A case study of The North American Network of Science Labs Online (NANSLO) published by Creative Commons identifies a number of ways in which open licensing makes a difference to sharing:
Open licensing has made it easier to get partnerships on the road,” said Albert Balbon, Supervisor of Distributed Learning, North Island College, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, and one of the NANSLO leadership team. “There are no roadblocks to us sharing, and nothing stopping other institutions from joining us and feeling more a part of the overall project.
A persistent barrier for low-income, first-generation college students has been cost. “One of the main benefits of open licensing is that we don’t have to pass any costs for licensing content to students,” said Albert. While some of the software is proprietary, all of the curriculum and code written by NANSLO to enable remote access to their servers is open and free.
Daniel Branan, from the Colorado Community College System and NANSLO Lab Director, agrees. “Having this project openly licensed as an upfront condition takes the stress off of all of us. It sets the stage nicely so that everyone knows that everything will be open for sharing. That lowers a lot of barriers.
According to Daniel, “All of the curriculum that references remote lab activities is licensed with a Creative Commons CC BY license. While we write it for our labs, it provides useful content that anyone can use for free.