Educational Portals and Open Educational Resources in the Russian Federation

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Full title

Educational Portals and Open Educational Resources in the Russian Federation

Page length: 86 pages.

Date: 2012


Alexey Sigalov and Alexey Skuratov


The most widely accepted definitions of Open Educational Resources involve the following major components: the purpose of resources, their intellectual properties rights (IPR) status and an option of free use, modification and distribution.

Open licenses are increasingly employed in various spheres of human activities: literature, science, education, arts, music, cinema, etc. Among the dozens of open licenses applied to specify the terms of use of content, codes and data, Creative Commons (CC) licenses are ranked among the most popular licenses for content. UNESCO IITE policy brief “Open Educational Resources and Intellectual Property Rights”, as well as two workshops organized by IITE in 2011 in Moscow together with the UNESCO Moscow Office, National Research University “Higher School of Economics” and the Institute of the Information Society, were intended to raise awareness on open licenses in Russia and CIS.

The concept of open licensing with respect to content has arrived to Russia relatively recently: people producing and using intellectual products in Russia are predominantly familiar with the concepts of copyright and author rights and unaware or know very little about open licenses, the more so as the culture of sharing is not prevailing yet. Though the use of CC licenses has been gradually expanding in Russia and the number and range of resources distributed under their terms is increasing, the most widely spread practice of opening access to resources suggests publication of a disclaimer that specifies the terms of use. Thus, for example, the materials of the official website of the President of the Russian Federation ( can be freely distributed in all media without any limitations; the only condition is attribution required. This complies with the conditions of the CC BY 3.0 Unported License, which is confirmed by an official letter signed by a president administration official. The terms of use of the information on the website of the Premier Minister of the Russian Federation ( are more limiting and can be interpreted as CC BY-NC-ND. The content of portals and websites of regional authorities in several Russian regions and the materials of an official information portal of state authorities of the Republic of Bashkortostan ( are available for Internet users under conditions that fully correspond to the conditions of the CC BY license, which is confirmed in the terms of use. At the same time, the website of the Government of the Russian Federation ( contains an explicit specification of the applicable license — CC BY 3.0 Unported License.

Thanks to the joint efforts of Wikimedia RU, the Russian Association of Electronic Communications, the Association of Internet Publishers and other members of Internet communities, a considerable progress has been achieved in the recognition of importance of amending the national legislation to harmonize it with international IPR regulations. The Institute of the Information Society, acting since 2010 as Creative Commons Affiliate in Russia, has also contributed to these efforts by examining the legal status of CC licenses in the Russian legal context. In 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev met representatives of the Internet community to discuss the use of open licenses and approved a list of assignments on elaboration of the proposals for amending Russian laws in line with open licenses, in particular, Creative Commons, GNU and FDL, to facilitate open access to information materials for cultural, scientific and educational purposes.

Below are some examples of the use of CC licenses by Russian journalists, media professionals, musicians, educators, entrepreneurs, moviemakers, activists, etc. The first ever online edition operating under СС BY «Private correspondent» ( was launched by Ivan Zasursky, the Head of the Chair of New Media and Theory of Communication of the Journalism Department at Lomonosov Moscow State University. More than 15000 articles by 450 authors and more than 100 interviews with famous people are published in the online mass media. One of the most noticeable projects using CC licenses in Russian media, the “Eternal Values”, was launched jointly with Wikimedia RU on 23 June, 2011 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the foundation the Russian Information Agency “RIA Novosti”. Within the framework of the first tranche to the WikiStore, storage of free media files of the Wikimedia Foundation project, one hundred photographs of the Great Patriotic War have been uploaded under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

In 2011, the project «MusOcean» ( was launched to create a social and information service for musicians: young musicians upload their works to the project website under CC BY 3.0. Electronic music by Russian composers distributed under CC licenses can be also found on the famous website Jamendo. Some musicians involved in the project “Free music” allow access to their works under the conditions of СС licenses. The “Exit Project” ( initiated by Valery Mifodovsky provides musical pieces under CC BY-ND license. CC licenses are used on web sites of some labels — network analogues of offline music publishers (,;, with the support of the P.I. Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory. The first Russian movie licensed under CC licenses (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) «You forgot what we were playing» appeared on the Internet on 24 September, 2011 ( One of the examples of the use of the CC licenses for cultural purposes is the Chuvash national website ( providing information on the history, culture and literature of the Chuvash people, Chuvash language, etc. «The Internet Guide» magazine can also be mentioned among online magazines that are distributed under the conditions of CC licenses in Russia. The books “The Economy of Symbolic Exchange” and “Manifesto of the New Economy” by Alexander Dolgin, professor of the Higher School of Economics, are published online ( under a CC license. Sergey Yuriev, a well-known writer from Ulyanovsk, allowed online access to his books for children and young people under CC BY-NC-ND ( Some Russian writers post their works on the Ukrainian Russian-language literary resource Litfest ( mostly under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 Unported.

Materials on the websites related to development and use of free software are posted under CC licenses:

As to the electronic educational materials available online in the Russian segment of the Internet, CC licenses are used by very few universities and projects. Since 2005, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) has allowed using the materials published on its website ( under the CC licenses BY-NC 2.5. A portal of the Department of New Media and Theory of Communication of the Journalism Department at Lomonosov Moscow State University ( publishes materials under the CC BY license 3.0 Unported. All materials of a corporate portal of the National Research University «Higher School of Economics» ( can be reproduced in all media, in the Internet or by any other means in accordance with the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. СС licenses are used by a number of international Internet projects compiled with Russian contribution or having a Russian version (most of the resources can be adapted for education purposes): Wikipedia, Wikistore, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikispecies, Wikibooks, Wiknews, Wikiversity, OpenStreetMap, Wikitravel, online genealogical tree Rodovod, Google Books, Wikimapia, Flickr, Picasa, photo hosting Panoramio, Open Directory Project, etc.

Several other examples of the use of CC licenses in education are cited below:

  • Educational project of the council of initiative groups and citizens of Tyumen “Free University” delivers popular scientific lectures and organizes public discussions under CC BY-SA.
  • Open educational project «Theory&Practice» (, within the framework of which video lectures are available under CC BY-NC-ND License. It unites people who support a new way of knowledge exchange — Edutainment (education+entertainment).

Most educational materials described in this book are not covered by CC licenses. Federal portals usually properly specify the terms of use of available educational resources, whereas the IPR status of resources available at university websites and personal websites of educators is often unclear. Considering the wealth of existing electronic education, given the decision is taken to make them available to potential users in Russia and abroad, further progress on the way of popularizing open licenses, adoption and use of a new CC 4.0 version of CC licenses would better integrate Russia into the global OER community.

This section was prepared using the materials from the websites of Creative Commons and Creative Commons Russia and the analytical report “The Use of Creative Commons Licenses in the Russian Federation” commissioned by UNESCO IITE to the Institute of the Information Society in 2011.


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