New institute to promote knowledge sharing
The Internet Society (ISOC) Netherlands has launched a new foundation aiming to stimulate a society in which knowledge can be shared freely, as well as promoting the production and
dissemination of free educational materials, the Free Knowledge Institute (FKI) will further the development of free software, open standards and open hardware, open cultural content and open
access to scientific knowledge.
‘More and more governments realise the benefits of free knowledge and free information technology,’ explains Wouter Tebbens, president of the new institute and coordinator of the SELF (Science
Education and Learning in Freedom) project, which has very similar objectives.
By being ‘a knowledge partner’ and promoting the concept of global free knowledge and technology, ‘we can elaborate on the existing pool of free knowledge and free software, which is growing
enormously,’ Mr Tebbens adds. ‘Look at projects such as Wikipedia, Linux and the internet itself. Why reinvent the wheel yet again?’
The institute is based on the concept of ‘copyleft’, a form of licensing which removes copyright restrictions on distributing copies and modified versions mostly in the area of computer
software, documents, music and art.
Since summer 2006, the Dutch branch of international ISOC has been in charge of the EU-funded SELF project, in which non-profit organisations and universities from Europe, Asia and Latin
America are attempting to develop a platform for the collaborative creation and sharing of free educational and training material. The SELF platform is inspired by the well-known open online
encyclopaedia Wikipedia and provides materials in different languages and forms.
Knowledge sharing is also high on the list of the EU’s research objectives as well as the European science community’s priorities: The Green Paper consultation on the formation of the European
Research Area (ERA) showed that science stakeholders considered knowledge sharing to be the most critical aspect for achieving the ERA vision.
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