open letter for greatly increased public access

A coalition of President, Provosts, and research Vice Presidents of 27 Americans leading research universities and colleges has issued an open letter calling for greatly increased public access to the results of research funded by major federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read the letter here

Promoting Open Knowledge in a Digital Age

The Open Knowledge Foundation is an english non-for-profit organization whose objective is to promote open knowledge, defined as:

Any content, information or data that people are free to use, re-use and redistribute — without any legal, technological or social restriction. The main principles are:

1. Free and open access to the material
2. Freedom to redistribute the material
3. Freedom to reuse the material
4. No restriction of the above based on who someone is (e.g. their nationality) or their field of endeavour (e.g. commercial or non-commercial)

The main purpose seems to be to apply to culture and knowledge the same principles that were developed for free and open source software. To achieve their objectives they work on several projects, a couple of which revolve around the idea of open data and open government too.

To get a better sense of the great work they do…
check out their projects.

Tim Berners-Lee: The year open data went worldwide

Tim Berners-Lee at TED 2010 University: “The year open data went worldwide but we have only just started”.

At TED2009, Tim Berners-Lee called for “raw data now” — for governments, scientists and institutions to make their data openly available on the web.

At TED University in 2010, he shows a few of the interesting results when the data gets linked up. Each of the examples he uses are great but the particular story of how the world came together to map Haiti after the earthquake is inspirational.

Watch it now

What can open access do for academic authors and society?

On Oct. 20, 2009, during OPEN ACCESS WEEK at the University of Western Ontario, two panelists (Professor Joaquin Madrenas, Head of Immunology, Robarts Research Institute and Professor Ajit Pyati,,Assistant Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies) discussed the benefits of open access from the perspectives of scholar/researcher and international development. The third panelist (Professor Mark Perry, Associate Professor of Law) spoke on what academic authors need to do in order to reap those benefits. The moderator (Joyce Garnett, University Librarian at the University of Western Ontario) facilitated a discussion between the panelists and the audience after the three presentations. The presentation is available on Youtube.

Adrien Ho, former McGill GSLIS classmate and study buddy, was an organizer of this event. He currently works as the Scholarly Communication Librarian at the Western Libraries of the University of Western Ontario.

Happy Birthday EFF

The Electronic Freedom Foundation has been defending rights and promoting freedom on the electronic front for 20 years. EFF acts as a watchdog and defends free speech, the individuals right to access innovation, fights to protect intellectual property, and protects our right to privacy in the courts.

To celebrate these 20 years, EFF staff designer Hugh D’Andrade came up with a commemorative poster! You can download your own hi-res copy from their Flickr page (on a Creative Commons Attribution License). The design will also be available on t-shirts on sale at the event.

Happy birthday EFF!