11th Annual Open Education Conference call for proposals now open

opened2014-logoIt’s that time of year – planning is underway for the 11th annual family reunion of the Open Education family, and we hope that you’re planning for it, too.

Call for Proposals is Now Open!

The CFP submission process calls for tweet-sized abstracts and brief descriptions of 500 or fewer words. Learn more about the conference themes and then submit a proposal! Connect your content, research, tools, methods, advocacy, badges, policies, and other work with the rest of the field.

Copyright meets Internet (The Harvard Gazette)

The Harvard Gazette recently published an excellent write-up on the complicated issues surrounding copyright and fair use in the MOOC environment.  Here’s a taste of the piece:

…the Copyright Act and its accompanying legal guidelines has long provided those in higher education with a right of exception, letting educators reproduce copyrighted works as long as the material does not exceed fair use and is, in recent decisions, “transformative to the educational experience.”

“The concept of ‘transformative fair use’ allows the use of copyrighted material in a manner, or for a purpose, that differs from the original use in such a way that the expression, meaning, or message is essentially new,” Courtney said.

Yet with drag-and-drop technologies and the ability to cut and paste entire books or images, there are an increasing number of caveats. Faculty members are not just grappling with the fair-use question by reinterpreting “transformative use” in their lectures, they are also pioneering new kinds of collaborations with publishers for their traditional syllabus materials. Moreover, the explosion of online learning, experimental by nature, has proven a natural breeding ground for such test cases.  Read more.

These are issues that were confronted a number of years ago in the OpenCourseWare community, and—through the leadership of MIT OpenCourseWare’s Intellectual Property Manager Lindsey Weeramuni and otherscode_large_7_july_11—resulted in the development of a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare, which has served the community well as a standard of shared practice in this domain.  The code is one of a number developed by the Center for Media and Social Impact at American University.

Harvard Professor Settles Fair-Use Dispute With Record Label (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Harvard Professor Settles Fair-Use Dispute With Record Label

An Australian record label has agreed that a Harvard University law professor’s use of a popular song in a lecture that was posted online constituted fair use of the material, as part of a settlement that ends a legal dispute between the two parties

The record label agreed that Mr. Lessig’s use of the song was fair use, and said it would “amend its copyright and YouTube policy to ensure that mistakes like this will not happen again.” Read more.

Starting today: free open content licensing course for educators organized by the OER university

This OCL4Ed micro Open Online Course (mOOC) will be facilitated by the UNESCO OER Chair network in support of capability development for the UNESCO 2012 Paris OER Declaration (See video on course site from Abel Caine, Programme Specialist for OER at UNESCO.). The OCL4Ed 14.02 course is sponsored by the OER Foundation, the Commonwealth of Learning and College of Liberal Arts, University of Mississippi.

Otago Polytechnic will provide optional credentialing services for this mOOC which will carry credit towards the Open Education Practice elective of the Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education.

(Via @Ignatia Webs)

Sherlock Holmes Is in the Public Domain, American Judge Rules (NY Times)

Sherlock Holmes Is in the Public Domain, American Judge Rules


In the more than 125 years since he first appeared, Sherlock Holmes has popped up everywhere from fan fiction set in outer space to screen adaptations like CBS’s “Elementary,” set in contemporary Manhattan. But now, following a legal ruling, the deerstalker-wearing detective is headed to another destination: the public domain.

A federal judge has issued a declarative judgment stating that Holmes, Watson, 221B Baker Street, the dastardly Professor Moriarty and other elements included in the 50 Holmes works that Arthur Conan Doyle published before Jan. 1, 1923, are no longer covered by United States copyright law, and can therefore be freely used by others without paying any licensing fee to the writer’s estate.

