[cc-community] Australia OA 2008 Conference

Carolina Almeida Antunes Rossini carolista.rossini at gmail.com
Thu Sep 25 07:43:05 EDT 2008

Dear colleagues,

The Open Access 2008 conference held in Brisbane, Australia, was a splash of
fresh air and encouragement. The Conference is hosted by Open Access to
Knowledge (OAK) Law Project <http://www.oaklaw.qut.edu.au/> – that
represents Creative Commons in Australia <http://creativecommons.org.au/> -
a Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (
DEEWR <http://www.deewr.gov.au/>) funded project, the QUT Division of
Technology, Information <http://www.tils.qut.edu.au/> and Learning
Support<http://www.tils.qut.edu.au/>and the QUT
Faculty of Law <http://www.law.qut.edu.au/>.

Australia is a leader in the open access movement and now is assuming a
leading position in innovation policy adopting open approaches. A clear and
central example is the National Innovation
has recommended that Australian Government should release material
under Creative Commons licenses - in a
the Committee for Melbourne, Senator Kim Carr (Minister for
has given a strong endorsement of this recommendation, saying:

"We are and will remain a net importer of knowledge, so it is in our
interest to promote the freest possible flow of information domestically and
globally. The arguments for stepping out first on open access are the same
as the arguments for stepping out first on emissions trading – the more
willing we are to show leadership on this; we more chance we have of
persuading other countries to reciprocate. And if we want the rest of the
world to act, we have to do our bit at home."

This discourse was reaffirmed in the opening ceremony of the Open Access
2008 where the audience present watched a video delivery by the same Senator
Carr. As a Brazilian and an advocate for Open Access and Open Educational
Resources, I was proud of the Australians.

After the opening message, we were cheered by John Wilbanks, VP for Science
at Creative Commons and Executive Director of *Science
*, who received the hard task of talking about the Future of Knowledge. His
core message was that ideas want to be connected and this connection is what
can bring revolution in terms of innovation and rates of discovery. John
also called the audience's attention to the fact that there is not just one
future of knowledge, but, at least two (one controlled by a small set of
powerful players, and one open to all) and that we are responsible to choose
the one we want to see realized. We are in the phase that the information is
presented in a human scale, but actually generated at machine scale. Thus,
it is important to make the web work for science as it has been working for
culture or commerce by adding features to the network that allow machines to
make more sense of information, and also to draw in many more minds into the
sciences than are currently there. For this to happen a four layer need to
be added to the ones Yochai Benkler suggested. Physical-Code-Content and
John adds "Knowledge". [disclosure though, John is my husband, so I am
perhaps biased…]

The second session was presented by Dr. Alma Swan from Key
Perspectives<http://www.keyperspectives.co.uk/>and was titled the
"Next Five Years of the Open Access Movement". After an
overview of the OA movement during the – at least – past 5 years, Swan put
her hopes in the Universities as the centers responsible for dissemination
of knowledge and in mandates by universities, Governments and Funders. She
pointed out to the audience that not all is good, since only 20% of research
outputs are freely available and that 20% is not evenly distributed across
disciplines. She also asks OA leaders to give attention to a subset of the
movement – open access to data. Since the output of public funded research
is taking new formats such as databases, and not just papers, mandates
should clearly address this issue. In her words: "Data have yet to be
recognized as a research output".

After a lunch with some fresh seafood, Richard Jefferson from CAMBIA
described his new project PATENT LENS <http://www.patentlens.net/> that is
currently being developed under a partnership with QUT and how they are
providing open access to patents databases and crossing governmental
databases in order to review patents.  Richard added to Wilbanks' fourth
layer of knowledge a fifth layer of "capacity to act" and talked at length
about the thickets of patents that can encase an innovation to the point it
cannot be made available to the world, such as Golden Rice. The Patent Lens
is already available to help users figure out patent landscapes, and CAMBIA
promotes a vision of open society and science in which scientists should
select to use technologies that are not encumbered by lots of patents if
they want to have their innovations dispersed for the greater good.
Jefferson and QUT also announced a new Institute for Open Innovation, based
around the freedom to innovate, in his talk.

During the second day of the conference, two of the main foci were the legal
framework supporting open access. I missed some of the morning sessions,
which focused a lot on quality assessment, and featured Alma Swan again
talking with a presentation on new metrics for assessing impact, and
rejoined the conference before lunch with a session on legal frameworks for
open access. There was a presentation on the CERN approach in which the
"gold road" of taking all the journals in high energy physics to open
licensing frameworks was presented, and we heard Prof. Brian Fitzgerald
talking about copyright licensing for OA in Australia, the Government
Information Licensing Framework, CC licenses in Australia, and open access
to data. He also described the technology strategy the Australian government
is investing to support this initiative.  Regarding open access to data, Dr.
Andrew Treloar, head of the Australian National Data Service Establishment
Project, presented to the audience the project
ANDS<#http://www.pfc.org.au/pub/Main/Data/Tow>– Towards the Australian
Data Commons, which implements many of the
technical and policy elements to create a meaningful Australian Data

The conference is being recorded and will be available online on the QUT -
OAK Law Project page and the Open Access Brisbane Declaration is on the way.

Kind regards,

Carolina Rossini
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