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Information silos prevent knowledge sharing - it is the very opposite of open sustainability, and open knowledge for aid and international development.
When environmental organizations, aid organizations and development organizations act in a proprietary way towards their knowledge, this creates an information silo - information which cannot be shared, remixed, improved or freely used. This restrictions inhibits education, the flow of knowledge, and creativity.
What not to do
Information silos can occur through:
- Thinking that information related to your aid and development projects is only of interest to your organization.
- Enforcing copyright
- Making no clear license statement, which in most countries makes the work copyright due to the Berne Convention.W
- Granting limited permission, e.g. for non-commercial and educational use. This enables only simple and limited sharing which is not usually of great value beyond sharing your information on the web in the first place.
- Keeping your organization's wisdom on hard drives, internal networks, in filing cabinets, or (even worse) only in your head, rather than sharing on the web.
How to be open
The solution is to:
- Make the information you use internally available online, and
- Use an open license (one that allows derivatives and commercial use), and
- Consider contributing directly to a wiki, for example Appropedia
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