SCC 2014 - Setting content free: How and why you should use open licences in science communication
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SCC 2014 - Setting content free: How and why you should use open licences in science communication



Wikipedia, open access journals and social media have all transformed the way we look at copyright, and have brought the concept of open licences (such as Creative Commons) into the mainstream.

Wikipedia, open access journals and social media have all transformed the way we look at copyright, and have brought the concept of open licences (such as Creative Commons) into the mainstream.
This movement offers great opportunities for science communicators, by opening up new avenues for communicating work and providing a wide range of high quality content at no cost.
This session will look at the practicalities of open licensing of science communication materials, for content producers (academics, press officers), custodians (museums, libraries, archives) and users (science shows, blogs and publications).
The session will give some case studies of good practice in this field, but the majority of the hour will be given over to practical exercises covering how, why and when to use open licences. This will be followed by a group discussion in which session participants and the panellists can share experiences and ask questions about the issues raised.

Speakers: Robert Kiley (Wellcome Trust), Rosie Coates (science made simple), Oli Usher (UCL)



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  • *Looking at the 50 journals most used by Wellcome-funded authors in 2012 (and excluding all the fully open access journals,) we see that just 10% of these allow self-archiving at zero months. This is a long way short of the evidence presented to the Committee. If we look further – and see how many of these journals allow self-archiving at six months – the position improves, but not by much. Specifically, just 38% of the Top 50 journals used by Wellcome authors allow self-archiving at 6 months;62% of the these journals require a longer embargo period <br />
  • rticles assigned to open access were associated with 89% more full text downloads (95% confidence interval 76% to 103%), 42% more PDF downloads (32% to 52%), and 23% more unique visitors (16% to 30%), but 24% fewer abstract downloads (−29% to −19%) than subscription access articles in the first six months after publication <br /> Oct – Jan 6,876 images supplied <br /> Jan – Apr 55,673 images downloaded <br />
  • Ask a biologist: makes selected PLOS articles comprehensible to all through simple summaries that link back to the original article for further reading. <br /> Media Importer pen Access Media Importer (OAMI), a bot that can scrape and download supplementary multimedia files from Open Access science articles, repositories and data stores.  The bot has uploaded more than 16,000 files to Wikimedia Common <br />
  • I’m going talk briefly about some of the experiences we have at science made simple and our perspectives on creative commons licenses. Science made simple is a small company employing 13 members of staff and designing and delivering science shows across the UK and beyond. There are two main reasons I jumped at Oli’s offer to be in this session. <br />
  • Quality- I want to have great images and video in the presentations I give and on our website and blog <br /> Mission- Part of our mission is to bring researchers and the public closer together. I want to take great research media to schools and festivals <br /> We are careful about the use of images in our presentation and website, especially after being fined for copyright images which had slipped onto our website but we really want to include high quality and traceable images. Sometimes we don’t have any problem with this. <br />
  • Some of our shows are developed in conjunction with researchers, whose research images are then made available to us, like these from our Herschel show. <br />
  • Sometimes we can easily create the image we want in-house, such as this, drawn by one of our team for her primary science blogpost <br />
  • Sometimes the images we are looking for are difficult for us to produce ourselves, but wikimedia commons has something we feel confident about using, like these red bananas for our forthcoming banana show. <br />
  • Sometimes we are able to gain permission from the author of the image, such as this one from our ‘Music to your Ears show’. However this can be very time-consuming. <br /> But sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where we have found lovely images in a research paper, but are unsure of the license status, or it is clear that we cannot use it. For example, it may have a CC-BY-NC license. We are a limited company and we make a profit (generally). Our mission is our primary motive however, and whilst we do aim to make a small profit each year we are a social enterprise so any profit we make is reinvested into pursuing the social mission of the company – which is certainly not to make lots of money. On paper we are a commercial company, but any profits we make are minimal so I suspect we are not the commercial operations which are aimed at being excluded from many NC licenses <br />
