to CC BY
From its inception, the paleontologists who have invested the most effort in entering data have made decisions about data management and access policies, which ultimately brings up the important questions of proper licensing and citation. In the first application of the PBDB licensing policy, the individual contributors chose their own CC license for each fossil collection record. As a result there were three kinds of contributors: those who didn’t know what to do, didn’t care, or didn’t know about the new policy that required them to specify how existing collections should be licensed (55% of the data), those who selected the most restricted option available to them (34% of the data), and those who selected the most unrestricted option available to them (10% of the data).
This received mostly negative response via social media and other outlets, partly because of the increased attention the database was receiving during a leadership and governance transition. Naturally, the governance group responded to the community feedback. The first actual action was by individual contributors. Many of the contributors who either didn’t know about CC licenses or who didn’t think fully about their meaning and implications changed their own individual licenses. This always went from a more restrictive license to the least restrictive option available to them: CC BY. That wave of individual choices towards the least restrictive license immediately shifted the balance for records in the database. At that point, only one contributor had a restrictive license, and the governance group quickly moved to adopt one single unifying license for the database: CC BY. Now, all new records are explicitly CC BY as part of database policy, although individual contributors still have the option of placing a moratorium on the public release of their own new data so as to protect their individual scientific interests.
Future of PBDB
In addition to being a scientific asset to the field of paleontology, the PBDB and other databases like it provide an addition means by which to participate in rapidly emerging initiatives and developments in cyberinfrastructure. To increase its reach in this area, the PBDB now has an Application Programming Interface (API), which makes data more easily and transparently accessible, both to individual researchers and to applications, such as the open source web application PBDB Navigator and the Mancos iOS mobile application. Both of these applications are built on the public API and are designed to allow the history of life and environment documented by the PBDB to be more discoverable. These new modes of interactivity and visualization highlight unintended, but potentially useful, aspects of the PBDB. The PBDB API has facilitated a loosely coupled integration with other related but independently managed biological and paleontological database initiatives and online resources, such as the Neotoma Paleoecology Database, Morphobank, and the Encyclopedia of Life. The PBDB API can also be harnessed by geoscientists outside of paleontology, thereby facilitating the integration of paleontological data with diverse types of data and model output, such as paleogeographic plate rotation and geophysical models in GPlates. The liberal CC BY license ensures interoperability and data access necessary to facilitate fundamentally new science and because it expands the reach of paleontology to a broader community of researchers and educators than is possible via any single website or application.1 Comment »
From UNESCO’s press release:
“Currently, the Repository contains works in some 12 languages, including major UNESCO reports and key research publications. As well as the 300 Open Access publications, UNESCO will provide on-line availability to hundreds of other important reports and titles. Covering a wide range of topics from all regions of the world, this knowledge can now be shared by the general public, professionals, researchers, students and policy-makers… under an open license.”
UNESCO will continue to expand its collection of open resources with selected past publications and all new works following its new Open Access Policy adopted in April 2013. As of 31 July 2013 all new UNESCO publications are released with one of the CC IGO licenses and will be loaded into the Open Access Repository. The majority of UNESCO resources will be openly licensed under CC BY SA.
d. Promote the understanding and use of open licensing frameworks.
g. Encourage the development and adaptation of OER in a variety of languages and cultural contexts.
i. Facilitate finding, retrieving and sharing of OER.
j. Encourage the open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds.
By open licensing its publications, UNESCO not only makes all the knowledge it creates freely and openly available to the world, but it sets an important example for its 195 member (and 9 associate member) nations about the strong policy arguments for releasing publicly funded resources under open licenses. The message is clear: it is a good idea to adopt open policies that increase access and reduce costs to education, research, scientific and cultural resources.
Congratulations UNESCO!Comments Off on UNESCO launches Open Access Repository under Creative Commons
BioMed Central (BMC) is one of the largest open access (OA) publishers in the world with 250 peer-reviewed OA journals, and more than 100,000 OA articles published yearly. BMC is also long-time user of CC licenses to accomplish its mission of husbanding and promoting open science. BMC has been publishing articles under a CC license since 2004.
