Yesterday I was involved in a conference call collaboration with members from the OSTRICH project from Derby and Bath (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/oer2/ostrich.aspx). Kudos to Vic Jenkins whose idea it was to collaborate on documents relating to guidelines on copyright for academics! As the copyright officer for TIGER the complexities of copyright coupled with a decision to use a Creative Commons licence BY NC SA and the wonders of opening content up to the world rather than locked behind educational institutions electronic and physical gateways makes my job…interesting to say the least. They say that two heads are better than one and I think working in such an environment with such complexities the more heads the better. I certainly learnt from my fellow collaborators during the call and hopefully equally gave food for thought. I think networks and collaboration are the back bone of any work and anyone who actually knows me will attest to that!
Working on the project I now look at materials and the creation of materials with a ‘lets make sure that we can make it as open as possible’. I’m not just talking about material that is being used and created by the project but in a wider sense. Coming across barriers on things such as trying to track down people in audio and/or video materials who only gave permissions for their material to be used by a specific institution or not expressly giving permissions for us to make it available publicly can be a nightmare. I would like to be able to say ‘yes, we can use that, no problem’ rather than ‘no, sorry we can’t get permissions for it’ to the academics who pass over material for me to check and run through my processes.
There is such great quality material out there but without the appropriate permissions we can be a bit stumped. We can run it through such things as the OER IPR risk calculator (thanks for that by the way guys) but at the end of the day it still boils down to be a risk on some level. The last thing we want to do is create such wonderful OERs and then have to take them down because of a sample of the material. In that vein we do have a Put-up and Takedown Policy for that eventuality that helps to explain the process we go through to make the OERs available and the steps someone needs to go through if they find discrepencies with the material and aspects such as permissions. Of course, one way around that is to write or create new materials or do our own videos/audio/photographs. I know some of the academics on the TIGER project are doing just that and signing consent forms and considering making them open, lol. It has certainly been an educational experience for all the project team I think in relation to the different ‘rules’ when it comes to more open licences, copyright and permissions!
Dr. Gemma Towle 18.03.11