Source Materials

The Best Practice Open Access Principles for Australian Museums, Galleries, Libraries and Archives draw on the following national and international standards, statements and recommendations.


The Budapest Open Access Initiative – the Open Society Institute
In particular, the following definition of “open access”

free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts … crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the
integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.


Europeana Public Domain Charter – Europeana Group
In particular, the following principles:

Europeana, Europe's digital library, museum and archive, belongs to the public and must represent the public interest.
The Public Domain is the material from which society derives knowledge and fashions new cultural works.
Having a healthy and thriving Public Domain is essential to the social and economic well-being of society.
Digitisation of Public Domain content does not create new rights over it: works that are in the Public Domain in analogue form continue to be in the Public Domain once they have been digitised.1


The Seoul Declaration for the Future of the Internet Economy and the accompanying Recommendation of the Council for Enhanced Access and More Effective Use of Public Sector Information - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In particular, the principles seek to implement the following declarations, which were endorsed by the Australian government at the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy on 18 June 2008:

WE DECLARE that, to contribute to the development of the Internet Economy, we will:

Foster creativity in the development, use and application of the Internet, through policies that:

  • Maintain an open environment that supports the free flow of information, research, innovation, entrepreneur-ship and business transformation.
  • Make public sector information and content, including scientific data, and works of cultural heritage more widely accessible in digital format.

  • Encourage universities, governments, public research, users and business to work together in collaborative innovation networks and to make use of shared experimental Internet facilities.
  • Combine efforts to combat digital piracy with innovative approaches which provide creators and rights holders with incentives to create and disseminate works in a manner that is beneficial to creators, users and our economies as a whole.
  • Encourage new collaborative Internet-based models and social networks for the creation, distribution and use of digital content that fully recognise the rights of creators and the interests of users.
  • Strengthen the development of human resources to take full advantage of the Internet and related ICTs, and further develop ICT skills and digital and media literacy.2

Creative Commons Licensing Solutions for the Common Information Environment - Intrallect

  1. Resources should be made available for reuse unless there is a justifiable reason why they should not.
  2. The reuse of resources should be as unconstrained as possible. For example, resources should be made available for commercial reuse as well as non-commercial reuse wherever possible.
  3. The range of permitted uses of resources should be as wide as possible, for example, including the right to modify the resource and produce derivative works from it.
  4. Reuse should be encouraged by permitting others to redistribute resources on a world-wide basis.
  5. Resources should be made directly available and discoverable electronically whenever possible.
  6. The conditions of use for each resource should be linked directly to the resource so that they are reusable at the point of discovery.3

Venturous Australia: building strength in innovation - The Review of the National Innovation System

Recommendation 7.14 - To the maximum extent practicable, information, research and content funded by Australian governments – including national collections – should be made freely available over the internet as part of the global public commons.4


Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Governmental Public Domain Information - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

As a guiding principle, information produced by public entities in all branches and at all levels should be presumed to be available to the public.5


Power of Information Taskforce Report - UK

Quoting Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister, Liberty Speech, 29 October 2007:

to protect individual liberty we should have the freest possible flow of information between government and the people…Public information does not belong to Government, it belongs to the public on whose behalf government is conducted.6


Recommendations from GLAM-WIKI: finding the common ground - Wikimedia Australia

In particular:

Requests to GLAM

  • Use a "free-culture" Creative Commons license (either CC-by or CC-by-SA) for content on GLAM websites which is owned/controlled by the institution e.g. fact sheets, inventory files, photos of objects, statements of object significance and educational materials.
  • Pro-actively publish the copyright status of specific content in the online collection rather than blanket access statements for the whole collection. Give guidelines for users to make their own copyright assessment.
  • Make the access policy for use of controlled/in-copyright content clear. Explain the purpose of this policy as it relates to the project or institution's mission statement.
  • Remove the policy that requires users to ask permission for use of public domain content.
  • Consider offering a free-license for lower resolution/sized institution-controlled, in-copyright content (retaining full copyright over higher resolution).
  • Remove claim of copyright over scans/photographs of Public Domain content as per the "originality" principle.
  • Where content is already licensed as "free for educational use" use a "free-culture" creative commons license instead.
  • Remove "clickwrap" and contracts which place copyright-like restrictions on public domain content.
  • Where specific access restrictions or donor requests are placed on items (whether in or out of copyright) indicate these on the public record. If the item is out of copyright yet the donor's request was to disallow third-party use consider taking the content offline to avoid future conflict.
  • Educate donors about potential for re-use by third parties as part of the donation process.
  • If usage of an institution's controlled content in Wikimedia projects is contested, engage in open discussion rather than private legal action.
  • Make permission/digitisation request processes digital rather than requiring hard copies.

Web and New Media Strategy - The Smithsonian

Various principles, including the following standard:

Content Usage: Establish a pan-Institutional policy for sharing and using the Smithsonian’s digital content, with particular focus on Copyright and Public Domain policies that encourage the appropriate re-use and sharing of Smithsonian resources.7

And the following benefits:

Audience Growth: Through the Smithsonian Commons we can seed the Internet with high-value content and use social networks to increase the relevance and value of our work. Audiences—especially digitally savvy audiences and younger visitors—will immediately understand and respond to the idea of a free Smithsonian Commons. Improved content, features, and clarity can drive audience growth.

Revenue Generation in Harmony with Mission: Attempting to directly monetize access to, and use of, museum content does not appear to be a sustainable business model. Through these low-margin business practices, we alienate users, perpetuate the practice of institutions charging each other, discourage research and publications, and undermine our civic mission. The commons presents an alternative: gradually reduce our dependence on access and use fees by aggregating larger number of visitors under a strong brand supported by sponsorships and other value-added products and services. It is likely that the Smithsonian will make more money by promoting “free” resources to a large audience than it can make charging small amounts for small transactions to a small audience, and it is a much better fit with the mission.8


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