I’ve been looking forward to these weeks for one reason: Creative Commons. I’ve never found time to sit down and learn about Creative Commons, so this was my chance to do just that (of course, that requires that I actually make time to do this class, which the past month has shown I’m not going to do!).
As a person just entering academia, I’m already concerned about ownership of my work. Not because I expect to make any money off my work, but because many journals (the vast majority in my field) require sole publishing rights to my work (which they will graciously, sometimes, allow others to publish). Now, even if this was a fairly open system, it still has major problems–namely that the companies that run these journals (university owned or not) make their money off of the publications. Meaning that they have a vested interest in seeing access to the content of these journals restricted. In contrast, I as an academic have a strong interest in seeing the least restrictions on access to my work: the greater the access, the greater the possibility it will have impact on others in the field or even further afield.
And I admit I’m conflicted. Depending on which direction I choose to go (and I have several options right now), my advancement could be heavily tied to publications, which might require publishing in journals whose rights management I don’t agree with. Certainly there are more open options (Hypatia, a feminist philosophy journal, has a policy that I think makes sense. They allow the author to have full distribution rights on the initial draft submitted to the journal–meaning the draft without reviewer comments), but in the end there aren’t enough journals with open options to make participation in academic publishing . . . unproblematic. I’m tempted to be principled, and I’ll certainly favor journals with more open policies, but I admit it is tempting to forego principles in this case. 😉
Regardless, I am able to deal with my teaching materials and the material on my website. After listening to Lessig and reading over the Copyright Crash Course (paying special attention to the open source section), I headed over to Creative Commons.
I think of my material here (on the blog) and my course material, as mostly open. I want credit and I don’t want my work used for profit, but that’s about it. Which means, of course, I ran into a problem with the ShareAlike clause. Do I want people to be required to use the same or compatible licenses if the build on my work? No, not really. But then I read more closely and realized that I could waive any of this if I chose. That’s the beauty of the Creative Commons license: the whole point is to give you greater control over the copyright you have. As the Copyright Crash Course says here, automatic copyright can be highly restrictive and actually prevent use of your work.
So, after much ado:
Parenethical by Brandon Davis-Shannon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
My teaching work will eventually be released under a similar license (although I’m thinking through the consequences of removing the attribution requirement).