This might seem like a strange topic to blog about but it is one that is quite important in relation of the life of an academic in a university. How does an academic receive affirmation for their work? The traditional metric is the publication, preferrably in a high impact journal. But, creative output can take a variety of forms including teaching and learning materials, reports and university documents, and in my academic life, software. I am currently attending the Salzburg Global Seminar series (see http://www.salzburgseminar.org/2009/Sessions.cfm?IDSPECIAL_EVENT=1580&refercode=1580Ad) where these and other questions are being discussed. (click HERE)
Much of the work I have undertaken (with collaborators) in software creation has been released under the conditions of a Creative Commons licence. Why do I believe this important? One, it has the potential to affirm my intellectual property (output), and create a viral licence using the creative commons mechanism that can help improve the longevity of the software, and data. This is the approach taken by the Wellcome foundation in the UK and a prime example is the Human Genome project (see the work of Tim Hubbard from the Wellcoem trust) where the data was released immediately, rather than waiting for the publication. The second reason is to look at a different metrics for thinking about academic output and creativity.
I will be publishing more on this topic as the sessions unfold and would welcome comments. It would be interesting to know if anyone has downloaded the software we have created. Is it being used and developed? Will the conditions of the Creative Commons licence be followed?
Feel free to comment.