  • We then have to try to search for something which looks like it might be the same on e.g. wikimedia commons, but don’t have the credibility assurances we would be really confident about. I’m not sure if this will make it into our banana show, it looks reasonable-ish but it may be that we have to recreate it ourselves to be absolutely confident of what it is showing. <br />
  • We want to be able to act as a support to researchers, enabling their research to reach a wider audience. We want to be able to include traceable images of a good quality in our work. And we don’t want to incur large costs for image use, either through fines or by having to pay fees. I’m looking forward to finding out whether you think these are reasonable wishes. <br />
  • I’m going to talk a bit about how you get your research where it belongs, which is here. <br /> I’ll give a case study of how to use Creative Commons licences to increase the visibility of the science you’re involved in. <br />
  • And I’m going to talk about it from the perspective of … here. The European Southern Observatory, where I worked until about a year ago. <br /> From an open licence perspective, it is light years ahead of any university I know of in the UK, including my own, UCL. All public-facing materials are published with Creative Commons Attribution licences. <br />
  • The European Southern Observatory churns out a lot of pictures like this, showing astronomical phenomena. <br />
  • A lot of what it puts out is actually not real data, but artists’ impressions like this one <br />
  • …and this one <br />
  • …and this one… <br />
  • Not to mention photos of their sites. <br /> (By the way, if you ever get a chance to see an adaptive optics laser, do – it’s amazing.) <br />
  • I think the policy helped a lot to get pictures in the media. <br /> Some people assume that including a picture in a press release makes it clear that a newspaper can use it, but you would be surprised. Speaking as a former picture editor, it’s so easy just to use a library image as a safe option – net result: you’ve lost a chance to get coverage. <br /> It truly escapes me why a press office would go to the trouble of issuing a press release, then undermine their work by slapping an ‘all rights reserved’ statement on the bottom, which so many still do. <br />
  • Where Creative Commons licences really come into their own is beyond the traditional media – and look at reuse of material by enthusiasts, whether in social media or offline. <br /> This is a real guitar, built by an astronomy enthusiast, using one of ESO’s images. <br /> Maybe they would have done it anyway, but they would have been breaking the law. Instead they knew they had the blessing to do it, and this sort of reuse was encouraged. <br /> There’s no downside for the observatory in this kind of use, and it creates a lot of visibility and a lot of goodwill. <br /> Non-commercial use like this is pretty uncontroversial. <br />
  • But I’d argue there’s also a clear benefit in commercial use. <br /> I’m not a fashionista, as you can probably tell, but I think it’s pretty cool that a designer used our pictures on the catwalk. <br /> The observatory lost nothing and gained a lot of visibility, and even got to write about it on its website. That the fashion designer made some money is beside the point. <br />
  • So to sum up: you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain from CC-licensing your material, if your goal is to get your work seen by the widest possible audience. And don’t be scared of commercial use – that’s often where the audience is. <br /> In our exercise in a moment, you should have a chance to think about whether or not you agree with me… and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts. <br />
  • DON’T TALK <br />
  • Feel free to ask us questions now, during the exercise, or during the discussion. I should stress that we are here as communicators, not lawyers – so we’re here to share our experiences of using these licences and the general principles and motivations behind them, and we’ve come to know a reasonable amount about copyright law along the way, but we can’t answer any complicated legal questions. If any of you work in universities, your institutions will have a copyright office, usually in the library, and they are great at answering complex and specific issues like these. <br />
  • Leave this up on the screen <br />
  • Move to this once we’re discussing. <br /> These are the groups you were split up into. I suspect we will see some different choices made in each case, but we shall see. <br />

SCC 2014 - Setting content free: How and why you should use open licences in science communication SCC 2014 - Setting content free: How and why you should use open licences in science communication Presentation Transcript

