Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving a brief talk at Parliament House on implementing open education

I get the grave yard shift for 10 minutes at auPSI's event tomorrow at Parliament House. I'm to talk about implementing Creative Commons licensing and open academic practices at Otago Polytechnic and University of Canberra, and how that can be used to better manage IP in the organisation.

The main point I want to make tomorrow is:

Setting an organisation's copyright position to Creative Commons Attribution, promoting open academic practices, and retaining individual ownership, drives better management of Intellectual Property in that organisation. 
A CC By and open access default requires those who wish to restrict their copyright and access to make it known to their IP Office, resulting in an early intervention and best possible management of IP at the outset. This intervention would lead to better targeted services such as education, commercialisation, or a variety of restriction management and protection help. 
Setting CC By and open access as a default position ensures that the majority of academic work makes it into an open access and free-for-reuse domain, while the minority of work requiring restriction gets the best possible IP management early in a project. 
IP managers in the educational organisations I have spoken to (Melbourne Uni, Sydney Uni, Uni of Wollongong, Bond Uni), all express their frustrations at being brought into a project too late, leading to complex and time consuming work unravelling years of messy IP management before they can get the project into a position to capitalise on the reason for restricting in the first place. Rather than set up conditions for an early intervention such as I propose, those organisations make a general claim of ownership over all IP being generated in the organisation, believing that will somehow result in better IP management and make the organisation more attractive to private investment. 
Setting policy such as this glosses over the messy realities of education and research. New and visiting academics will bring prior work and new professional networks. Most will likely ignore IP complications day to day, preferring to get on with the primary work instead. Most importantly, draconian policy risks driving bad will through the organisation, often resulting in disputes when academics leaving believe it their right to take their work with them, often claiming they did it at home, outside the jurisdiction of their organisations. An organisation claiming over all ownership fixes none of these realities. Retaining individual ownership promotes good will and a farer relationship between academics and their host university, and can improve motivation and a sense of ownership and responsibility on projects. 
Setting CC By and open access as the default position helps the university to capitalise on the majority of work being generated. Relying on individuals to opt out of the CC By/open access default initiates early interventions with the IP Office, and help that Office to efficiently focus on that minority of work, and offer services for IP education and management.

We're having difficulty clearly articulating this argument in the Proposed IP Policy at UC, but if and when given the time to carefully lay out the points, all critics I've spoken to see the logic and virtues of the approach. Any assistance in getting the argument as concise and accurate as possible would be greatly appreciated!

1 comment:

Cable Green said...

Hi Leigh,

You might listen to this WA State (USA) legislator for some open policy talking points: (borrowed from Tom Caswell's blog)

Reuven Carlyle, State Representative from the 36th District of Seattle, Washington:

1. If the public taxpayers fund something, it should be open and accessible.

2. “If we are successful at nothing else in the next year or two, let’s set a goal to fundamentally change the dynamic so that the expectation is one of complete openness … as opposed to openness being the exception. We have to change the social dynamic to one of openness.”

3. Position open access as a cost savings and one of the most disruptive new approaches, to say nothing of the increased learning that comes of this.

4. Have a clear, simple message about this. This is not a techno-gadget. Be clear on the value drivers.

5. Make the financial case for openness in how it avoids duplication and lack of coordination. We’ll pay for open content once, but we aren’t going to pay for it a thousand times.