Blog archive for March, 2007

Deadline for Summer of Code … this Saturday!

March 22nd, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

The deadline for student applications for Google’s Summer of Code is quickly approaching. Both Creative Commons and Science Commons are providing mentors this year. Selected students can earn $4,500 for working on an open source application for the summer.

Suggestions for projects can be found here. Also, feel free to post to cc-devel for feedback on proposal ideas.

Applications are due on March 24, so act fast!

Showing support for OA

March 21st, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

Last month’s National Day of Action for Open Access raised awareness on college campuses nationwide about public access for taxpayer-funded research. Coinciding with this outpouring of support was the presentation of over 24,000 signatures from around the world in support of open access to European research, presented to the European Commission.

The momentum achieved was tremendous, but is only the beginning.

Building off of the tens of thousands of signatories of the European petition, a number of leading American organizations are backing the Petition for Public Access to Publicly Funded Research in the United States.

In signing this petition, whether as an individual or as an organization, you pledge your support for free and open access to research paid for by your tax dollars. We hope that this will demonstrate to leading policy makers and officials just how important this issue is. Doing so just may help change existing policies.

We here at Science Commons encourage you to join us and over 1,870 other signatories in showing your support.

To sign the petition, click here. For more information on current poicies and legislation regarding public access to taxpayer-funded research, including the Federal Research Public Access Act, visit the ATA’s Web site.

Presentations from recent EC conference on OA now available

March 21st, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

Presentations from the European Commission’s February meeting on Open Access are now online. The conference – Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area – Access, Dissemination, and Preservation in the Digital Age – brought together members of the international community concerned with issues involving access and distribution of scientific publication and data. The two-day conference was held in Brussels.

John Wilbanks (Executive Director, Science Commons) also contributed a presentation to this list, reporting from a parallel workshop on copyright and digital rights management. To view that pdf, click on “Copyright and digital rights management” towards the bottom of the list.

7 things you should know about CC

March 10th, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

Educause Learning Initiative(ELI) offers a crash course on CC this month in its “7 Things You Should Know About …” series.

The series aims to provide basic information on emerging learning technologies or practices in a digestible, easy-to-read format. Past topics include Open Journaling, Digital Storytelling, YouTube and Virtual Worlds.

Click here to read this month’s installment on ELI.

An Open Data project from Google?

March 9th, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

In a recent BBC article, Google’s Chris DiBona talked about a new program under development to help ameliorate some of the transfer problems in moving enormous data sets – up to 120,000 gigabytes worth.

The project has not been released to the public, but would involve taking massive data sets, copying the sets, and keeping the data in open form – whether under a Creative Commons license or some other format.

Now, how exactly does this work? Via hard drive recording systems, DiBona says.

He goes on to explain in the BBC piece:

“We have a number of machines about the size of brick blocks, filled with hard drives. We send them out to people who copy data on them and ship them back to us. We dump them on to one of our data systems and ship it out to people.”

Google would then make a copy of the data transmitted, keeping it open either by putting it under a Creative Commons license or by posting it in another open format.

DiBona, open source program manager at Google, sees initiatives like this a way to ease the burden on researchers in moving data sets far too large for network-transmission. To date, the project has copied and distributed data sets from the Hubble telescope, the Archimedes Palimpsest and worked with other institutions.

“I wished people were doing that for biology, genetic research and antiquities research,” he said.

For more information about Creative Commons licenses and databases, check out our FAQ.

Elsevier, HHMI and Open Access

March 8th, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

Elsevier – a dominant subscription-based publisher – has made a deal with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute regarding Open Access.

Announced today, the agreement will make author manuscripts of articles published in Elsevier and Cell Press journals available to the public (in PubMed Central) six months after publication. The conditions will be applied to articles published after September 1, 2007 on HHMI funded research.

Elsevier has agreed to make both the author manuscripts of original research articles as well as any other data attached to the work available in PubMed Central. HHMI will shoulder the cost for Elsevier to transfer the article and supplemental data to the digital archive, easing the financial burden on individual scientists.

Beyond this agreement, HHMI is also on the cusp of adopting a new policy that would mandate all HHMI funded scientists to make their research articles freely available through PubMed Central within six months of final publication.

Elsevier’s compliance may come as a surprise to some, due to recent press about Elsevier and other major for-profit publishers hiring “PR pit-bull” Eric Dezenhall to take on Open Access. (see our blog entry on this for details)

For more information regarding HHMI and Elsevier’s OA agreement, see the official press release posted today on HHMI’s Web site.

Peter Suber also provides insightful commentary on this. To read his thoughts on the agreement, visit his blog, Open Access News.


March 7th, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

For those attending this year’s SXSW conference in Austin, Texas …

John Wilbanks (Executive Director, Science Commons) will be moderating a panel as part of this year’s SXSW Interactive. The session, entitled “Web 2.0 and Semantic Web: The Impact on Scientific Publishing”, is scheduled for March 10 from 5-6 p.m.

This session will look at the social and legal implications of the concepts of “Web 2.0” and “Semantic Web” as they impact science, scientific publishing, and scientific knowledge. Panelists include Melissa Hagemann (Program Manager, Open Access Project, Open Society Institute), Timo Hannay (Head of Web Publishing, Nature Publishing Group), Matt Cockerill (Publisher, BioMed Central) and Amit Kapoor (PLoS One/ Topaz).

Can’t get enough of Creative Commons? You’re in luck. Here’s a round-up of other CC events, panels and parties.

Monday, March 12

“Open Content, Remix Culture and the Sharing Economy: Rights, Ownership, and Getting Paid” – 5-6 p.m.
… moderated by Eric Steuer (Creative Director, Creative Commons)

GOOD Magazine SXSW Party (CC Fundraiser)

Tuesday, March 13

“Open Knowledge vs. Controlled Knowledge” – 10-11 a.m.

… moderated by Francesca Rodriquez (COO, Creative Commons)

Wednesday, March 14

“Creative Commons, An Introduction” – 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Jon Phillips (Community Developer, Creative Commons) will be giving a free introduction to CC at the Austin History Center, in affiliation with EFF-Austin. For more information or to RSVP: (see also, Jon’s CC post, previously on

Saturday, March 17

Tigerbeat6 Records SXSW Showcase

For a full list of this year’s Interactive Panels, visit SXSW’s Interactive page. Or check out the Film and Music sections.