Our Permissions Initiative
The Internet is a continually evolving entity, with websites being created and disbanded every day. Despite the many opportunities afforded by the Internet, projects like ours, which make use of excellent online resources, are challenged by the instability of web-based content. The threat of link rot is problematic and even debilitating. As a result, the Saylor Foundation has launched an initiative to reach out to intellectual property holders around the world to secure permission to host third party content on Saylor.org. Our goal is to offer a suite of courses comprised entirely of materials housed on Saylor Foundation servers, ensuring stable, uninterrupted access to a quality educational experience.
If you think you might be interested in contributing to our effort, but are unsure about what is involved or how to get started, this page will provide information on how to do just that. If you should have any questions that are not addressed below, please contact our Senior Permissions Coordinator, Steve Phillips, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Is a Content Partner?
Who Are Our Content Partners?
What are the benefits of becoming a Content Partner?
What is involved with becoming a Content Partner?
Will I be fully attributed for the materials posted on the Saylor Foundation website?
How Does The Saylor Foundation Identify Content Partners?
Can anyone access the material I contribute, free of charge?
Why can’t the Saylor Foundation just link to my materials?
If I update the materials on my website, how will your version stay current?
What is a Creative Commons License, and why would it benefit me?
Thanks to our content partners, we can ensure that our students will always have access to the materials that they need, and that knowledge is shared freely.
Many forward-thinking educators, authors, and institutions, including the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, Ohio State University Press, and a number of professors from universities and colleges around the world, have already contributed their materials to our project. Please click here for a complete list of our content partners. If you would like to join our effort, or are curious about our process, please email our Permissions Coordinator, Steve Phillips.
By sharing your material with our Free Education Initiative, you are participating in one of the most ambitious plans in the world for global education. Your contribution will help us bring a university-level education to anyone with an Internet connection. Bertrand Russell once said, “The only thing that will redeem mankind is co-operation.” By working together, we can serve those individuals in the world who are hungry for knowledge, but are excluded in one way or another, from the current educational model. You will contribute—in a very real, material way—to making education a human right rather than a privilege.
There are a number of other practical benefits of becoming a Foundation Content Partner. First and foremost, academic works are created for active engagement. By expanding their distribution, you assure that your material gains a higher level of attention and exposure. If you are an enterprise that relies on advertisements to maintain your work, our talented web design team can arrange your material in a way that continues to generate revenue. Finally, we will host a permanent, stable, online copy of your work, to which you can link and refer should your own online copy be lost.
Any materials that you grant us permission to post will be fully attributed to the author, and if applicable, the entity (University, Institution, or Organization), with which they are affiliated. You can see an example of this here (click on the Justin Wolf reading listed beneath subunit 1.2.1).
While developing the curricula for each of our courses, academic consultants identify zero-cost, web-based educational materials that are both well-suited to the instructional design of the course and capable of engaging and teaching an independent, self-directed learner. Students are then directed to read, watch, listen to, or interact with these resources as they progress through a chosen course. While we use as much openly-licensed content as possible (for more information on “open licensing,” please click here), many of these materials bear a traditional copyright. As a result, we are only able to “link” to these resources, an arrangement that renders large portions of our course materials relatively unstable due to the threat of link rot, website redesign, and so forth.
The Saylor Foundation is committed to open access of all information. No student will ever pay a cent for our services, nor will they be limited by registration or passwords.
This issue has to do with the design of our project. Each one of our courses relies upon the permanent existence of its assigned materials. Learning in an online atmosphere is difficult enough; students shouldn’t need to worry whether the materials that they need are going to be there the next time they visit our site. Due to link rot, web-site re-organization, and failed servers, educational materials can disappear overnight. By storing the materials directly on Saylor Foundation servers, we can guarantee our students the materials that they need to educate themselves.
We understand your desire to keep all copies of your material as current as possible. We have worked out several solutions for this issue with previous Content Partners. One way to do this is through a regular schedule of updates. After a fixed amount of time, we will go through and synchronize all of our copies of your material with those on your website. Another solution is to simply let us know when something important has been updated or changed. Likewise, we will be happy to modify our versions.
A Creative Commons license is a way of licensing your work such that you enable and encourage others to share, promote, remix, and/or build on your work. You have the freedom to choose how your work can be used and re-used with a greater level of specificity. Many educators who have embraced Creative Commons licensing have seen an exponential increase in the adoption and dissemination of their work. For example, The University of Colorado licensed all of its PHET Science Simulations under a CC license. These simulations were run over 10 million times in 2009 alone, and have been translated into over 40 languages. Similarly, when TED Talks re-licensed their popular TED Talk videos under an open license, their viewer numbers soared: TED Talks have now been viewed over 200 million times online. In another case, New York Times best-selling author Cory Doctorow released his book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom under an open license, resulting in 750,000 downloads (as of 2007) from his site alone. To find out other prominent institutions and individuals who have openly licensed their work, please see here.
There are six types of Creative Commons licenses that allow you to define the way others use your work. These range from the most open of licenses, the CC BY 3.0 license, which indicates that others are free to share and remix your work provided that they attribute the original work to you, to more restrictive types, like the CC BY-NC-ND license, which allows others to download and share your work as long as they credit you, but denies permission to modify or use those works commercially. Like many participants and content providers in the open education space, we have adopted the most open of licenses, CC BY 3.0, for all original Foundation produced content.
The details of these licenses can be found here.
If you choose to re-license your work under a Creative Commons license, we will attribute the work to you, provide a notice indicating the type of license you have chosen, and feature a link to the website where your original work has been published.