eLife signs joint statement on impact of EU copyright reform on open science and innovation

The statement welcomes reform to the European copyright law and was signed jointly with several other stakeholders.
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The following joint statement was issued by Frontiers, with several other open-science stakeholders, on Wednesday, January 11 ( Frontiers position statement: Impact of EU copyright reform on open science and innovation). eLife is pleased to be an original signatory.

Position statement: Impact of EU copyright reform on open science and innovation

As the proposed Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market passes under the scrutiny of the European Parliament and European Council (EC), we European open-science stakeholders strongly urge European legislators to support the rights provisions of a copyright exception for text and data mining (TDM) that is:

  • mandatory and that cannot be overridden contractually
  • valid for any commercial or non-commercial scientific research purposes
  • valid for all those with lawful access (including both public interest research organisations and businesses) as defined in Option 4 of the EC Impact Assessment and the Amsterdam Call to Action on Open Science

Science and technology drive modern society. The results of research must become open to all organisations capable of turning this knowledge into innovative solutions, economic prosperity, and solutions for environmental sustainability.

As open-science stakeholders – namely, representatives of open-access publishers, citizen scientists, librarians, and research organisations – we thus welcome reform of the European copyright law to support research based on TDM, i.e. the automated computational analysis of digital content.

The legal provisions for TDM must be updated and communicated with clarity to allow the expansion of open science and to unlock its benefits for European scientific progress, technological innovation and economic growth, in particular for all those engaged in priority global challenges in areas such as health, agriculture and the environment.

We welcome the provision (Article 3) within the Commission’s proposed Directive for a mandatory exception, that cannot be contractually overridden to existing rights to allow research organisations to carry out TDM of content to which they have lawful access for the purposes of scientific research. However, this exception should not be limited to non-profit/public interest research organisations, as defined.

While we recognise the importance of research by public institutions, they do not (and should not) have a monopoly on knowledge discovery and innovation. This limitation is an artificial and arbitrary impedance that is detrimental to society, as research conducted for commercial purposes may be just as beneficial as non-commercial research. We believe this restriction is against the spirit of the European Open Science Agenda, in particular its action to “Better take into account of public benefits, social interest and the situation of academics and innovative industries when reviewing the European copyright legislation” and to foster stronger relationships “between science and society and science and business actors to accelerate innovation”.

The Council of the European Union has stressed the need for the Commission and Member States to support measures to allow all bodies, including businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to mine results of publicly funded research to which they already have legal access.

We therefore support the position that Europe should remove barriers to the goals of the digital single market and, rather than limiting copyright reforms to benefit only public institutions, should extend this benefit to businesses and society at large.

Signatories to the statement

Frontiers (Frederick Fenter, Executive Editor)

ContentMine (Peter Murray-Rust, Director)

Electronic Information for Libraries (Teresa Hackett, Copyright and Libraries Programme Manager)

eLife (Mark Patterson, Executive Director)

Know-Center (Peter Kraker, Researcher)

Hindawi (Paul Peters, CEO)

LIBER (Susan Riley, Executive Director)

Max Planck Digital Library (Frank Sander, General Manager)

OpenAIRE (Natalia Manola, Project Manager)

OpenMinTeD (Stelios Piperidis, Head of Dept., ILSP/Athena RC)

Public Library of Science (Richard Hewitt, Interim CEO)