Open data – Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org Join us in building a more vibrant and usable global commons! Fri, 03 Dec 2021 13:02:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5 https://creativecommons.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/cc-site-icon-40x40.png Open data – Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org 32 32 78836240 UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science Ratified https://creativecommons.org/2021/12/02/unesco-recommendation-on-open-science-ratified/ Thu, 02 Dec 2021 17:56:10 +0000 https://creativecommons.org/?p=64344 Graphic on page 11. UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. CC BY IGO 3.0 Creative Commons (CC) applauds the unanimous ratification of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science at UNESCO’s 41st General Conference. This landmark document is a major step forward towards creating a world in which better sharing of science is open and inclusive by … Read More "UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science Ratified"

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UNESCO Open Science (circle)

Graphic on page 11. UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. CC BY IGO 3.0

Creative Commons (CC) applauds the unanimous ratification of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science at UNESCO’s 41st General Conference. This landmark document is a major step forward towards creating a world in which better sharing of science is open and inclusive by design.

CC is honored to have been part of the global community that drafted, reviewed and revised the Recommendation. We firmly believe open access to knowledge is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition to solving big, complex problems. Better sharing of scientific articles, data and science educational resources is a necessary condition to make progress on solving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the global grand challenges we face today.

As the COVID pandemic and climate change have exemplified, there is an urgent need to accelerate change in how we produce, share, and communicate scientific knowledge. The UNESCO Recommendations on Open Science and Open Educational Resources are international frameworks that can guide national governments, funders, educational institutions, scientists, educators, and civil society organizations as we work to create a world in which open access to knowledge is a basic human right.

The Recommendation sets an international standard for the definition of open science and associated policies and practices to drive better sharing throughout the global science community. It details seven broad areas for action:

  • Promoting a common understanding of open science and its benefits and challenges, as well as diverse paths to open science
  • Developing and enabling a policy environment for open science
  • Investing in open science infrastructures and services
  • Investing in human resources, training, education, digital literacy and capacity building
  • Fostering a culture of open science and aligning incentives
  • Promoting innovative approaches for open science across the scientific process
  • Promoting cooperation in the context of open science to reduce digital, technological and knowledge gaps

For details on the multi-stakeholder consultations, the open science advisory committee, and the UNESCO global open science partnership, please visit the Recommendation on Open Science website.

Of course, adopting the Recommendation for Open Science is just the first step. The real work is in the implementation of the actions. Broad implementation success will require governments to: prioritize this work, partner with international NGOs and other stakeholders working in open science, and work with and learn from other governments. Creative Commons stands ready to partner with national governments, UNESCO, NGOs, and the global research community to implement the actions detailed in this Recommendation to build a brighter future for everyone, everywhere.

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Open Minds Podcast: Audrey Tang, Digital Minister of Taiwan https://creativecommons.org/2021/07/13/open-minds-podcast-audrey-tang-digital-minister-of-taiwan/ Tue, 13 Jul 2021 21:24:51 +0000 https://creativecommons.org/?p=63546 We’re back with another episode of CC’s podcast, Open Minds … from Creative Commons! In this episode, I speak with Audrey Tang, who is the Digital Minister of Taiwan, as well as an influential free software programmer and hacker. Tang is a vocal proponent of openness and is working to manifest a vision for how … Read More "Open Minds Podcast: Audrey Tang, Digital Minister of Taiwan"

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We’re back with another episode of CC’s podcast, Open Minds … from Creative Commons!

In this episode, I speak with Audrey Tang, who is the Digital Minister of Taiwan, as well as an influential free software programmer and hacker. Tang is a vocal proponent of openness and is working to manifest a vision for how open data and radical transparency can result in positive, productive collaboration between government and civil society.

Audrey Tang photo by @daisuke1230 (CC BY 2.0)

Last year, Taiwan was frequently credited with having one of the world’s best responses to COVID 19. There were a lot of reasons for their success, but it was due in large part to a digital strategy that emphasized information crowdsourcing and open data projects that kept people informed and up-to-date. WIRED published a great article about Tang last year that goes deep on all this: “How Taiwan’s Unlikely Digital Minister Hacked the Pandemic.”

