Latest  News

WG5: The public sphere (PUBLIC) now working with WG1 (Education and science)


See WG1 page since WG5 and WG1 merged:

At the Torino meeting of COMMUNIA workshops, it was decided that since most of the ongoing or planned public sphere activities of COMMUNIA are in the field of education and science, WG5 would merge with WG1. Here is an account of the joint meeting of 28 June 2009:

As announced previously, WG1 (education + science) and WG5 (public sphere) met together Sunday 28 April in Torino. Here is a small account that can be complemented from the WG1 perspective.

We first took stock of existing COMMUNIA-related efforts for putting flesh around the Wheeler declaration:

  • As a result as the Università Aperta on-line debate organized by NEXA with Sopinspace during the Biennale Democrazia in Torino (English presentation, Italian debate site), the decision was made to produce a detailed scoreboard (or questionnaire) enabling universities to position themselves on where they stand on the various criteria set in the Wheeler declaration. This effort used the co-ment Web service for collaborative discussion and drafting of the scoreboard.
  • WG1 has since the London meeting set as a target a similar effort with plans to address a wide group of European universities. WG1 used a number of Wiki pages to that effect.
  • Minciu Sodas has given thought to the definition of "grading" for individual criteria.
  • There have been discussion between Berkman, NEXA and Sopinspace of doing an on-line debate priori to the final COMMUNIA Conference which along the line of Università Aperta would mobilize students, researchers, professors and staff of universities in order to get their voice on issues of innovation and knowledge sharing relayed in a structured manner at the final COMMUNIA conference.
  • The Torino meeting focused on two elements:

    • Defining a roadmap, a precise schedule until the final COMMUNIA conference for further drafting, disseminating and organizing debate around the Wheeler declaration scoreboard. The final aim is to be in a position to present at the final conference a structured picture of the European landscape as well as evidence of support of producers and users of knowledge for moving forward further.
    • Agreeing on tools and methods for the next steps.

    1. Roadmap

    The proposed plan is as follows:

    • Obtain a first collectively approved draft of the questionnaire by early September.
    • From early September to the October Barcelona meeting do 3 pilot cases of application to universities
    • At the Barcelona meeting, revise the questionnaire as needed and set an infrastructure (possibility to fill it on-line, comments on how to fill it in the form of a how-to document) and logistics for a wider scale application (100 universities ?). Predominantly focused on European universities but also open to non-European (Japan, US, Latin-America, Africa)

    • Also plans to interact with the Free Culture non-COMMUNIA meeting in Barcelona in order for core work on the Wheeler declaration to be aware of our efforts
    • At the Luxembourg (early February) workshop report on the state of potential policy recommandations and make decisions on wider scale on-line debate for the preparation of the final conference (depending on resources that can be mobilized).

    2. Early steps

    There was agreement that the further work on the questionnaire and associated how-to will proceed by using co-ment functionality encapsulated into pages of the public WG1 wiki. The details of the
    address for accessing these pages will be sent as soon as possible. Meanwhile people can keep commenting directly at Most comments from the WG1 pages have already been taken in account in the co-ment version of the questionnaire. Every member of WG1 or WG5 is supposed to go at least once per week in July to check on the draft and comment it as needed.

    It was also decided to merge the WG5 email list into the WG1 one as work is planned to be common until the end of the COMMUNIA project.

    3. Other

    There was a discussion on what is the aim of "scoring" one university. There was an apparent agreement to consider this scoring as a tool that COMMUNIA contributes to universities to help them position themselves and act accordingly. Meaning that it not an external evaluation tool aiming at ranking or labelling universities. Accordingly, the emphasis is more on scoring individual sub-criteria of the Wheeler declaration than on deriving a weighted overall score.

    There were also exchanges on how far to go into details and how to avoid the effects of a tree structure for the questionnaire (how to restructure it if appears needed from experience, how to avoid "standardizing" the approach to implementation of the Wheeler declaration,rather leaving room for various strategies of implementation.

    Older stuff

    After discussion at the Amsterdam COMMUNIA workshop in October 2008, the workgroup then decided to focus on two tasks:

    • Preparing and issuing an open call (to all interested parties) for position statements supportive of the public domain and voluntary information and knowledge sharing. Each position statement would address a given regulatory, policy or technology issue.
    • Contributing to the work now undertaken by WG6 on "Mapping the public domain" (contents, structure, players and positions, specifics of jurisdictions)

    An earlier scope definition proposal for the WG is archived here.

