I’ve asked twitterites a few times but haven’t got much of a reply yet, so I’m hoping readers have a reference or two to throw my way. Here’s the question – I work on a project that helps share educational resources. We currently support two licenses, a Creative Commons license and a regional consortia license called the “BC Commons” which facilitates sharing amongst the public post-secondary institutions in BC. Obviously this latter is not a “fully open” license as it does limit who can see and reuse the content. We’ve always seen it, I think, as an interim step, a way to get people into the habit of sharing their content but in a ‘safe’ way (and a way that the funders, the BC government and taxpayers, could be convinced of the immediate benefits).

Increasingly we are looking to try and increase the use of “fully open” licenses like Creative Commons, but in order to take this step we need to make the case to funders (as well, ultimately, to the content owners) as to why publishing under a fully open license is a better idea, for them, for the funders and ultimately the taxpayers.

So, I am looking for as many good references as I can find to help make the case. I wish it were enough to simply point people at David Wiley’s BCNet talk from 2007 (heck, it was given here in BC) because if you ask me, slam dunk!

Unfortunately, I need more, especially actual studies of the benefits or effects of sharing in a fully open way (and especially where a group moved from a more closed to more open model of sharing). Anything that can support or illustrate these kinds of arguments:

  • making resources fully open increases the number of accesses (and reuse) of resources, both within and outside of the original constituency
  • resources that are made fully open will have more improvements made to them, and thus end up as higher quality resources at no cost, then resources that aren’t
  • making resources fully open can provide additional returns for the organizations that do so in the form of increased brand recognition, increased student enrollments, better prepared existing students, etc.
  • making resources fully open leads to increased opportunities for partnership
  • making resources fully open does not substantially impact revenues to the content owner or institution (and indeed may increase it)

Anything is helpful, and I assume there are others trying to make this case in their own jurisdictions. Do you know of any studies that we can cite to substantiate the above propositions? Or indeed other propositions we should be staking the case on?