Tang will be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s CC Global Summit (happening September 20-24, 2021), which is Creative Commons’ annual event that brings together leading activists, artists, technologists, educators, lawyers, librarians, and others for discussion, panels, workshops, and community building. Register now!

Please subscribe to the show in whatever podcast app you use, so you don’t miss any of our conversations with people working to make the internet and our global culture more open and collaborative.

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An Open Letter to President-elect Biden https://creativecommons.org/2020/12/02/an-open-letter-to-president-elect-biden/ Wed, 02 Dec 2020 16:06:12 +0000 https://creativecommons.org/?p=62565 Dear Mr. President-elect, First, I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to you and to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. This has been such a difficult year for so many around the world, and in this time of extreme polarization it is encouraging to hear you both talk about bringing people together to meet our common … Read More "An Open Letter to President-elect Biden"

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Dear Mr. President-elect,

First, I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to you and to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. This has been such a difficult year for so many around the world, and in this time of extreme polarization it is encouraging to hear you both talk about bringing people together to meet our common challenges. For many years I was a Member of the European Parliament, and I know how incredibly important it is to build bridges and work collaboratively with people we don’t always agree with.

I’m writing today as the leader of Creative Commons, a global nonprofit organization focused in part on making valuable scientific research and educational resources freely and openly available to the public. We work with universities, companies, governments, and institutions around the world to develop solutions for providing unencumbered access to knowledge.

In your 2016 speech to the American Association for Cancer Research, you quoted an article written by our then-CEO, Ryan Merkley, about the unnecessary barriers to publicly funded research. You noted that “taxpayers fund $5 billion in cancer research every year, but once it’s published, nearly all of [it] sits behind walls.” You correctly suggested that better treatments might be developed more quickly if cancer researchers, as well as the general public, had access to the rich trove of publicly funded research and data that is locked up behind prohibitive paywalls.

The COVID-19 health crisis has underscored the urgent need for scientific research and data to be shared freely and openly with others. Several of the most significant funders of scientific research, including the National Institutes of Health, the Gates Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust have long-standing open access policies. But many others do not, and as a result, many of the diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, medical equipment, and software solutions currently being developed in the fight against the pandemic will not reach and benefit as many people as quickly and effectively as they should.

Additionally, as you are very well aware, the pandemic has massively disrupted the lives of over a billion students around the world. For many, access to educational materials is a daily struggle even in normal times. Because of a myriad of barriers, such as the prohibitive cost of learning resources, or the legal maze of convoluted copyright rules and exceptions, many students are denied their fundamental human right to education.

This year’s shift to online learning has introduced many new complexities for both students and educators. While some educators can post their existing learning materials online for their students, for others, the move to online requires access to, and the legal rights to perpetually use and adapt materials developed by others. This has brought into focus the essential need for both broad access to Open Educational Resources (OER) and broad copyright limitations and exceptions (L&E) for educators and students to freely and legally use copyright works so all students everywhere can learn.

At Creative Commons, we believe that open access to knowledge is critical—especially during times of crisis. For nearly 20 years, we have collaborated closely with entities including the US government to make the world more equitable by overcoming obstacles to the sharing of knowledge. In these unprecedented times, our mission is more important than ever, and I look forward to working with you and your administration in developing solutions that unlock knowledge and make it possible for anyone, anywhere to access and build upon it.

Sincerely,
Catherine Stihler
CEO, Creative Commons

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Why Universal Access to Information Matters https://creativecommons.org/2020/09/28/why-universal-access-to-information-matters/ Mon, 28 Sep 2020 12:36:42 +0000 https://creativecommons.org/?p=62273 The coronavirus outbreak not only sparked a health pandemic; it triggered an “infodemic” of misleading and fabricated news. As the virus spread, trolls and conspiracy theorists began pushing misinformation, and their deplorable tactics continue to this day. Nonsense has been shared about links to 5G phone masts or that a secret cure already exists, and … Read More "Why Universal Access to Information Matters"

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The coronavirus outbreak not only sparked a health pandemic; it triggered an “infodemic” of misleading and fabricated news.