  • Setting Content Free How and why you should use open licences in science communication Robert Kiley Rosie Coates Oli Usher #SciComm14Free #SciComm14
  • Setting content free: How and why you should use open licences in science communication Science Communication Conference 1st May 2014 Robert Kiley Wellcome Trust @robertkiley
  • Agenda 1. Briefly discuss the Creative Commons licences 2. Consider how Wellcome content is licensed 3. Discuss why Wellcome supports open licences – especially CC-BY
  • Creative Commons Licences • CC licences cover all media types – textbooks, photos, music, videos, articles… • CC licences cover everything you want to do with content – copying, modifying, sharing, re- using • CC provide tools for creators to grant permission ahead of time Licence: CC-BY
  • Four Licence Conditions… Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike No derivatives
  • Attribution [ CC-BY] Attribution, ShareAlike [CC-BY-SA] Attribution, No Derivatives [CC-BY-ND] Attribution, Non-commercial [CC-BY-NC] Attribution, Non-commercial, ShareAlike [CC-BY-NC-SA] Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives [CC-BY-NC-ND] 6 licences + Public Domain Mark And CC0
  • Wellcome Trust and open licences: CC-BY • Trust funded research • When Trust pays an OA article processing charge (APC) work must be published under CC-BY licence • Trust owned images • Trust has released 100,000 images held in Wellcome Images under a CC-BY licence • Trust publications • Trust publications (e.g. Mosaic) published under CC-BY licence • Trust web sites • Content made available under CC-BY Wellcome Images, CC-BY, L0040558
  • Why does the Trust support open licences (1)? • Trust believes that full research and economic benefit of Trust- funded research will only be realised when there are no restrictions on access to, and reuse of, this information • Open licences facilitates text and data mining – which in turn helps to generate new knowledge and insights
  • Why does the Trust support open licences (2) • Much greater use – and therefore impact of the research we fund and the content we produce • Articles downloaded more – 89% when compared with access-controlled content • Wellcome Images downloads – increase of 709% in downloads • Mosaic Magazine Menstrual taboos article: 30k views at Wellcome 334k views at Jezebel + 650 comments Wellcome Images, CC-BY, L0023780
  • Examples of re-use (1) Content available from multiple platforms
  • Examples of re-use (2) Female condoms article – translated into Spanish
  • Examples of re-use (3) Re-packaged content for different and new audiences _Media_Importer_Bot
  • Conclusion • Publishing content under an open licence •Increases the reach and readership •Allows material to be re- packaged for different audiences •Facilitates generation of new knowledge Wellcome Images, CC-BY, L0023767
  • Creative Commons A science communicator’s perspective Rosie Coates
  • 1. Quality 2. Mission Motivation
  • Photo: Thelmadatter (CC-BY-SA)
  • Photo: Robert V Harrison (By Permission)
  • Photo: Xofc (CC-BY-SA) Banana under white light Banana under UV light Banana under UV light with yellow filter
  • What do we want?
  • Using open licences to communicate science Oli Usher Communications, Marketing and Events Manager Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • Nothing to lose, a lot to gain. Do you agree?
  • Postscript • UCL in the snow, Steve Cadman, CC-BY-SA • Night-time view of La Silla, ESO/José Francisco Salgado, CC-BY • APEX image of a star-forming filament in Taurus, ESO/APEX (MPIfR/ESO/OSO)/A. Hacar et al./Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin, CC-BY • Artist’s impression of the magnetar in the extraordinary star cluster Westerlund 1, ESO/L. Calçada, CC-BY • Jets from a Brown Dwarf (artist's impression), ESO, CC-BY • The life of Sun-like stars, ESO/S. Steinhoefel, CC-BY • The VLT in action, ESO/S. Brunier, CC-BY • Guardian cover, astronomical guitar and dresses – fair dealing. (Credit: Guardian News & Media, Wrap Edge, Ruffian) • This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported licence ( • All photos are available under the licences above
  • Exercise • Each group represents a different person or organisation • But each group has the same seven items • Decide which licence you think is most appropriate for each, from the perspective of your organisation • You have about 10-15 minutes, then we will reconvene and talk about our choices
  • The options: • All rights reserved • Various Creative Commons licences (use the flowchart!) • Public domain • … or maybe it makes no difference to you in some cases.
  • The groups • University press office • Academic • Funding body • Freelancer • Science festival • Publication