In June of least year, BMC’s Iain Hrynaszkiewicz and Matthew Cockerill, published an editorial titled Open by default in which they proposed a copyright license and waiver agreement for open access research and data in peer-reviewed journals. The gist of the editorial was that
Copyright and licensing of scientific data, internationally, are complex and present legal barriers to data sharing, integration and reuse, and therefore restrict the most efficient transfer and discovery of scientific knowledge, (and that implementing) a combined Creative Commons Attribution license (for copyrightable material) and Creative Commons CC0 waiver (for data) agreement for content published in peer-reviewed open access journals… in science publishing will help clarify what users—people and machines—of the published literature can do, legally, with journal articles and make research using the published literature more efficient.
Starting September 3, 2013, in keeping with its forward-looking mission, BMC started requiring a CC0 Public Domain Dedication for data supporting the published articles.
This is good because CC0 reduces all impedance to sharing and reuse by placing the work in the public domain. Good scientific practices assure proper credit is given via citation, something scientists have already been doing for centuries. Marking data with CC0 sends a clear signal of zero impedance to reuse. CC0 is a public domain dedication, however, wherever such a dedication is not possible, CC0 has a public license fallback. Either way, the impedance to data reuse is eliminated or minimized. Making CC0 the default removes uncertainty, and speeds up the process of accessible, collaborative, participatory and inclusive science.
But wait, there is more… starting February 3, 2014, BMC, Chemistry Central and all of SpringerOpen family of journals are also Moving Forward to the latest CC BY 4.0 license. Changes in CC-BY — version 4.0, released on Nov 25, 2013, represent more than two years of community process, public input and feedback to develop a truly open, global license suitable for both copyright, related rights and, where applicable, database rights. By moving to CC4.0, BMC is not only getting set for reliable, globally recognizable mark of open, it is also setting a high bar for the future of open science.
We at Creative Commons are big fans of BMC, and we applaud their move to creating a stronger, more vibrant open commons of science.Comments Off on BioMed Central moves to CC BY 4.0 along with CC0 for data
Creative Commons, a globally-focused nonprofit that provides legal and technological tools for sharing and collaboration, welcomed eight new members to its board of directors today. It also announced a new advisory council to complement the board and provide input and feedback to CC leadership. Several alumni of the CC board will be transitioning to the advisory council. CC co-founder Lawrence Lessig will lead the advisory council and transition to emeritus status on the board.
The announcement comes on the anniversary of the first Creative Commons licenses, which were launched in 2002. Since then, thousands of creators around the world have used Creative Commons licenses, amassing a selection of over half a billion CC-licensed works, spanning the worlds of education, art, academia, data, science, and much more.
“With the continuity of current board members and a fresh outlook brought by the new members, Creative Commons is well prepared to engage with a very different environment from the time of its founding,” board chair Paul Brest said. “The board includes some of the world’s foremost experts in technology, intellectual property law, the internet, and business and social entrepreneurship. It’s appropriate that we’re announcing the new board on December 16, the date when it all began eleven years ago.”
The new board members reflect the broad diversity of the global Creative Commons community. Four of the new board members — Renata Avila (Guatemala), Dorothy Gordon (Ghana), Paul Keller (Netherlands), and Jongsoo Yoon (South Korea) — are Creative Commons affiliates, experts who represent Creative Commons around the world and localize CC licenses and other materials for their jurisdictions.
Creative Commons also gained board members with substantial experience in technology and product development, like Ben Adida, a director of engineering at Square who previously served as CC’s first technology lead; and Christopher Thorne, a veteran technology entrepreneur and private equity investor. The new members also bring additional legal acumen to the organization, including Microsoft intellectual property counsel Thomas C. Rubin and New York University Law School professor Chris Sprigman. Together, these individuals will augment Creative Commons’ existing capacity in technology and intellectual property law.
Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly will be leaving her role as CEO in early 2014, but will continue to serve on the newly formed advisory council. “While my role in the organization will be changing, I’m proud to continue to serve the CC community alongside this diverse and talented group of leaders,” Casserly said. “Through our collective efforts, we will continue to work toward our vision of a truly collaborative, free internet.”Comments Off on Creative Commons welcomes new energy and expertise onto its board
On this date in 2002, we launched the first Creative Commons license suite. But it’s what happened next that matters.