As the virus spread, trolls and conspiracy theorists began pushing misinformation, and their deplorable tactics continue to this day.

Nonsense has been shared about links to 5G phone masts or that a secret cure already exists, and this month alone there was yet another claim that COVID-19 was made in a lab – which has been quickly debunked.

An opinion poll in May found that over half of people (51%) in the United Kingdom said they had seen content about COVID-19 they believed to be false or misleading.

The EU warned in June that a “massive wave” of disinformation was harming the health of EU citizens, accusing China and Russia of running fake news campaigns about the coronavirus.

In some countries, rumors about food shortages prompted people to stockpile supplies, which inevitably then caused actual shortages.

In Iran, hundreds died after drinking methanol alcohol because social media misinformation messages claimed it had cured other people of the coronavirus.

Access to official information can therefore be the difference between life and death.

Today, on September 28, UNESCO marks the International Day for Universal Access to Information.

This year’s theme is naturally dominated by COVID-19, with the slogan “Access to Information – Saving Lives, Building Trust, Bringing Hope.”

The day is an opportunity to call on all UN member states to enact and fully implement “Right to Access to Information” laws.

These rights are always vital, but even more so during a health emergency.

Proactively disclosing information helps build trust among citizens, as well as providing the clarity that people seek amid the infodemic.

By providing factual information to citizens, there is a stronger feeling of belonging.

And, fundamentally, it helps keep people safe.

That applies particularly to vulnerable populations who rely on public health information the most.

The right to universal access to information goes much wider than public health though, as it is a key plank of a country’s human rights record.

Laws are not just about guaranteeing access to information, but provide the necessary accountability which should apply to governments, courts, the police, and other authorities which make critical decisions on behalf of people.

However, to date, only 127 countries have passed access to information laws.

And amid the coronavirus crisis, some nations imposed restrictions on the right to know from the outset.

The global right to information (RTI) tracker monitors this across the world.

It’s perhaps not too surprising to see Brazil on the list, where President Jair Bolsonaro enacted measures to suspend deadlines to answer RTI requests – before the Supreme Court issued an injunction.

What is more surprising though is to see my home nation of Scotland on the list of countries which restricted RTI.

The Scottish Government used emergency powers to extend the deadline for Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, before later being forced by opposition parties to withdraw the changes.

That was a disappointing episode, which lessons must be learned from.

UNESCO has been clear that any restrictions can only be justified if authorities of a particular institution are overburdened or to protect public health, or if physical processing in lockdown situations is not possible.

This year’s International Day for Universal Access to Information is therefore a timely opportunity to demonstrate the value of the right to information during times of crisis.

Keeping citizens informed, building trust, and reducing the spread of misinformation is vital.

This approach goes to the heart of the international work we do at Creative Commons.

Since 2001, we’ve been removing legal and technical obstacles to unlock nearly 2 billion works around the world by offering free, standard, public licenses that anyone can use.

Recently, we launched the Open COVID Pledge – a global initiative that works with organizations around the world to make their patented inventions and copyrighted materials freely accessible. 

The initiative aims to encourage wider, equitable access to designs, research, and data protected by copyright and patents that will be key to developing solutions to the challenges caused by the pandemic.

Creative Commons has also worked with partners to launch the #FreeTheTextbook campaign, pushing for adoption of openly licensed, free textbooks in colleges and universities. 

The campaign also pushes back against big publishers’ “inclusive access” contracts at universities, which see students forcibly “opted in” to buying textbooks, meaning the cost is wrapped into their tuition without their knowledge. 

This unsavory practice started in the US and publishers are now spreading the model to other countries.

Removing obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity matters because of the pressing challenges facing us, as COVID-19 continues to wreak devastation across the globe, with an alarming impact on education, health, and economies.

So as Creative Commons prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2021, our work matters more than ever.

