The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has just released its ScienceImage library under a Creative Commons Attribution license. CSIRO has provided permission for anyone to freely use, repost and transform the collection’s 4000+ high definition images and videos.…
The terms of the new Landsat 8 satellite agreement between the governments of the United States and Australia acknowledge that Geoscience Australia (GA), like its senior partner the US Geological Survey, is committed to making more spatial data more readily…
During the recent devastating flood crisis which affected much of Queensland, geospatial data, specifically digital elevation models or DEMs, were imperative to the creation of accurate flood models and for overcoming many operational challenges.
On 11 February 2011, the Australian Financial Review published an article entitled ‘Floods stress mapping needs’ which emphasises the significance of national elevation data available via Geoscience Australia‘s DEM web portal. The data, which was released on 15 December 2010, consolidates geospatial data from dozens of different agencies. Importantly, all of that data is released under a Creative Commons Attribution licence.
In the debate over the merits of last night’s conservative budget, there’s one thing we’d argue Swan did get right – the licensing.
The entire budget has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution licence. This means the material it contains – the deficit strategy, the fiscal aggregates, the government’s responses to the economic crisis – is all available for free reuse, by anyone, for any purpose, as long as the source is attributed.
A single document, even one that’s 350 pages long, may not seem like that big a deal compared to some of the other open government initiatives over the last few years – like the release of the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s entire store of census data under CC. But as a public endorsement of CC as the licence of choice for the Australian Federal Government, it’s huge.
Following the strong support for open access in the government’s response to the Gov 2.0 report last week, this is a great show of the government putting its money where its mouth is (sorry, I couldn’t resist). In fact, the last week has seen the release of three major Federal Government reports – the Budget, the Gov 2.0 response and the NBN Implementation Study – all under CC licences. This seems to be a great indicator that the government really means what it says – open access is going to be the default position for the Australian Federal Government from now on.
Bring on the remixes, mashups and YouTube tributes!
The use of Creative Commons licences by government in Australia is really heating up! From the Australian Bureau of Statistics releasing all census data under CC Attribution licences, to the Government 2.0 Taskforce recommending that public sector information be licensed under the CC Attribution licence as default, to the Australian Government releasing the entire 2010-11 Budget under a Creative Commons Attribution licence, more and more government agencies are using CC licences to distribute their copyright materials
This webpage tracks these developments and provides information about the use of Creative Commons licences by government agencies at all levels – local, State/Territory and Federal – in Australia.
Want to know more?
Follow CC in Government AU on Twitter at: [@govCCAu](http://twitter.com/govCCAu) or search for the hashtag [#govCCAu](http://twitter.com/#search?q=govCCAu) for updates
Headed by well know economist Dr Nick Gruen and including representation from the public, private and academic sectors, the Taskforce was launched in June by the Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner, to advise the Australian government on “increasing the openness of government through making public sector information more widely available to promote transparency, innovation and value adding to government information” and “encouraging online engagement with the aim of drawing in the information, knowledge, perspectives, resources and even, where possible, the active collaboration of anyone wishing to contribute to public life.”
Now the Taskforce has released its final report – Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0 – and pretty impressive it is too, with an excellent summary of the current state of play for Australian government online – the goods and the bads.
Key findings of the report, which is published by the Finance Department, include:
- Public agencies and public servants should engage more using the tools and capabilities of ‘collaborative web’ or Web 2.0. Forming or join existing online communities of interest around issues of relevance to government policy, service delivery and regulation will help public agencies and their ofﬁcers become more informed, responsive, innovative and citizen-centric.
- Once public sector information is liberated as a key national asset, possibilities — foreseeable and otherwise — are unlocked through the invention, creativity and hard work of citizens, business and community organisations. Open public sector information is thus an invitation to the public to engage, innovate and create new public value.
- To seize the opportunities of Government 2.0, the existing public service culture of hierarchical control and direction must change sufficiently to encourage and reward engagement. Yet it must at the same time, stay true to enduring public service values of impartiality, propriety and professionalism.
Most importantly from our point of view – the report (which is under a CC BY licence) wholeheartedly endorses Creative Commons Attribution as the default licence for government material. In fact, it contains a page and a half long recommendation (no. 6) which spells out exactly how open content licensing can, and should, be made central to Crown copyright policy.
We know we’ve been publishing a lot about licensing of government documents and data of late, but there really has been so much happening that we just can’t resist. This week’s story is one we’ve actually been meaning to post about for a while.
As of late November Geoscience Australia has officially adopted Creative Commons Attribution as the default licence for its website. This means more than 18 877 products available through the website, including 3690 datasets, are now free to be reused, repurposed and remixed, including for commercial purposes – as long as you attribute Geoscience Australia as the original source, of course.