Thousands of creators started using CC licenses to share their works, everything from film to educational resources to science research. And sometime between then and now, the world changed a little.
Musicians started thinking less about piracy and more about how they could benefit from fans sharing their music. Entrepreneurs developed business models based on open licenses, proving that you can share your work without sacrificing profit.
And there’s something else. People began to demand open. We started expecting it from our governments, our universities, and our employers. Legally, All Rights Reserved is still the default, but today, it’s a choice. Today, people notice when those in power choose closed.
Let’s not delay the obvious any longer: we’re writing to ask for money. As you’re considering which charities to support this year, please take a moment to reflect on what we’ve built together over the past 11 years.
When you use a Creative Commons license, you fuel a movement for open that spans every country on earth. A CC license badge isn’t just a legal tool; it’s a symbol for the better world that we can make together. Thank you for joining Team Open.
Please make a donation to Creative Commons at whatever level you can afford. We have some t-shirts and other gifts for donors, but more importantly, we promise to use every cent to fight harder than ever for open.
Year 12 starts now.Comments Off on What we’ve built together
If you’re not familiar with ccMixter, you should be. It’s an amazing community for downloading and sharing CC-licensed, remixable music and samples.
ccMixter has released two albums of holiday music this year; you can buy them or receive them for free for becoming a ccMixter supporter.
Season of Gratitude was first conceived last November, when the ccMixter all-volunteer admin team organized its annual Holiday Remix Event called Gift of Song. The community created original holiday-themed samples, a capellas, songs, and remixes. True to all ccMixter uploads, each original sound was released with Creative Commons licenses which inspire collective creativity and allow everyone to enjoy the resulting songs for free. The Season of Gratitude double album is a curation of the remixes that transpired from the event, re-mastered by ccMixter artist Copperhead, for optimum sound quality.
“I love participating in the annual holiday remix event on ccMixter,” shares Kara Square, contributing Season of Gratitude artist. “The atmosphere on the site is extra warm and open-minded. As we contribute, we learn about each other’s beliefs and celebrate our diversity through the music we invent.”
Other holiday goodies:2 Comments »
For how popular they are worldwide, it’s striking how rarely CC licenses’ validity has been questioned in court. We consider that a testament to the care with which we craft the licenses: we try to find every possible area of contention or ambiguity before we launch the licenses. To our knowledge, no court in any country has ever found a CC license invalid.
An out-of-court settlement yesterday affirmed what most people reading this blog already knew: you are free to use Creative Commons–licensed content under the terms of the license without fear of infringing the licensor’s copyright, even if the licensor changes her mind later.
The complicated case involved CrunchBase, a CC BY database of names and companies in the tech space, operated by TechCrunch. A startup company called Pro Populi built an app using CrunchBase data with attribution. CrunchBase questioned the legality of Pro Populi using its data in that way, pointing to a clause in its own terms-of-service agreement reserving the right to “continually review and evaluate all uses of the API, including those that appear more competitive than complementary in nature.”
When the story hit last month, Wired’s David Kravets interviewed CC’s Diane Peters. She reiterated the non-revocable nature of the licenses, saying, “As a matter of copyright, once you have it, you have it, and can do what you want with it.”
The case has now been dropped, but more importantly, CrunchBase has now revised its own terms-of-service agreement to remove any contradiction with the CC license, thanks in no small part to our friends at the Electronic Freedom Foundation:
“Offering content under the most permissive CC license while claiming the right to shut down uses they didn’t like was a bit misleading,” said EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz. “CrunchBase’s new terms of service are clearer and more in line with the best practices of the open content community. The new terms should allow developers to re-use and build on the CrunchBase dataset with greater confidence.”
Comments Off on Permanence of CC licenses upheld in CrunchBase settlement
“We are grateful to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for playing an instrumental role in updating the CrunchBase Terms of Service,” said CrunchBase President Matt Kaufman. “At their suggestion, we adopted Creative Commons 4.0 and open content best practices. These updates provide more clarity to our community and provide a stronger foundation from which to build and extend the CrunchBase dataset.”
This post originally appears on the Communia Association blog. Creative Commons is a founding member and active participant in Communia.