The world has changed dramatically since we launched, and while technological advances have brought many people closer together, so too have they pushed some people apart.

We’ve built the infrastructure for the open web, and we want to unlock, share, and preserve more of the world’s knowledge. 

That’s not only freeing the tools to help us get through the coronavirus pandemic, but also to address other major challenges – particularly the climate emergency.

There is an urgent need to address humanity’s greatest global challenges through collaboration and accessing information. 

It’s time to unlock knowledge for everyone, everywhere.

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Introducing the Linked Commons https://creativecommons.org/2020/01/23/introducing-the-linked-commons/ Thu, 23 Jan 2020 16:12:48 +0000 https://creativecommons.org/?p=57208 This is part of a series of posts introducing the projects built by open source contributors mentored by Creative Commons during Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2019. Maria Belen Guaranda was one of those contributors and we are grateful for her work on this project. “By visualizing information, we turn it into a landscape that you can explore … Read More "Introducing the Linked Commons"

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This is part of a series of posts introducing the projects built by open source contributors mentored by Creative Commons during Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2019. Maria Belen Guaranda was one of those contributors and we are grateful for her work on this project.

“By visualizing information, we turn it into a landscape that you can explore with your eyes.” David McCandless

Linked Commons (Feature)
Force-directed graph, “The Linked Commons”, uses one month of data.

The landscape of openly licensed content is wide and varied. Millions of web pages host and share CC-licensed works—in fact, we estimate that there are over 1.6 billion across the web! With this growth of CC-licensed works, Creative Commons (CC) is increasingly interested in learning how hosts and users of CC-licensed materials are connected, as well as the types of content published under a CC license and how this content is shared. Each month, CC uses Common Crawl data to find all domains that contain CC-licensed content. This dataset contains information about the URL of the websites and the licenses used.

Using the Linked Commons

In order to draw conclusions and insights from this dataset, we created the Linked Commons: a visualization that shows how the Commons is digitally connected.

In the Linked Commons, nodes (units in a data structure) represent websites of an organization, person, academic institution, etc. A link between nodes exists if one website hosts CC-licensed content that belongs to or is hosted by another website (as indicated by a URL link). A community represents a group of websites that are closely related to each other because they produce and/or share CC-licensed content between them.

Vast quantities of data make any web browser render elements slowly and may eventually freeze. Due to the 100k nodes included in the Linked Commons, the visualization initially took a long time to render and had a clustered appearance—this was a major concern. 

That’s why we decided to use data from only a single month and chose the top 500 websites containing links to CC-licensed material, as well as all of the other domains those 500 nodes are connected to. In addition to lessening the loading time, we found that this was also more user-friendly because navigating the entire dataset’s graph would be dizzying. Even with this smaller dataset, we were able to gather valuable insights from the graph, including discovering subcommunities of CC license hosts and users. One such subcommunity is shown in the image below.

Linked Commons
Educational community, including libraries and universities.

The subcommunity above is an “educational” community; made up of libraries, universities, and schools. 

Visualizations like these are valuable for CC because they can help guide our outreach efforts and targeted communications. The CC Search team can also use this data to choose which domains to prioritize indexing in the CC Catalog.

The visualization is interactive; users can pan, zoom in and out, hover over a node to see its neighbors, and click on a node to display a pie chart, like the one below. We encourage users to test out the Linked Commons and see what insights they can gather from this information!

Linked Commons (2)
Pie chart of ask.openstack.org.
Linked Commons (3)
Force-directed graph, “The Linked Commons”. Neighbors of domain svgsilh highlighted.

What’s next?

We plan to continue working on the Linked Commons. Here are some features we hope to add:

  • Live updates—The graph is currently static because it uses a single month’s data file that has already been processed. We would like to automatically update the graph as soon as new data is processed.
  • Filtering domains by country—Some domains have suffixes that represent countries, such as domain.au which corresponds to a domain from Australia. We plan to use these suffixes to filter nodes in the visualization by country.
  • Filtering domains by name—A user might want to check if a specific domain has CC-licensed content and how that content is used. We plan to add a search bar and provide the user with the ability to search for a specific node given a domain name and/or URL.

