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WG1: Education and scientific research (EDUSCIENCE)


WG1 focuses on the role of the public domain for education and scientific research. More specifically, WG1 will examine the way in which the public domain can or should act as a source of material for education and scientific research; how digital technologies impact on the relevance of the public domain for the scientific process; if and how current policies in granting (or denying) access to research results, both in the form of articles in journals and more generally as collections of research results (e.g. databases) is influencing the efficiency and effectiveness of research and education throughout Europe; whether a "protected public domain" or a "scientific commons" would be desiderable and, if so, which would be the proper strategies to achieve such results.


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Notes on WG1-WG5 Luxembourg meeting, 31-01-2010

First the WG reviewed the recommendation policies published in the wiki related to science, research and education. They decided to rewrite some of them especially the ones on education that included some recommendations on research. From those they decided to establish their priorities to be part of the top recommendations of Communia.

They draft their priorities expecting to develop them once the network decides which will be the chosen ones

1. (Law)
Exceptions / limitations to exclusive rights for educational and research purposes must ...

* be compulsory, i.e. not to discretion of Member States
* not be confined to the physical space of institutions
* apply to education as a process in general, not to institutions only
* apply to both compiled materials and data
* enable activities like self archiving - instead of hindering them

2. (Law/Soft Law)
Evaluation of science in general - especially the evaluation criteria for science funding - should take into account the fact, that the overall value of research results increases by being freely accessible and re-usable.

3. (Soft Law)
Publicly funded activity should by default produce openly accessible results, this includes ...

* as a minimum: public access, including special types like medical trials and the like
* where the publishing body has the right to, it should by default be published as being PD or at least under open licenses
* funders giving the appropriate mandates to the receiving bodies

4. (Meta)
International treaty negotiations must not impose conditions on non-EU countries that obstruct or hinder the implementation of the recommendations made here.

After the recommendations, the WG worked on the open universities survey that has been online since the end of 2009 (and which questions are available there). There have been just a few answers and therefore they decided to work on contact more universities through the members of Communia trying to map as many countries as possible. They will ask universities to fill the survey and explain them that their data won't be published. The idea is to evaluate the data and have some global answers and published them anonymously. They fixed
the end of March as deadline for the survey in order to prepare the results to be discussed in the next working group meeting in Istambul.

Notes on WG1-WG5 Barcelona meeting, 01-10-2009

The WG met to follow up with the discussion of the questionnaire on open universities. Ignasi Labastida has created a first draft of the questionnaire as scheduled and produced a pilot answer for University of Barcelona.
The principal problems that he has found relate to finding answers to the questions on the network infrastructure. This needs further investigation to obtain answers from the technical units. The rest of the questionnaire can be answered easily taking into account that some of the percentages and numbers are not exact and are estimated. The group has discussed some of the questions trying to clarify some aspects and we modified the draft on line. One of the new items is the person who answers the questionnaire.

We decide to open the discussion for a couple of weeks trying to have a final questionnaire by the end of the month. In particular it will be useful to associate a timeframe to answers for which it is relevant, so as to make possible to check if progress has been achieved when a new questionnaire is filled for the same university.

Another decission is to put the questionnaire as on-line forms to facilitate the answers and to register them in a database.

The suggestion to meet at the end of the month again in Barcelona during the Free Culture Forum (FCF) has not received much support and therefore we decided not to organize a WG meeting then. The FCF offered us a special session to discuss about open universities with the members of the educational track. Ignasi will be at the FCF and he will participate in the
educational track where he could explain what we are doing in our WGs.

At the end of the meeting in Barcelona, as suggested by the Communia coordinator, we have revised all the policy recommendations, especially those related with education and research. As we did with the draft questionnaire, we have made some improvements in the recommendations with some suggestions.

Notes from the 4th Communia Workshop, 23rd January 2009

Proposed Agenda:
1- Goals and definition of the WG
2- Collaboration with other WG
3- Previous proposed projects: Mapping limitations, Wheeler Declaration, Bibliography
4- Collaboration in Workshops and Conferences: Torino 2009 and Torino 2010
5- New projects: Mapping European initiatives, Open Access Week (october 2009)

We met to discuss about the future of the Working Group following the advice of the Communia Coordinator to achieve some kind of output in a form of policy or deliverable. After an introductory round everyone exposed her/his interests from education to sciences regarding her/his personal situation.

Regarding the proposed projects that appeared in other working group meetings we decided to focus on the topic of open university since it collects both sides of our group: science and education. The Wheeler Declaration could be a good starting point.

The group also confirmed its interest in organizing the final Communia conference on the theme of university and the commons. Therefore this will be our final goal.

The other proposed projects could be collected in a bibliography to be build, for instance we have already found out some existing studies about the copyright limitations in Europe on research and education.
Other ideas that appeared were to map initiatives on open access and on open educational resources and put them in international platforms, for example in the Open Database of Educational Projects and Organizations (ODEPO) from CC Learn.

Regarding policy we could explore to build a proposal to include data in funding grants that require open access limited to publications.

Nevertheless we decided that the focus of the group will be to work on universities and openness, and being realistic about resources (money and time), we decided to establish a set of easy milestones to accomplish. The aim of our Working Group will be to establish a framework and a methodology to help the universities to walk towards openness and finally to grade universities on openness as they are graded in other fields. The framework will serve a double goal of one hand providing a ranking methodology, and on the other of providing
clear policy recommendations.

To work on that we will use the Wheeler declaration as a starting point and we will publicize it and translate it to different languages.

We will setup a wiki to collect all the work and using it we will start to collect a range of data related to open science, education and higher educational institutions - preferably at a European level, following the Wheeler criteria. At the same time we will start developing criteria to establish the framework.

We will also explore if there is any legal obstacle at the university level to reach openness concerning internal or external copyright regulations.

We do not discard the idea of settling a working day for the group and meet somewhere in Europe.

The first commitment for the members of the group is to work five hours in one of these topics:
- identifying best practices
- building bibliography of research on openness
- finding case studies, data sources and tools
- identifying potential collaborators (organizations and individuals)
- developing the criteria for the framework

Work to be done for the next meeting at the London Workshop:

Open University Research Framework

The ultimate vision is to promote openness (in multiple aspects) of universities and other institutions of higher education. To this end, our goal is to establish a research framework for measuring openness and ranking universities.

Our mid-term goal is the organization of a conference on universities and the commons, in summer 2010.

Action plan:

1. Translate the Wheeler Declaration

2. Using the principles of the Wheeler declaration to identify key areas, we will collect background resources - in each of the five areas:
- bibliography of existing research
- data sources
- tools
- case studies
- best practices
- potential collaborators (institutions and individuals)

Each project member is expected to devote exactly 5 hours to this task until the London Communia meeting in march 2009.

3. We will begin sketching out the research framework by brainstorming questions / measurements:
- what do we measure?
- how do we measure?
- (is there existing data to be reused?)

Each project member is expected to come up with exactly 5 research questions for each of the 5 areas, devoting to this task about 1 hour.

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