Last week Thursday the European Commission launched its much anticipated public consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules. This consultation is the first visible sign of the second track of the Commission’s attempt to modernise the EU rules (the first track consisted of the rather unsuccessful Licenses for Europe stakeholder dialogue). In the words of the Commission the focus of the consultation is on:
… ensuring that the EU copyright regulatory framework stays fit for purpose in the digital environment to support creation and innovation, tap the full potential of the Single Market, foster growth and investment in our economy and promote cultural diversity.
With regards to the contents of the consultation, a first reading reveals a mixed bag of questions, with a surprising amount of them actually touching on issues that are closely related to our own policy recommendations. The consultation comes in the form of a 37 page document with a grand total of 80 questions that cover everything from the functioning of the single market for copyrighted works, linking and browsing, copyright term duration, registration of copyrighted works and exceptions and limitations for cultural heritage institutions, education, research, persons with disabilities and “user generated content”. In addition, there are questions about private copying and levies, the fair remuneration of authors and performers, respect for rights, and even the possibility of a single EU copyright title. Finally there is an open question for everything else that stakeholders might want to tell the Commission.
The deadline for providing answers to all of these questions is the 5th of February, which if one takes into account the upcoming holiday period is rather short. Read More…Comments Off on European Commission announces public consultation on the review of EU copyright rules
The following is a guest post by Jessica Smith, National Copyright Officer for the National Copyright Unit of Australia. She ran the Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) course with Delia Browne as part of the School of Open’s second round of facilitated courses in 2013.
The School of Open is a 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, research, and more. 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 National Copyright Unit (NCU) of Australia ran its second cycle of the School of Open’s Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) course in August. The course ran for seven weeks, with a two-week introduction period and five weeks of substantive group work. We took on 60 learners, with enrollments filling up in less than two days, plus a wait list of around 15 people. At the end of the course, we only had 3 drop-outs, a 95% retention rate!
On top of those stellar results, we also had very happy learners as well as great results in terms of the uptake and understanding of the information. We have an ongoing wait list for the course as well as teachers and librarians continuously enquiring about the course. We’re also in the process of obtaining accreditation for the course through larger teacher organizations so that it can be used to fulfill specific professional learning requirements of Australian educators.
We believe our course has succeeded for three reasons:
- We made it easy for the students to participate.
- The course was associated with the NCU, an official government division.
- We assigned small groups based on commonalities, such as profession and field.
1. Make it easy for the students to participate
Making it easy for students is of utmost importance in an online environment, especially if the course is targeted to people who may not be familiar with online learning. We know this may sound obvious, but it’s so important that it’s definitely worth mentioning and expounding on. If you don’t nail this, you’re not going to retain your students.
So how do you make it easy for the students? Have everything (eg, communication tools and assignment submission entrypoints) set up for them and support them to the nth degree. What this means: you have to put the time in before the course starts and you, as the course facilitator/organizer, must be very comfortable with the course layout and tools in order to be able to give ample support as well as troubleshoot when issues arise.
Tutorials for Tools
For our course, we had heaps of information on our P2PU course site (outlining essentially everything they’d need to get through the course), but we also created tutorials and sent out additional information through email on all the essential parts of the course (ie. using the discussion tool Disqus, submitting group assignments, leaving peer review, etc). We really wanted the students to feel supported and to answer questions and issues BEFORE they arose. It’s too easy to drop out of an online course, so we wanted to preemptively take care of as many issues as possible. We had one student state they were “very nervous and uncomfortable” to take an online course who later reported how great the course was set up and how easy it was in terms of knowing what to do and how to do it. It’s key students feel like this from the start of the course, or they won’t stick with it.
Tools we used
We used Google docs for our course. We had every group’s Google doc set up for every single week, and we linked to the docs from both the course on P2PU as well as in emails that we sent out every week. The weekly emails make it very clear what was expected of our learners as well as where to go to complete their tasks. See an example below:
We also sent out individual group chase-ups the Monday following a Sunday due date as well as a chase-up Wednesday following the peer review due date. See below for an example of this:
Its also very important to understand that the first two to three weeks are a bit rough for learners – they’re confused and they have lots of questions and issues. We received anywhere from 15 to 30 emails a week and at least five calls, asking general questions about the course, the platform, google docs, etc. We nearly always responded to these on the same day and offered as much support as needed. A quick response to a simple question can be the deciding factor between a learner getting frustrated and dropping out or being satisfied and feeling supported and staying in the course.