Interested? Check out the Linked Commons here!

Give us your feedback!

The Linked Commons is an open source project. The project’s source code is available in the Github repo. Contributions are welcome! For the technical details of how this project was developed, please read this series of posts on the CC Open Source blog.

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Access to Information Is Not Universal: Here’s Why That Matters https://creativecommons.org/2019/09/28/access-to-information-matters/ Sat, 28 Sep 2019 14:40:53 +0000 https://creativecommons.org/?p=56487 Today is the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI). You may be wondering why this day is necessary—particularly in 2019, when the average person is inundated with an estimated 34 gigabytes of information every day, from emails and text messages to Youtube videos and news programs. In fact, it’s easy to take information … Read More "Access to Information Is Not Universal: Here’s Why That Matters"

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Today is the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).

Image credit: UNESCO, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

You may be wondering why this day is necessary—particularly in 2019, when the average person is inundated with an estimated 34 gigabytes of information every day, from emails and text messages to Youtube videos and news programs. In fact, it’s easy to take information for granted. However, access to public information, in particular, is not universal.

“Although technology has increased the amount of information and systematized the collection of data, people and communities across the world still lack access to critical, public information,” explains Bushra Ebadi. As a researcher and Executive Committee Member of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Bushra relies on public information to study and develop solutions for issues such as insecurity, corruption, inequality, and climate change.

Access to information “is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression” and “a key enabler towards inclusive knowledge societies.”

According to Moez Chakchouk, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, access to information “is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression” and “a key enabler towards inclusive knowledge societies.” Despite this, UNESCO says that many governments “do not have national legislation on access to information as a specific expression of the law,” otherwise known as freedom of information legislation. This means that millions of people do not have the right or the ability to access public information. Further, “Even when these laws exist they are not necessarily abided by,” adds Bushra, “there can be a lot of red tape to access information in a timely manner.”

This lack of access is particularly worrying for researchers and activists, like Bushra. Without universal, open access to data from governments or research institutions, for example, developing effective solutions to global problems is difficult.

A Closer Look At Government Data

Increasingly, governments are using tools like Creative Commons’ CC0 Public Domain Dedication (CC Zero) to maximize the “re-use of data and databases” by clarifying that these resources are in the public domain and not restricted by copyright. However, there are many instances when data collected by governments are not made easily accessible (e.g., through an online data portal or open source data set).

In 2017, the World Wide Web Foundation found that almost every country included in its Open Data Barometer report failed to adequately share important data with the public. For example, only 71% of the observed government data sets were published online, only 25% were available via an open license, and only 7% of government data sets were truly open—meaning they “can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose.” The Foundation also reported that many of the available data sets were “incomplete, out of date, of low quality, and fragmented.”

In her work, Bushra often relies on government data to conduct policy research, but has routinely experienced problems. “The relevance of the data is largely dependent on how and what information was collected, as well as the format it is available in,” she explains. While studying issues related to forced migration and gender discrimination in the Global South, for example, she found it difficult to access reliable data.

“By restricting access to those who can afford it or have power and privilege, we support a system and culture of elitism…”

To compensate for this lack of data, researchers must often rely on data collected by non-government entities—which are typically kept behind expensive paywalls. According to Bushra, this is particularly detrimental. “By restricting access to those who can afford it or have power and privilege, we support a system and culture of elitism in which a select group of people with access are able to dictate what is done with information and how it is used.”

Attendees meet at Rights Con, Tunisia 2019
Image credit: Rights Con 2019, CC BY-NC 2.0

The Power of Information

Universal, open access to public information, particularly government data, not only facilitates scientific collaboration and innovation, it also empowers communities that have been historically marginalized and silenced.

“Access to information is intrinsically tied to the right to know and the right to exist,” Bushra emphasizes, “and without access to information, citizens lack the tools they need to hold their governments and people in power accountable.”

Information is powerful—that’s why, even in 2019, the International Day for Universal Access to Information remains not only important, but necessary.

