1.4 Open Information and Data Resources

In addition to articles, other forms of resources such as learning resources, theses, dissertations, technical reports are also being published as open access materials. OpenCourseWare4 is a well-known project of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that hosts all the course materials at the graduate and undergraduate level online. NDLTD, the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, promotes the creation, use, dissemination and preservation of electronic theses and dissertations. In India NPTEL5 hosts e-learning material in engineering, science and humanities streams. Looking at the future it is not only open information resources but also different kinds of data that needs to be open, that is freely accessible. While open information resources are main part of the knowledge generation, dissemination and growth cycle, open data will help in new interpretations, trend predictions and diverse and innovative applications of data. Information resources such as learned articles were owned and maintained by journal publishers while data were being hoarded and guarded by the laboratories, research communities, corporates and also governments. They were data held confidential in order to exploit their potential as a tool to produce results or products. With the open access movement however attention has now turned to open data as well.

The Openness Definition

According to opendefinition.org, a work is open if its manner of distribution satisfies the following conditions:

1. Access - The work shall be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably downloading via the Internet without charge. The work must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.

2. Redistribution - The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the work either on its own or as part of a package made from works from many different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale or distribution.

3. Reuse - The license must allow for modifications and derivative works and must allow them to be distributed under the terms of the original work.

4. Absence of Technological Restriction - The work must be provided in such a form that there are no technological obstacles to the performance of the above activities. This can be achieved by the provision of the work in an open data format, i.e. one whose specification is publicly and freely available and which places no restrictions, monetary or otherwise upon its use.

5. Attribution - The license may require as a condition for redistribution and re-use the attribution of the contributors and creators to the work. If this condition is imposed it must not be onerous. For example if attribution is required, a list of those requiring attribution should accompany the work.

6. Integrity - The license may require as a condition for the work being distributed in modified form that the resulting work carry a different name or version number from the original work.

7. No Discrimination against Persons or Groups - The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

8. No Discrimination against Fields of Endeavor - The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the work in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the work from being used in a business or from being used for university research.

9. Distribution of License - The rights attached to the work must apply to all to whom it is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

10. License Must Not Be Specific to a Package - The rights attached to the work must not depend on the work being part of a particular package. If the work is extracted from that package and used or distributed within the terms of the work’s license, all parties to whom the work is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original package.

11. License Must Not Restrict the Distribution of Other Works - The license must not place restrictions on other works that are distributed along with the licensed work. For example, the license must not insist that all other works distributed on the same medium are open.

So, we can say that "open" in "open content" refers to granting of copyright permissions above and beyond those offered by standard copyright law. "Open content," then, is content that is licensed in a manner that provides users with the right to make more kinds of uses than those normally permitted under the law - at no cost to the user.The primary permissions or usage rights open content is concerned with are expressed in the "4Rs Framework6"

1.Reuse - the right to reuse the content in its unaltered/verbatim form (e.g., make a backup copy of the content).

2.Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language).

3.Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup).

4.Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or yourremixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)”.

1.4.1 Open Data

“Open data is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike.”7The full Open Definition gives precise details as to what this means. To summarize the most important8:.

Availability and Access: The data must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading over the internet. The data must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.

Re-use and Redistribution: the data must be provided under terms that permit re-use and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets.

Universal Participation: everyone must be able to use, re-use and redistribute - there should be no discrimination against fields of endeavour or against persons or groups. For example, ‘non commercial’ restrictions that would prevent ‘commercial’ use, or restrictions of use for certain purposes (e.g. only in education), are not allowed.

1.4.2 Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) can be defined as free and open digital publications of high quality materials organized as courses that include lectures, related reading materials, snapshots of discussions, assignments, evaluations, etc used in academic environments such universities, training institutes, schools and colleges. Access to these resources radically breaks down the barriers to quality education and allows free access course material that is prepared and evaluated by experts. These are prepared in open standard format and are interactive in nature. MIT has been one of the first universities involved in the generation of OER. Others include Carnegie Mellon, Yale and John Hopkins University. Universities in other countries also joined the movement. Courses abound in the area of science, technology, medicine and engineering, liberal arts OER ‘have remained behind. India has not remained behind in OER. IITs along with IISc and some other premier institutions in engineering launched the first OER platform as National Programme in Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL). Funded by MHRD, it has web based courses in basic sciences & engineering. It is a facility for learners and trainers of far-flung areas who do not have direct, first- classfacilities in teaching and learning. Another example is the Ekalavya project launched by IIT, Bombay. The content developed in Ekalavya is in various Indian languages. It has also developed an Open Source Educational Resources Animation Repository (OSCAR) and provides web-based interactive animations for teaching and learning. OSCAR provides a platform for mentors/professors to suggest ideas for animation and for developers/students to create content based on the suggested ideas and guidance. Industry has funded the project. E-Grid is the third main Open Educational Resources initiative of India that develops and maintains pedagogically sound and refereed Educational Resources in identified subjects.

Last modified: Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 11:03 AM