    Original presentation in the Description of Work:

    WG5 will analyse the way in which the digital public domain interacts with the objective of ensuring a lively public sphere, i.e. the usefulness of the public domain to foster democratic debate and to help citizens to take informed decisions at all levels, from the local to the global dimension. Furthermore, WG5 will study the ways in which norms and norm-setting processes influence the public domain. WG5 will also try to understand whether norm setting and decisional processes on the digital public domain and related issues could be improved in terms of transparency and involvement of all relevant stakeholders, taking into due account the necessary balance between promotion of private investments and activities and protection of public interests.


    Communia-wg5 mailing list (moderated):
    list page

    Communia public wiki
    Communia WG5 private wiki

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

    1- Before reporting on this session, let’s notice that some discussions have taken place between WGs namely between WG5 and WG6 on the scope of the respective WGs. Regarding WG5, the scope should be adjusted to the work done in WG6 and enlarged with some common topics at the cross road of public domain and public sphere. Let us take the example of access to primary legal material, including legislation and jurisprudence. Both are clearly public domain material, but it remains difficult to obtain copies of court cases, opinions or circulars in all the states in Europe. It could certainly be an aspect that WG5 should consider. The next meeting in London covers this topic (public sector) and should clarify and take into account these issues. Danièle is ready to bring some case studies with other partners (Australian CC members will perhaps come in London) on these topics (from legal official domain and other public sector domains as political reports, and public cultural works, …).

    2- The Group meets after the plenary talk of Paul Gerhardt and debates on Creative Archive licence proposition: free access to selected content for learning, creativity, education, means “Clearly legally content”.
    The idea is to gather a strong advisory panel : industry, right owners independent producers, opinion formers, Creative Commons, museums, libraries, archives.
    Necessity to integrate monetary and public values.
    BBC pilot campaigns are based on “open earth archive” (to download, to edit, to share)
    Public values refer to creation, education; commercial values to advertisement, for example.
    More than 100 000 users are registered and 500 000 downloads (15 months pilot).
    But: new regulatory regime, public value, test pressure for funding. Delay on implementation : BBC trust has the management control.
    There is a new direction of Archive content: successful eplayer, pressures, new archives…
    Discussion about case studies:
    Concessions: Pilot is limited to UK, moral rights to third party works.
    Assets (fantastic opportunity to share with other contries).
    Advertising. Business model.
    Moral rights have to see the materiality of the market. They subvert the material.

    Partnership offers

    3) Goals
    a) The plan: calls for position statements
    b) What will we do with the position statements?

    Topic Suggestions: position on “absurdities”, failed sharing
    -- relay positions from Eastern Europe
    -- how does current or proposed legislation affect groups?
    * for example, Green Paper

    Various layers: bureaucrate readable, media readable, advocate readable
    Language: should also be possible to submit in local language

    Calendar of issues:
    -- high alert, urgent matters
    -- longer-term issues, more reflective

    Create list of addresses (for Communia)
    -- list of contacts/orgs for specific topics
    -- (part of larger mapping list of PD)

    Coming back to a pilot case to test process.

    Not only in reaction to bad things:
    -- Continued IP enforcement: term extension, IPREJZ, ACTA, APES more software patents
    But for positive things:
    -- Compensation policies: OA archiving, exceptions & limitations
    -- Reform policies: development agenda, collective licensing, radical reform of medical R&D
    More at: (rough recommendations)

    Purpose: Give voice

    What will we do with the position statements?
    -- motivation factor
    -- publish (Wired? Something cool), offer prizes

    Whom are we asking to contribute? (process question)
    -- generate a list of contacts
    -- generate form for easy submissions
    -- create pages on the Communia site

    before London: put together relevant issues as much as we can
    -- elaborate on the three tiers of issues mentioned previously, 1st send to WG list, then to Communia list
    -- Communia: up to submit 5 issues
    * Three Strikes Law
    * Public Admin layers: local & central/national, including accessibility to local government, Freedom of Information Acts
    * Access to legal information (case law, legislation, mapping, categorization, players)

Members map
Worldwide interactive
map including all

Presentations, papers and other material related to COMMUNIA events are available in the download page

Stay informed

Subscribe to our feeds:RSS Logo
Join our mailing lists: RSS Logo
Join us on: Communia Facebook page

Follow us on:
Communia twitter

Insert your e-mail address to subscribe to our newsletter