To learn more and get involved, visit UNESCO’s website or sign up for their newsletter.

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Announcing an Open Call for Proposals: The Bassel Khartabil Fellowship https://creativecommons.org/2019/09/03/open-call-for-proposals-bassel-khartabil-fellowship/ Tue, 03 Sep 2019 18:37:12 +0000 https://creativecommons.org/?p=56332 Today the Fabricatorz Foundation announced an open call for applicants for the Bassel Khartabil Fellowship.  The Fellowship supports outstanding individuals developing free culture projects in their communities under adverse circumstances, honoring the legacy of beloved artist, open source technology innovator, free culture advocate Bassel Khartabil. Bassel was Creative Commons’ Syrian project lead, the cofounder of … Read More "Announcing an Open Call for Proposals: The Bassel Khartabil Fellowship"

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Today the Fabricatorz Foundation announced an open call for applicants for the Bassel Khartabil Fellowship. 

The Fellowship supports outstanding individuals developing free culture projects in their communities under adverse circumstances, honoring the legacy of beloved artist, open source technology innovator, free culture advocate Bassel Khartabil.

Bassel was Creative Commons’ Syrian project lead, the cofounder of Syria’s first hackerspace, and a prolific open source contributor to projects like Firefox and Wikipedia. Bassel’s final project, relaunched as #NEWPALMYRA, entailed building free and open 3D models of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. In his work as a computer engineer, educator, artist, musician, cultural heritage researcher, and thought leader, Bassel modeled a more open world, impacting lives globally.

Bassel was taken from the streets in March of 2012 in a military arrest and interrogated and tortured in secret in a facility controlled by Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate. Despite international outrage at his treatment and calls for his release, in October of 2015 he was moved to an undisclosed location and executed shortly thereafter.

“Bassel was not only a dear friend, but also a fearless advocate for free culture who showed us all what a true commitment to the betterment of humanity looked like,” said Barry Threw, Executive Director of Fabricatorz Foundation. “His work could not have succeeded without the friendship of a global community. With supporters like Mozilla Foundation and Creative Commons, we can make sure the next generation can advance the values core to Bassel’s life.”

Fellows are expected to lead projects or initiatives that will catalyze free culture, particularly in societies vulnerable to attacks on freedom of expression and free access to knowledge.

Special consideration will be given to applicants operating within closed societies and in developing economies where other forms of support are scarce, but all interested applicants are encouraged to apply.

The Fellowship is organized by Fabricatorz Foundation with support from Creative Commons and Mozilla Foundation, along with partnership from Khartabil’s final projects: Nophotozone and #NEWPALMYRA.

How to apply: 

Fellowship applications will be accepted on BasselKhartabil.org, or by email at fellowship@basselkhartabil.org, through September 28th. 

The Fellow will be selected by a jury of free culture community luminaries, and presented at the 10th anniversary Mozilla Festival, from October 21-27 in London. Throughout their one-year term, the chosen Fellow will receive a stipend of $50,000 USD, mentorship from affiliate organizations, skill development, project promotion, and fundraising support from the partner network, as well as other benefits.

Find more details about the Fellowship at BasselKhartabil.org

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European Commission adopts CC BY and CC0 for sharing information https://creativecommons.org/2019/04/02/european-commission-adopts-cc-by-and-cc0-for-sharing-information/ Tue, 02 Apr 2019 20:43:13 +0000 https://creativecommons.org/?p=55804 Last week the European Commission announced it has adopted CC BY 4.0 and CC0 to share published documents, including photos, videos, reports, peer-reviewed studies, and data. The Commission joins other public institutions around the world that use standard, legally interoperable tools like Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools to share a wide range of … Read More "European Commission adopts CC BY and CC0 for sharing information"

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Last week the European Commission announced it has adopted CC BY 4.0 and CC0 to share published documents, including photos, videos, reports, peer-reviewed studies, and data. The Commission joins other public institutions around the world that use standard, legally interoperable tools like Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools to share a wide range of content they produce. The decision to use CC aims to increase the legal interoperability and ease of reuse of its own materials.

