Anatomy teaching model patterns licensed with CC

Fieke Neuman is the Teaching Laboratory Manager at the Department of Anatomy Te Tari Kikokiko at the University of Otago Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo. Using her background in fashion and design, she has created anatomy teaching models of various human body parts using fabric, metals, and other materials. She has recently released the patterns for these models under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. I interviewed Fieke about how and why she came to do this.

Burlesque Brain. Creators: Dr Christine Jasoni (initial idea and academic support), Fieke Neuman (patterns, sewing, floam). All from Department of Anatomy, University of Otago. Licensed CC BY-NC-SA.

How did it all start?

At the December 2012 combined AIAS/ANZACA (Australasian Institute of Anatomical Sciences / Australian & New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomists) conference in Coogee I gave a talk about some fabric models I had made for teaching anatomy. I promised to send the patterns to people I’d talked to at the conference, once I’d sorted out copyright issues.

Was it a surprise to you to learn that you couldn’t license the copyright to your work without the University’s permission?

No. I’d sort of known of the University policy regarding intellectual property for decades, without considering that it would ever apply to me. Nowadays it is easy to check on this sort of thing as University policies can be viewed online.

Developing Heart. Creators: Dr Christine Jasoni (initial idea and academic support), Fieke Neuman (patterns, sewing, floam). All from Department of Anatomy, University of Otago. Licensed CC BY-NC-SA.

How did you talk about this with your colleagues?

We briefly discussed the possibility of selling the patterns but decided we would get more benefit, as a Department, by sharing them. Sharing meant using Creative Commons but it also meant getting formal permission from the University to give away the standard copyright (see Otago Intellectual Property Policy, section 4a). So I got permission in 2013 from my Head of Department and he wrote to to the PVC Health Sciences who also gave formal permission.

What made the Anatomy Department decide to share your patterns rather than sell them?

We recognised that it would require quite a bit of time, money and effort to set up the kind of system whereby you could make sales of such items possible — more than could be returned by the process. I’ve run a fashion business in the past and know how difficult it is to make sales to cover all of the costs involved. On the other side of the coin, we strengthen our bonds to our community by being generous and not hiding away information that others could use.

What made you choose that particular Creative Commons licence?

We chose the CC BY-NC-SA licence as it allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon our work non-commercially, as long as they credit the originator and license their new creations under identical terms. It suits the spirit of the scientific and teaching community that we are a part of.

How did you hear about Creative Commons originally?

Internet browsing, National Radio, a review magazine that I subscribe to … It seems to be one of those things that’s just in the air. Refreshingly different from the traditional way of doing things.

Are there any other resources that you or your colleagues are thinking of licensing under CC?

Early days yet. I’m sure other people in our department will be inspired once they see that it can be done.

Elizabeth Heritage is the Communications Lead at Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand.

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