A Brief Introduction to Creative Commons

Creative Commons logoAs Open Access Week comes to a close, it is a good time to consider how everyone can put this year’s them of “Open in Action” into practice year round. One of the easiest ways to do this is by offering content that you create under a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses are become more popular all the time and if you’ve used Wikipedia or Flickr you’ve almost certainly encountered them before, but at first glance they can seem confusing since there are so many options. Despite all the possibilities, understanding and using Creative Commons is actually very straightforward.

Though there are six types of Creative Commons licenses, all of them share the same goal of allowing people to share their work with others in a way that both protects their rights and allows others to make use of this work. The differences between the licenses allow you to ensure that these future uses are acceptable to you without future users having to contact you and negotiate individual agreements. The six available Creative Commons licenses are:

  • Creative Commons Attribution (also sometimes called CC BY) – This license allows for any use as long as the person using the item includes proper attribution, a link to the license, and an indication if the item has been modified.
  • Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (also sometimes called CC BY-SA) – This license is the same as the CC BY license with the addition that the person using the item must share their own work under a CC BY-SA license as well.
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (also sometimes called CC BY-NC) – This license is the same as the CC BY license, but with the additional stipulation that the person using the work may not use it for commercial purposes. (It is worth noting that the meaning of “commercial purposes” has been disputed in some cases).
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives (also sometimes called CC BY-ND) – This license is the same as the CC BY license, but with the addition that the person using the item may not distribute any version of the item that they have changed, remixed, or modified.
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (also sometimes called CC BY-NC-SA) – This license requires attribution, prohibits commercial use, and requires that any end product is shared under the same license.
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (also sometimes called CC BY-NC-ND) – This license requires attribution, prohibits commercial use, and does not allow for the distribution of any version of the item that has been changed, remixed, or modified.
  • Creative Commons 0 (also sometimes called CC0) – This license releases an item freely without any restrictions. This means it may be used by anyone, in any matter, for any purpose, and without attribution.

If this sounds interesting, CreativeCommons.org has more information about how to use licenses, including an easy-to-use tool that will help you select the right license for your work with just a few clicks. Or if you still want to learn more, check out the video below!


Open Access eBooks Coming to JSTOR

JSTOR logoThis week JSTOR announced that it will be adding open access monograph titles to its popular platform. In the initial round, 63 new open access titles from several academic publishers will be added to JSTOR and the announcement also noted that they “expect to add several hundred more Open Access titles over the next year.” These ebooks will be presented along with other content in search results, but will also have a green notice stating that they are open access. In all cases these items are offered under a Creative Commons license and DRM-free. Perhaps best of all, the announcement also notes that users will not have to register or log in to access these materials. In addition to the announcement, JSTOR also released additional information for librarians and a list of the 63 titles that will be available initially.

Find an Open Access Copy of a Paper With oaDOI

While the number of academic papers that are freely available through open access is continuously growing, they can still be difficult to find. Impactstory has just released a new tool to streamline this process. Called oaDOI, this new tools lets users search for the open access version of any paper by pasting the DOI of any paper into the search box. If an open access version of the paper is available, oaDOI will take you to it and, if it can’t find one, it will still take you to the paywall page for the paper.

oaDOI screenshot

oaDOI searches across many platforms and data sources, including the Directory of Open Access Journals and the BASE OA search engine, and it is under active development, meaning that improvements are on the way. If you have the DOI for a paper, this is a great tool for ensuring that you are finding and using the open access version of the paper where possible. You can read more about it on the Impactstory blog.

ACRL Updates The Scholarly Communication Toolkit

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and the ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee have released a revised and updated version of their Scholarly Communication Toolkit. Undertaken on behalf of ACRL by Christine Fruin, the scholarly communications librarian at the University of Florida, this new version not only updates and revises the information and resources in the Toolkit, but also represents a complete migration to the LibGuides platform.

Screenshot of the ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit

Included in the Toolkit are resources on a range of scholarly communications topics, including publishing, Open Access, Open Educational Resources, copyright, repositories, digital humanities, data management, and accessibility. For each, there is a brief introduction to the topic that is perfect for those who are new to the topic or those with some limited exposure. In addition, the Toolkit includes a range of resources on each topic from model language to suggested publications and beyond. Overall, this is a great resource for anyone interested in or working in scholarly communications.

Elsevier Purchases SSRN

Today Elsevier announced that it has acquired SSRN (Social Science Research Network), a site that is used to share preprints and working papers, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. Much like Elsevier’s earlier acquisition, Mendeley, SSRN works as a network for scholars and researchers to share their work online, which has led some, such as Scholarly Kitchen, to see this as an indication of “Elsevier’s interest in the open access repository space.” However, as noted by the Financial Times, “news of the deal met with an angry reaction from some academics, who expressed concern that the world’s largest journal publisher might restrict access to papers.” It will be interesting to see what form Elsevier’s interest in open access takes and how the scholarly community reacts to the purchase over the next weeks and months.

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Google Books Case

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari submitted by the Authors Guild in their case against Google Books. In their petition, the Authors Guild had argued that the Second Circuit had “upended the meaning of the phrase ‘transformative use’ employed by” the Supreme Court in an earlier case and had “effectively nullified the four statutory fair-use factors set forth by Congress, including any real analysis under the fourth factor of the market harm to rightsholders caused by Google Books and by its many likely imitators” (pages 3-4 of the Petition). Now that the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case, the Second Circuit’s original decision affirming the fact that Google’s actions meet the requirements of the fair use doctrine.

You can read more about the case and the statements from the parties in the wake of the Supreme Court’s action in the New York Times.

Sweden’s Recent Copyright Ruling Could Impact the Sharing of Images Online

The highest court of Sweden ruled yesterday that tourists may take pictures of art in public spaces but that the posting of these images to Wikimedia Sverige (translated as Wikimedia Sweden) violates the copyright of the artists. You can read the full statement of the Court and the decision on the Court’s website (in Swedish). According to The Guardian:

The Visual Copyright Society in Sweden (BUS), which represents painters, photographers, illustrators and designers among others, had sued Wikimedia Sweden for making photographs of their artwork displayed in public places available in its database, without their consent.
The Supreme Court found in favour of BUS, arguing that while individuals were permitted to photograph artwork on display in public spaces, it was “an entirely different matter” to make the photographs available in a database for free and unlimited use.
“Such a database can be assumed to have a commercial value that is not insignificant. The court finds that the artists are entitled to that value,” it wrote in a statement.

The damages owed by Wikimedia Sweden have not yet been decided. You can read the Wikimedia Foundation’s full response to the ruling on their blog.