Budapest + Cape Town: What’s Open?
July 18, 2008 § 1 Comment
During our PCF5 workshop on the Cape Town Declaration, Paul West and I got into a collegial debate about the definition of an ‘open educational resource‘. He held up a book he’s working on and said: “This contains legal advice that I’ve had vetted, so I want to release it under a no-derivatives Creative Commons license. I think this is an open educational resource. Do you?”
My answer was ‘no’. For me, the fundamental test of an open educational resource is whether it is under a license and uses a format that allows remixing. This is how we defined it in the Cape Town Declaration:
Open educational resources should be freely shared through open licenses which facilitate use, revision, translation, improvement and sharing by anyone. Resources should be published in formats that facilitate both use and editing, and that accommodate a diversity of technical platforms.
The real promise of open education rests on this remixability. It’s what creates space for increased innovation and creativity in learning.
Of course, there is an important place in education for fixed, authoritative works like the one Paul describes. And, there is no question, releasing these under an open license like CC-ND is a very good thing. However, I would label such documents as ‘open access resources’ rather than ‘open educational resources’.
While may seem like nit-picking, it’s important to be clear on the differences here. The stakes are high. The Budapest Declaration defined the minimum spec for an open access resource, which benefited the worlds of education and research tremendously. Cape Town has now set out a spec for open education resources. It may have a similar effect over time, but only if we are clear that open educational resources represent a separate and complimentary tactic to open access. They are about the potential of remixable education.