Ford Foundation Joins Hewlett Foundation And Gates Foundation In Requiring Research They Fund To Be Released Under CC BY Licenses
from the no-public-domain? dept
Over the last few months, a bunch of big foundations have officially stated that all research that they fund via their grants now has to be placed under an open Creative Commons license such as the CC BY license that says that the information can be freely shared and copied, even for commercial purposes, with the only restriction being that you have to attribute the content to the original authors. In September of last year, the Hewlett Foundation kicked it off when it announced that it was requiring CC BY licensing on all content that it funded, followed in November by the Gates Foundation making a similar announcement. And, this week, the Ford Foundation has done the same:
The Ford Foundation announced today that it is adopting an open licensing policy for all grant-funded projects and research to promote greater transparency and accessibility of materials. Effective February 1, grantees and consultants will be required to make foundation-funded materials subject to a Creative Commons license allowing others, free of charge and without requesting permission, the ability to copy, redistribute, and adapt existing materials, provided they give appropriate credit to the original author.
The Ford Foundation has long supported transparency—including open licensing, which is an alternative to the traditional “all rights reserved” copyright and encourages sharing intellectual property in a digital global commons. By moving to broadly disseminate a large amount of educational and research materials resulting from its funding, the foundation hopes to make its work and the work of its grantees more accessible and ultimately, increase its impact.
This is absolutely awesome, and hopefully more Foundations will follow suit. It would be nice if these foundations also offered up the opportunity to use a CC0 public domain dedication as an alternative (which goes even further than the CC BY license), but that seems like nitpicking for the most part.
Frankly this is great for a few different reasons. First, we’ve discussed the importance of open access and information sharing as it relates to research — and it’s still depressing how much important research gets locked up behind paywalls and stringent copyright enforcement. Second, increasing the amount of work, in general, that is freely shareable can only lead to that work being much more useful to — and used by — others who are looking to build on that work and do great things with it. Third, just in getting more people to realize that — contrary to what some maximalists like to pitch in their propaganda — not everything needs to be locked up to be valuable.
Kudos to these foundations for taking a stand.