The ruling came in response to a civil complaint filed in February by Leslie S. Klinger, the editor of the three-volume, nearly 3,000-page “New Annotated Sherlock Holmes” and a number of other Holmes-related books. The complaint stemmed from “In the Company of Sherlock Holmes,” a collection of new Holmes stories written by different authors and edited by Mr. Klinger and Laurie R. King, herself the author of a mystery series featuring Mary Russell, Holmes’s wife. Read more.

The State of Open Access (Open Science Collaboration Blog)

The State of Open Access


Open Science Collaboration logoTo celebrate Open Access Week last month, we asked people four questions about the state of open access and how its changing. Here are some in depth answers from two people working on open access: Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and the Harvard Open Access Project, and Elizabeth Silva, associate editor at the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

How is your work relevant to the changing landscape of Open Access? What would be a successful outcome of your work in this area?

Elizabeth: PLOS is now synonymous with open access publishing, so it’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, when PLOS was founded, most researchers were not even aware that availability of research was a problem. We all published our best research in the best journals. We assumed our colleagues could access it, and we weren’t aware of (or didn’t recognize the problem with) the inability of people outside of the ivory tower to see this work. At that time it was apparent to the founders of PLOS, who were among the few researchers who recognized the problem, that the best way to convince researchers to publish open access would be for PLOS to become an open access publisher, and prove that OA could be a viable business model and an attractive publishing venue at the same time. I think that we can safely say that the founders of PLOS succeeded in this mission, and they did it decisively.

We’re now at an exciting time, where open access in the natural sciences is all but inevitable. We now get to work on new challenges, trying to solve other issues in research communication.

Peter: My current job has two parts. I direct the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC), and I direct the Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP). The OSC aims to provide OA to research done at Harvard University. We implement Harvard’s OA policies and maintain its OA repository. We focus on peer-reviewed articles by faculty, but are expanding to other categories of research and researchers. In my HOAP work, I consult pro bono with universities, scholarly societies, publishers, funding agencies, and governments, to help them adopt effective OA policies. HOAP also maintains a guide to good practices for university OA policies, manages the Open Access Tracking Project, writes reference pages on federal OA-related legislation, such as FASTR, and makes regular contributions to the Open Access Directory and the catalog of OA journals from society publishers.

To me success would be making OA the default for new research in every field and language. However, this kind of success more like a new plateau than a finish line. We often focus on the goal of OA itself, or the goal of removing access barriers to knowledge. But that’s merely a precondition for an exciting range of new possibilities for making use of that knowledge. In that sense, OA is closer to the minimum than the maximum of how to take advantage of the internet for improving research. Once OA is the default for new research, we can give less energy to attaining it and more energy to reaping the benefits, for example, integrating OA texts with open data, improving the methods of meta-analysis and reproducibility, and building better tools for knowledge extraction, text and data mining, question answering, reference linking, impact measurement, current awareness, search, summary, translation, organization, and recommendation.

From the researcher’s side, making OA the new default means that essentially all the new work they write, and essentially all the new work they want to read, will be OA. From the publisher’s side, making OA the new default means that sustainability cannot depend on access barriers that subtract value, and must depend on creative ways to add value to research that is already and irrevocably OA. Read more.

(Via OLDaily.)

HarvardX to offer new version of CopyrightX

From their announcement:

After a successful first experience in 2013, Professor William Fisher will offer the networked course, CopyrightX, again this spring, under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The course explores the current law of copyright and the ongoing debates concerning how that law should be reformed. For more information, please see http://copyx.org/.

Like the inaugural offering, in 2014 CopyrightX will offer an online course to approximately 500 participants, divided into 20 “sections,” each taught by a Harvard Teaching Fellow. This group will constitute one of three layers within CopyrightX: the other two are the Harvard Law School course on copyright and “satellite” sections taught in countries other than the United States. Participants in each layer will have the opportunity to engage with and learn from the participants in the other layers.

The 500 students in the online component of CopyrightX will be selected through an open application process that opens on December 13 and closes on December 23. We welcome diverse and international participation; please read about admissions process here: http://copyx.org/logistics/admission/.