This initial confusion is also why we went with a two-week introduction period, and we think this really helps with the retention rate. It gave the learners a chance to ask questions, sort out their issues and concerns and get comfortable with the course, the platform, the collaboration tools, and their groups.
2. Associate a course with a known, respected entity
Our course was associated with the NCU of Australia, which is very well known and respected. We deal with teachers on a daily basis, and most of our NCU affiliated teachers/librarians were the first to sign up for the course and have been our biggest supporters and promoters.
In addition to past participants spreading the word, we promoted the course through our school connections in Australia – through teachers whom we’ve given advice, the Copyright Advisory Group (each State/Territory in Australia as well as each sector has a representative), teacher organizations, and our website (http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/) which is the official guide to copyright issues for Australian Schools and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions. Once we did our initial promotional blitz, the promotion largely took off on its own, making its way onto numerous listservs and teacher associations that we didn’t previously know existed.
So the association helped with the initial promotion of the course, but we also believe the reputation of the NCU encouraged teachers to sign up for the course: it made teachers feel more comfortable asking questions/contacting us, it decreased the numbers of dropouts, and we also found that many employers, such as school deans, required their teaching staff to take the course.
Incorporating the course into NCU’s daily workload also allowed us to quickly and effectively respond to questions/issues with the course.
3. Arrange groups to encourage conversation and cohesiveness
In the first week of the course, we only asked our learners to fill out a questionnaire and have a look around the course. With the information from the questionnaire, we created 15 groups of four. We also took group requests, which frequently came from teachers at the same school. If groups were not requested, we arranged groups based on school location, level and sector to encourage conversation and commonality between group members. In the second week of the course, we only asked our students to meet their group and to decide on how their group would collaborate. Group members got to know each other and supported each other over the course of the seven weeks, and we think this group cohesiveness really encouraged group members to stay committed to the group and the course (as well as have more fun!).
As an example, we had one student who was going to drop out because she needed to have surgery in the third week of the course, and she would be unable to type for a week or two. She consulted us, and we told her to first discuss the problem with her group to see if they could work something out. She did this, and they became somewhat of a support group for her and they worked out that she would lead discussion in the weeks leading up to her surgery (which they mainly did via email) and then the weeks she couldn’t type she participated via a weekly Skype session with her group.
We’ve also been told by a number of groups that they all plan to keep in touch with each other to discuss any copyright questions and what’s going on in their classrooms/schools.
Overall, we believe the course was very successful. Not only because of the retention rate but also because people enjoyed it! They’re telling others about the course, they learnt the information, and if they ever have any questions or issues they now know where to find the information.Comments Off on Guest post: What’s behind the success of Copyright 4 Educators Australia?
We’re pleased to announce a new suite of Creative Commons licenses specifically designed for intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). IGOs produce a wide array of valuable information and content, ranging from scholarly and scientific papers to environmental data. Just like other creators who seek wide dissemination of their works to achieve maximal impact, IGOs benefit from using CC’s well understood and widely adopted licenses.
Since the 2011 CC Global Summit in Warsaw, and in tandem with our 4.0 license development process, we’ve been working closely with IGOs to understand and find acceptable ways to address their unique needs in our licenses. The process mirrored the porting process used for the 3.0 licenses, which addresses specific needs of jurisdictions. Additionally, we have been working closely on adoption opportunities so that the valuable content IGOs produce can be reused around the globe under our standard licenses. For example, the World Bank leverages CC’s licenses as part of its impressive open access policy, and Commonwealth of Learning has adopted an OER policy under which it will release its own materials using CC licenses.
CC and IGO working group participants announced the results of this effort today. From the press release:
“The more that everyone can access and use the important work of IGOs, the more impactful they are,” Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig said. “By publishing their information and data under Creative Commons licenses, these organizations are giving anyone on the planet the right to read and share those materials.”
Congratulations to everyone! We look forward to seeing more and more IGOs joining the commons.1 Comment »
previous page — next page