The “O” in CORE stands for “open-access”. Some of you have contacted us to ask what this means in practice. Rajiv Sethi, professor of Economics at Barnard College, Columbia University, and one of the economists who helped create The Economy, explains clearly in this helpful blog why The CORE Project has a bigger goal than the creation of a textbook. He writes:
“Far more important than the content innovations in the book are the process innovations… It is released under a creative commons license, so that any user can customise, translate, or improve it for their own use or the use of their students. Most importantly, we see this initial product not as a stand-alone text, but rather as the foundation on which an entire curriculum can be built.”
Both ebook and the non-interactive PDFs are covered by a CC licence known snappily as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International. It is designed to help you to “customise and improve”, while respecting our obligations to contributors. Here’s how it works:
Although we would be delighted if you used the complete ebook to teach a course, we understand that you might not be able (or wish) to do this. So by all means use sections of text or selected diagrams. We simply ask that you credit The CORE Project and state that the material is extracted or modified.
The Economist recently pointed out that “the nominal price of textbooks has risen more than fifteenfold since 1970, three times the rate of inflation”. We offer The Economy as a free download. No one should charge you for access to this ebook, or any other CORE Project material. Let us know if this happens!
But there is one restriction. We would also prefer that, if you modify our material, you do not redistribute it to the public without our permission. For example, if you replace our text with yours, please don’t place it on public internet servers without asking us. This is so that we can be sure we fulfil our obligations to contributors.
We don’t want the last part of this CC licence to discourage anyone from using our material creatively. We hope to create the larger curriculum that Rajiv describes and so we will be flexible whenever we can, because we cannot do it alone. For example, we know that our course would be more valuable if students had access to localised versions and foreign-language translations. If anyone wants to contribute (for example, several of you have already offered to translate) we would be pleased to hear from you.