Open Access Week is a time to talk with our communities about making open access ‘a new norm in scholarship and research’. This year’s theme Designing equitable foundations for open knowledge focuses on designing open scholarly communications systems ‘to ensure that they are inclusive, equitable, and truly serve the needs of a diverse global community.’

Creative Commons (CC) has played a central technical and legal role in open-ness since launching a suite of copyright licences in 2002. The licences, created primarily for sharing content on the web, give authors and creators of other materials in which copyright exists a legal mechanism for giving permission to re-use their work. The licences have evolved over four versions to deliver an internationally robust legal tool for sharing.

Re-use covers a spectrum of activities from simply sharing the work by copying and communicating to adapting the work to create new knowledge. Attribution of the source work is a requirement for all re-use. “Re-use” has sometimes been used as a threat to copyright owners in counter-arguments that a work can be used inappropriately or dishonestly. In reality, licensed re-use creates certainty for authors to manage copyrights and enjoy the citation advantage that open access has over traditional scholarly publishing.

The CC licence is the legal and technical means to achieving an open scholarly communications system. The system includes a broad range of research outputs from datasets to grey literature, pre-prints and journal articles. Open access scholarship is always marked with a CC licence to convey how the work can be re-used. The machine readable design layer enables digital content sharing. CC licences ensure that the work will remain freely accessible. Not all licences allow derivative works to be made. This is an important decision for the author when choosing a licence. Derivative works are created when a work is translated or re-formatted for accessibility. To serve the needs of a diverse global community there are a growing number of translated licences.

The CC licence has been used to share over 1.4 billion items on the web including more than more than 3 million scholarly articles. Open access licensing allows research to be shared beyond the traditional publication channels, and can help reach audiences where they are:

So, for example, an article studying the effects of, say, breastfeeding, published under open access licence, can be posted on other platforms like Facebook or Mumsnet in order to reach the communities who get their information there. Open Access Policy In Practice: A Perspective from the Wellcome Trust

CC licences are just one contribution “designing equitable foundations for open knowledge.” There are many things happening which are critical to creating equitable foundations of knowledge. The CC global network (CCGN) engages with open access as a program area and as a platform of action and communication between network participants.

Creative Commons program strategy The organisation is actively thinking about usability issues and seeking solutions to them. On a very practical level CC provides a large collection of FAQs for authors and re-users to help themselves to information about the licences.

Information generated through CCs programs is highly accessible. We believe that the CC BY licence is the best licence for maximum re-use and that’s the licence applied on our websites and resources.

CC actions for OA Week 2018

Open access scholarship is always marked with a CC licence to convey how the work can be re-used.

Open access scholarship is always marked with a CC licence to convey how the work can be re-used.

Here are two things you might consider doing this this week:

  1. License your work with a CC licence
  2. Join us! Let’s talk about open access every week of the year.