Smithsonian Institution to adopt Open Access

In February 2020, the Smithsonian Institution (SI) will adopt Open Access (OA), which would allow some digital assets to be made available to the public to download and use for any purpose with no further permission required.

What is Open Access?

“Open access is a mechanism by which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. With open access strictly defined, barriers to copying or reuse are also reduced or removed by applying an open license for copyright.” Source: Wikipedia

Soon, website visitors should begin seeing search options to filter out images and digital assets with Open Access copyright licenses similar to how the Metropolitan Museum of Art currently provides a simple Open Access check box in their search page to make it easy to filter results:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art search page

In addition, the Smithsonian will provide Open Access copyright license indicators and full-size resolution download links associated with digital assets similar to how the Metropolitan Museum of Art clearly displays its Open Access for the Public Domain in context with its objects, including the ability to share and download.

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Nocturne: The Thames at Battersea image

Similarly, the europeana collections provides a user-friendly method of notifying website visitors about copyright status, i.e., Can I use it? Free Re-Use vs. No Re-Use.

The europeana collections search filter page

Clicking through to a specific asset, the europeana collections makes it easy and user-friendly to share, download, and understand copyright permissions (below):

europeana collections Italie arch of constatine, Rome (Italy) circa 1880-1990

Clicking on the “Can I Use It?” link displays the following user-friendly copyright status:

euopeana collection open access can i use it? Yes, free reuse. Public Domain Marked.

Open Access makes research and artifacts more accessible

There’s an incredible amount of scientific research conducted at universities and institutions around the world. Historically, the findings of this research have been published in scholarly journals. However, access to this research is typically restricted–granted only to those who are granted permission via their university affiliation, or by purchasing access to individual articles. Open access publishing is a solution to these problems.” Source: Creative Commons

We look forward to seeing open access implemented across all of the Smithsonian Institution’s digital properties.

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