Feb 06 2015

Ford Foundation, Open Access and Really Sharing Knowledge

inandoutKnowledge sharing can be enabled or blocked based on organizational policies and infrastructure. This is essential in sectors that are (or claim to be) for the public good, like non profits, donors and foundations, NGOs and educational institutions. I was happy to read that the Ford Foundation has added Creative Commons approach to all their work, joining the Open Society Foundations, the Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the CGIAR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ford Foundation Expands Creative Commons Licensing for All Grant-Funded Projects

(New York) – The Ford Foundation announced today that it is adopting an open licensing policy for all grant-funded projects and research to promote greater transparency and accessibility of materials. Effective February 1, grantees and consultants will be required to make foundation-funded materials subject to a Creative Commons license allowing others, free of charge and without requesting permission, the ability to copy, redistribute, and adapt existing materials, provided they give appropriate credit to the original author.

via Ford Foundation Expands Creative Commons Licensing for All Grant-Funded Projects / News from Ford / Newsroom / Ford Foundation.

Walking the talk is harder than publishing the policy. Some people still worry that setting their knowledge free will hurt them. So we need to look at how certain professions are rewarded (or punished) when it comes to sharing intellectual property. For example, our way of educating and validating researchers and scientists (“publish or perish”) still pushes people to withhold (particularly data sets) rather than “set free.” I’d be very interested if any of you have research/data that links the benefits of sharing knowledge to professional advancement. I think we either have some myths to bust, or we have serious infrastructure changes needed.

This is resonant with another article shared with me today, from the Stanford Review on the role of including gender perspective for research breakthroughs.  Being open allows access to thinking of others, to diverse perspectives which then inform our work, decisions and results.

Doing research wrong costs lives and money. Ten drugs were recently withdrawn from the U.S. market because of life-threatening health effects – eight of these posed greater threats for women.

Clearly, doing research right has the potential to save lives and money, and this is the goal of the Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environmentproject directed by Stanford history Professor Londa Schiebinger.

With an international team of more than 60 scientists, engineers and gender experts, Schiebinger has explored how gender analysis can open doors to discovery.

“Once you start looking, you find that taking gender into account can improve almost anything with a human endpoint – stem cell research, assistive technologies for the elderly, automobile design, transportation systems, osteoporosis research in men, and natural language processing,” Schiebinger said.

Open our databases. Open our practices. Open our minds. Open possibilities.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.
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