In addition to the use of CC BY, the Commission will also adopt the CC0 Public Domain Dedication to publish works directly in the global public domain, particularly for “raw data resulting from instrument readings, bibliographic data and other metadata.”

The European Commission joins governments such as New Zealand and the Netherlands in using CC licenses and CC0 to share digital resources it creates. Intergovernmental organisations, philanthropic charities, and funding policies already require CC licenses to be applied to the digital outputs of grant funds — to promote reuse of materials in the public good with minimal restrictions.

The decision to require reuse of Commission documents under CC BY and CC0 was determined alongside a study on available reuse implementing instruments and licensing considerations. Until now the Commission had been relying on “reuse notices” (a simple copyright notice with link to the reuse decision) that would accompany covered materials, but this practice produced “unnecessary administrative burdens for reusers and the Commission services alike.”

In 2014 the Commission released a recommendation on using Creative Commons licenses such as CC BY and CC0 Public Domain Dedication in the context of Member States sharing public sector information.

CC BY 4.0 receives top score in license evaluation

The study mentioned above evaluates various options for the Commission to consider for its own documents, including the “reuse notice”, CC licenses, the Open Data Commons licenses, and a potential bespoke Commission licence. Its authors determined that CC BY 4.0 is the license best aligned with the Commission’s principles for reuse. According to the report, CC BY 4.0 is:

  • Universal: it is conceived to be applicable to all documents (at the choice of the licensor);
  • Unrestricted: generally speaking, the only condition is attribution;
  • Simple: there is no need for an application and it is user-friendly;
  • Cost-free: the text of CC-BY does not require payment of fees;
  • Non-discriminatory: terms of CC-BY are open to all potential actors in the market; [and]
  • Transparent: the text of the licence is publicly available, accompanied by supporting documents, guidelines and other material in multiple languages.

The study notes that not all of the CC licenses and CC0 have been translated into the two dozen official EU languages; there are 10 remaining translations for CC 4.0 (some in progress) and 12 for CC0. We are working with the Commission and the CC EU network to complete the remaining translations.  

Amid the disappointment with the vote in the Parliament on the copyright Directive last week, which leans toward a more restricted, less open web, it is heartening to see the Commission make progress on supporting reuse of the digital materials it creates and shares. We also look forward to upcoming vote this week on the recast of the Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive. This vote could increase the availability of PSI by bringing new types of publicly funded data into the scope of the directive, and provide improved guidance on open licensing, acceptable formats, and rules on charging.  

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European Commission forging ahead to boost public sector information and open science https://creativecommons.org/2018/05/03/european-commission-forging-ahead-to-boost-public-sector-information-and-open-science/ Thu, 03 May 2018 13:00:22 +0000 https://creativecommons.org/?p=54728   While the EU copyright reform teeters on the edge of turning into a complete disaster, last week the European Commission published a proposal for a revision of the Directive on the reuse of public sector information (PSI Directive), and a recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information. Both of these documents are … Read More "European Commission forging ahead to boost public sector information and open science"

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Laboratory Science – biomedical by Bill Dickinson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

While the EU copyright reform teeters on the edge of turning into a complete disaster, last week the European Commission published a proposal for a revision of the Directive on the reuse of public sector information (PSI Directive), and a recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information. Both of these documents are a part of a package of measures aiming to foster a common data space in the EU. Both are welcome additions, as they offer proactive steps to improve the re-use of public sector data and scientific research across Europe.

Revision of the Public Sector Information Directive

The PSI Directive first came into effect in 2003 and required EU Member States to make public information and resources that they produce and collect reusable to the greatest possible extent and was broadened in 2013.  The Commission has already released a recommendation on using Creative Commons licenses such as CC BY and the CC0 Public Domain Dedication to share public sector information.

The revised proposal released last week would further expand the PSI Directive. The update would increase the availability of data by bringing new types of publicly funded data into the scope of the directive, including data related to transportation. It would also push to increase business opportunities by encouraging the publication of dynamic data via application programming interfaces (APIs), as opposed to publishing data in static and difficult-to-use formats such as PDFs. These are welcome changes.  

