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Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi), making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. Poland has a population of over 38 million people, which makes it the 34th most populous country in the world and the sixth most populous member of the European Union, being its most populous post-communist member.

Poland is a unitary state made up of 16 voivodeships.

Poland is a member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), European Economic Area, International Energy Agency, Council of Europe, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, International Atomic Energy Agency, G6, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Visegrád Group, Weimar Triangle and Schengen Agreement.


The establishment of a Polish state is often identified with the adoption of Christianity by its ruler Mieszko I in 966, over the territory similar to that of present-day Poland. The Kingdom of Poland was formed in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a long association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin, forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth ceased to exist in 1795 as the Polish lands were partitioned among the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria. Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic in 1918. Two decades later, in September 1939, World War II started with the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invasion of Poland. Over six million Polish citizens died in the war. Poland reemerged several years later within the Soviet sphere of influence as the People's Republic in existence until 1989. During the Revolutions of 1989, 45-year long communist rule was overthrown and the democratic rule was re-established. That gave foundations to modern Poland, constitutionally known as the "Third Polish Republic".

Despite the vast destruction the country experienced in World War II, Poland managed to preserve much of its cultural wealth. There are currently 14 heritage sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in Poland.

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Poland.

Education in Poland

For a general description of education in Poland see Education:Poland.


For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Poland.

Warning: This material has not been updated since late 2009!

Quality procedures

Internet in Poland

Poland has widely adopted the Internet, with 2/3 of the county over the age of 14 having access to this technology and 3/4 of those using broadband. As in most other nations with widespread adoption, use is anchored primarily in the household, and through a personal computer. However, Professor William Dutton of Oxford University’s Internet Institutes asserts, ‘it appears that the public as a whole and Internet users have a healthy scepticism towards the Internet. Many have yet to make up their minds on whether or not the Internet will improve their lives. They do not demonstrate a blind trust in the Internet, or an overly optimistic perspective on its promise. Nevertheless, most people in Poland have integrated it into their life and work and are adopting new technologies that will enhance the role of the Internet in their lives’.

It seems that Poland still needs to address many of the same issues as other European nations, including concerns over digital divides. A third of the population does not have access to the Internet and those without access are disproportionately concentrated among less well to do and the older and retired public. A quarter of users still do not have access to broadband Internet services. There is also an urban-rural divide in Poland that is less pronounced than in other nations, such as the UK.

Dutton concludes that, ‘I sense between the numbers and statistics that Poland is on the verge of crossing a tipping point at which the public will begin to value the Internet more, and integrate this technology more fully in their lives. Internet users in Poland have a good deal of experience online, but it will take longer for the nation to have a greater store of Polish language content, and applications focused on their particular needs and interests. Already, however, younger users in Poland are more engaged in living an Internet-style of life, with more positive attitudes toward the Internet. Three-quarters of users visit social networking sites, a proportion higher than Britain and many other nations. And it is already apparent that many users are moving into the next generation of access to the Internet by adopting more devices, such as laptops and smart phones that complement the household personal computer as the central point for access and enable greater mobility’.

He goes on to write that ‘users are concerned about issues surrounding their freedom of expression and privacy online. It is critical that government and Internet Service Providers in Poland focus on ensuring that users trust the Internet as a space for democratic expression, open communication, and access to trusted sources of information. The continued economic and social development of Poland depends in part on the vitality of the Internet, and inappropriate or over-regulation of the Internet could undermine that vitality. Too many users believe that government and corporations watch what they do online’.

Sourced from: http://people.oii.ox.ac.uk/dutton/2011/11/17/the-internet-in-poland-2011-bill-dutton/


The most popular ADSL services for home users in Poland are Neostrada provided by TPSA and Net24 provided by Netia. Both provide download speeds in the range of 1 to 80 Mbit/s. and upload speeds of 512kbit/s or more. Business users as well as some home users use Internet DSL TP also offered by TPSA. According to Eurostat, OECD and others, Internet access in Poland is among the most expensive in Europe. This is mostly caused by the lack of competitiveness and lack of know-how. New operators like Dialog and GTS Energis are making their own provider lines and offer more attractive and cheaper service. Recently,in February 2011, the Polish Office of Electronic Communication issued an order forcing the TPSA to rent 51% of their ADSL lines to other ISPs at 60% discount of their market pricing. As the result the prices are non-competitive, other ISP charge as TPSA making a guaranteed 40% profit, while TPSA has no incentive to lower its consumer prices, because it would result in lowering of wholesale pricing just as well. This order will definitely not affect the prices of DSL in Poland and most certainly will not improve speeds. But, the ping times are impressive at 28 sec.

Sourced from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_Poland

Internet in Education

Copyright law in Poland

Intellectual property in Poland is governed by two principle legal acts: the Copyright Act and the Industrial Property Act.

The Copyright Act relates to such acts of human creativity as literary activity, journalism, science, music, IT and many other. The Copyright Act, unlike the Industrial Property Act, does not provide for any registration requirements. However, the rules of licensing, transfer of rights, the permitted scope of use of copyrights and many other related issues are strictly regulated.

Sourced from: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Polish_Copyright_Law

Copyright law in Education

Openaire.eu states that Poland has already developed a good local tradition for Open Access content, with the active involvement of organisations like Creative Commons Poland.

Open Access repositories

AMUR - Adam Mickiewicz University Repository - Included among the repository collections are: journals published at the University, PhD theses, research papers, conference presentations and learning materials. On November 20, 2009 the Rector of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan issued an open access PhD theses mandate - the first in Poland.

Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences - Earlier this year the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences registered an open access institutional mandate – “All newly published manuscripts must be immediately deposited in the repository in the final reviewed version (not publisher's proprietary pdf). Deposits will become available immediately or after expiration of embargo, depending on publisher's policy.”

