Updated WHO open-access policy web page (12)

1 June, 2018

For those that are interested: the Intergovernmental organization (IGO) suite of Creative Commons licences was launched in 2013 http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2013/article_0026.html. This was a joint initiative between an IGO working group led by WIPO, and Creative Commons.

I don't recall any suggestion by Creative Commons that IGOs should use a specific licence; indeed the fact that the modifications for IGOs were applied to all the licences suggests otherwise. I think that the IGO licences have enabled international organisations to make strides in the area of open access. Whilst some organisations use CC BY and CC BY-SA, others such as WHO and FAO use the CC BY-NC-SA for their publications.

Many commercial uses are absolutely fine with WHO, such as the examples provided below, however WHO does not allow the reuse of its information if this is contrary to its principles and which might undermine WHO's authority, integrity, independence. For example:

- the use of WHO information to promote products and services

- the use of WHO information to imply that WHO endorses a product

- the adaptation of WHO information to mislead readers or promote a proprietary interest

The CC licences contain language on endorsement, use of logos etc, however for WHO this did not go far enough to address our concerns, and we are not prepared to compromise on this important issue.

Anyone wishing to use WHO materials, who is not sure whether the use is commercial or not, is welcome to contact us http://www.who.int/publishing/openaccess/en/. In most cases, we will authorise the use.

HIFA profile: Ian Coltart is Manager of copyright, licensing and external publication, WHO Press, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. coltarti AT who.int