Of particular interest is the expansion of the Directive to cover research data. According to the proposal, research data is defined as “documents in a digital form, other than scientific publications, which are collected or produced in the course of scientific research activities and are used as evidence in the research process, or are commonly accepted in the research community as necessary to validate research findings and results.” The question of whether to expand the Directive to cover scientific research results was included in the public consultation by the Commission last year. We agreed that research resulting from public funding should be available free of charge and with unrestricted reusability. But since there’s several ongoing policies related to open access to research, we urged the Commission to ensure that policy efforts to improve access to publicly funded scientific research are complementary—and not in conflict with—each other.

A final important addition in the new proposed revision is a clarification that where databases fall under the scope of the PSI Directive, the public sector body responsible for the database may not use the Database Directive to prevent or restrict the reuse of documents. (Elsewhere we’ve argued that the sui generis protection in the Database Directive should be deleted altogether).

New recommendations on access to and preservation of scientific information

Another interesting communication released last week was the Recommendation on access to and preservation of Scientific Information. In the document, the European Commission reinforces the notion that access to and re-use of publicly funded research is a “crucial ingredient in advancing science and benefiting society,” and that “scientific information resulting from public funding should be accessible and re-usable with as few restrictions as possible.” We agree. The results of publicly funded scientific research should be made available under permissive open licenses (such as CC BY), or even put into the worldwide public domain using a tool like CC0.

The Commission recommendations call on Member States to:

  • set and implement clear policies for the dissemination of and open access to scientific publications resulting from publicly funded research,
  • ensure that research funding institutions responsible for managing public research funding and academic institutions receiving public funding implement the policies,
  • set and implement clear policies for the management of research data resulting from publicly funded research, and
  • set and implement clear policies for reinforcing the preservation and re-use of scientific information (publications, data sets and other research outputs).

Both the revised proposal for the PSI Directive and the new recommendations to promote access and preservation of scientific information are steps in the right direction to expand the  re-use of public sector data and scientific research across Europe. They signal a push from the Commission to further integrate these related policies. It will be important that these policies are implemented with care and in consultation with stakeholders to “ensure the coherence and the complementarity between EU open access and open data policies.”

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U.S. Pushes Closer To Making Government Data Open By Default https://creativecommons.org/2017/11/16/u-s-pushes-closer-making-government-data-open-default/ Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:34:46 +0000 https://creativecommons.org/?p=53882 The Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary Government Data Act (OPEN Government Data Act) has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill’s text was included as Title II in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174). If ultimately enacted, the bill would require all government data to be made open by default: machine-readable and … Read More "U.S. Pushes Closer To Making Government Data Open By Default"

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The Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary Government Data Act (OPEN Government Data Act) has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill’s text was included as Title II in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174). If ultimately enacted, the bill would require all government data to be made open by default: machine-readable and freely-reusable. Essentially, the legislation would codify the 2013 Executive Order on Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information.

According the bill text:

‘open Government data asset’ means a public data asset that is

(A) machine-readable;
(B) available (or could be made available) in an open format;
(C) not encumbered by restrictions that would impede the use or reuse of such asset; and
(D) based on an underlying open standard that is maintained by a standards organization;

[and]

‘open license’ means a legal guarantee that a data asset is made available

(A) at no cost to the public; and
(B) with no restrictions on copying, publishing, distributing, transmitting, citing, or adapting such asset.

Along with the Data Coalition, Sunlight Foundation, and dozens of other organisations, Creative Commons has been supportive of the push to make government data available under open licenses or in the public domain using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication. In an earlier letter, we said this legislation will allow the United States to remain a world leader on open data, ensure the value of this public resource will continue to grow as the government unlocks and creates new data sets, and encourage businesses, nonprofits, and others to invest in innovative tools that make use of open government data.

H.R. 4174 was passed by a unanimous voice vote. Now the Senate will consider its counterpart to the House bill, S. 2046.

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