ECNIS Repository (Environmental Cancer Risk, Nutrition and Individual Susceptibility)

Electrical Engineering Department, Wroclaw University of Technology

Digital Library of the Formal Linguistics Department at the University of Warsaw

Polish digital library federation - the PIONIER Network Digital Libraries Federationis - is maintained by the Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center affiliated by the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of Polish Academy of Sciences.

Open Access publishing

There are 75 open access journals listed in DOAJ.

Virtual Libray of Science - Polish Mathematical Collection

Adapted from Source: http://www.openaire.eu/en/open-access/country-information/poland

However, the University of Economics in Katowice asserts that OA is not so widely understood. ‘Taking into account only one criterion i.e. Ph.D. works access, it should be noticed the only 8 out of the 35 Polish digital libraries enable open access to these works. Some other (i.e. 5 universities) ensure open access at local library to printed copies of Ph.D. works. Only the Rector of Polytechnic Institute in Cracow in 2004 has made decision that Ph.D. works are accessible in open repository for al. According to the survey done in 20 other countries the searching results are similar and the general conclusion is that universities do not strongly support the Ph.D. works to be openly accessible online.

For Polish digital libraries included in the OpenDOAR directory [of which there are 19], the unified standard of metadata, known as Dublin Core version 1.1 is applied for all the stored publications’ description. Although interface standard for eLibra digital repository Internet portal was widely applied, information retrieval is not easy because of the lack of clear classification of repository content and necessity to browse through a mixture of popular daily news, old manuscripts, maps, and scientific publications.

OpenDOAR directory does not cover all scientific research repositories in Poland. Some universities are overlooked and they develop their digital repositories within other projects. For example, Silesian Polytechnic Insitute in Gliwice is involved in Springer Open Choice/Open Access scientific publication programme. Within that programme publication are funded 100% by the Ministory of High Education in Poland within Springer/ICM agreement. Although ICT allows for high speed transfer and mass data storing, it does not mean a permission for uncontrolled redundancy of information. Unfortunately, digital library content classification are not cohesive. Lack of clear classification of publications results in longer time for searching and low effectiveness of information retrieval. Therefore it can be suspected that valuable research publication are not quoted.’

Adapted from source: OPEN ACCESS BUSINESS MODEL AND FINANCIAL ISSUES Malgorzata Pankowska Information Systems Department University of Economics, Katowice, Poland INFOCOMP 2011: The First International Conference on Advanced Communications and Computation.

AGH University goes even further in disputing the widespread use of OA and OER.

Researchers at the institution stated that whilst creating open educational resources (OER) is a global movement, ‘there is still little awareness of open initiatives among Polish educators. ‘The attitude to openness in education varies from very positive to ignorant or even inacceptable according to different professions and academic policy.’

On the Polish educational market plenty of educational materials are published online. However, conditions of using and re-using them might be varied on several levels.

Much online is double closed. Several examples can be provided, but the most important from the academic point of view is Virtual Library of Science, which is a national project of the National Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

It was launched in order to guarantee free access to scientific literature for Polish higher institutions, scientists, academic teachers and students. In fact Virtual Library of Science provides access to closed password protected databases, which can be browsed only. Copyrighted content.

Second the majority of content freely available in the public web is copyright protected. In many cases those resources are high quality materials and could be excellent sources for teachers, trainers, academics for further use and adaptation. The fact that those materials are available for free in the web, does not mean the possibility to re-use them for any purposes. Copyrighted content, even if valuable for education, can be only read, browsed, watched/listened to in a passive way. Example here, can be online repository of educational materials for primary and secondary school Interklasa.pl or scholaris.pl which development is donated from public budget. Excellent example of learning resource prepared for academics is learning materials for informatics studies (Studia Informatyczne, 2006). Authors provided high quality educational materials and allowed everyone for unlimited usage. But if we look deeper, the condition set by authors shows that resources can be used, but re-use adaptation and modification is forbidden. This case is also a proof of wrong understanding of the idea of open educational resources.

To sum up, examples described above illustrate the lowest level of openness which should be called rather availability where the read-only approach is widely promoted. Those resources can be used on fair educational use condition and are opened for public view but at the same time closed for re-use and modification.

Creative Commons

You can also find educational materials available on more liberal conditions based on Creative Common licenses. Here the level of openness can vary according to a type of chosen license. In Poland the main responsibility for shaping open education takes Coalition for Open Education [KOED – a partnership of organisations founded in 2008 to promte open education and science in Poland. Founding institutions include Modern Poland Foundation, the Polish Librarians Association, Wikipedia Poland Association, and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modeling at the University of Kracow, http://koed.org.pl/o-koalicji/ ). Coalition forces using the most liberal CC license with Attribution and Share Alike conditions and promotes the attitude that full openness allows for unlimited re-use, adaptation, modification for any purpose even commercial. But taking into account that in the context of Polish education, the awareness of open educational resources and open education is still low, the Coalition for Open Education supports every project aimed at OER production. It is believed that a small steps approach is better then hermetic, limited access.

Public domain

The highest level in openness gradation is public domain. This institution is strongly developed in United States, where authors and creators can abandon the property right and decide to put their works in public domain, which means that the works is public property and can be used in unlimited way. However, the Polish law system is much more restrictive. Works are transferred to the public domain after 70 years after the death of an author(s). This means that modern works will be a public property for our grandchildren. Currently in Poland, there are several projects of digital libraries which allow for easy access to works from the Polish public domain. For instance, National Library POLONA or the Polish resources in Gutenberg Project.’

Adaped from Source: First Steps: promoting OCW in a New Context (Poland) Jan Markovic, Jan Kusiak, Karolina Grodecke AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland

OER Initiatives in Poland

National OER initiatives

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives



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