Those of you who check my blog page (rather than RSS feed) will see that I’ve just added a small explanation of the copyright on this blog. In truth, I have been spurred to sort this out by the recent Digital Researcher meeting, as well as questions by others asking if they could use the material here.
This generated further thoughts on why I blog, what I blog, and how I want that work to spread. I’ve answered the first question before, but what do I blog? I think the majority of archaeo-anthro blogging falls into the following groups;
- News items
- Comments or responses to other media (news, web, etc)
- Reviews (conferences, sites, museums, etc)
- Original comment/opinion/theorising
- Original research
Both these last two appear in various forms of ‘finish’, may or may not include substantial references and may have a variety of standards. Recently I’ve been shifting away from news (which I feel a number of other people do a lot better than I could!) and towards more comment and lately research.
How do I feel towards the spreading of this work? Reviews and opinion pieces are easy – I want anyone who is interested to read them, and I don’t mind how people respond or spread them. Perhaps that is because the references to this work that I have seen have been largely positive (though for an unhappy response to my criticism of the V&A see the comments).
But what about my research-orientated pieces? So far there’s been a limited number of these, but they essentially act as short drafts or explorations of a topic I am working on now. In that case, I consider the work to be a) essentially new, b) ‘mine’ in some way, c) worth something (at least in an intellectual property sense).
The reason I publish this last category of work is that I want people to see it, I think it might be useful or interesting, and I’d like feedback on the work. So far I’ve been quite lax in thinking about copyright, but the idea that people might want to use my diagrams or photos makes the concept more important.
I don’t want to lock my work down. I believe in open-access journals, in open access to information, particularly in the case of research and its associated data. I believe in democratisation in information. Even if I didn’t, the only way of preventing people from copying my work is not to publish it. That’s no solution at all.
As a result, I’ve chosen to use a Creative Commons Lisence. In my case, I think it’s important to be able to build on previous work, so I am happy for people to remix and rework my work. I want people to be able to use my diagrams, in their presentations, essays, lectures. That’s why I published them in the first case! But I don’t want anyone to profit from what I’ve worked hard to produce. As a result I’ve chosen a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Lisence.
One thing I’d like to say here is that I’ve seen countless students and lecturers steal things off the internet and fail to attribute them at all. I’ve seen masters students hand in essays filled with images they’ve just ripped off someone’s website with no references. This is crap and highly unprofessional referencing, just as if you’d quoted someone’s article without bothering to insert the reference. If anyone tried this on me, they’d see their marks suffer noticably. I want people to be able to use my work, I hope it’s useful. But please, don’t steal it, attribute it!