The CNR Roadmap for Open Science (Italy)

“On April 28, the Italian National Research Council (CNR, ‘Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche’) approved their Roadmap for Open Science, which is available in Italian via Zenodo (CC BY). 

The CNR serves as a public institution responsible for conducting, promoting, disseminating and improving research activities. With a network of institutes strategically located across Italy, the CNR aims to ensure widespread access to its expertise nationwide while fostering collaboration and partnerships with local businesses and organisations.

Through the Roadmap for Open Science, the CNR sought to identify a clear pathway towards greater uptake and the practical implementation of open science practices. In this article, I summarise some key takeaways from the Roadmap for all interested readers who might not speak Italian!…”

Michelangelo’s David and cultural heritage images. The Italian pseudo-intellectual property and the end of public domain – Kluwer Copyright Blog

“On 20 April 2023, the Italian Civil Court of first instance of Florence (Tribunale civile di Firenze) issued a decision that held unlawful the reproduction by lenticular technique of the image of Michelangelo’s David and its juxtaposition with the image of a male model on the cover of GQ magazine. The reproduction was not authorized by the public museum Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence where the masterpiece is kept….

These recent controversies over the commercial use of images of Michelangelo’s David and Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man emerge from the Italian courts’ decisions while – paradoxically – the reproduction of the image of Botticelli’s Venus for the Italian Ministry of Tourism’s “Open to meraviglia” advertising campaign triggered a controversy about the role of the (Italian) State as custodian of (humanity’s) cultural heritage. In other words, the use of a modified version of The Birth of Venus by Botticelli in the advertising campaign demonstrates that the Italian State, on the one hand purports to decide when the use of cultural heritage is compatible with the “cultural heritage’s scope”, while on the other hand finds it natural to use a controversial modification of a masterpiece like The Birth of Venus to promote tourism….

At the same time, the Italian Ministry of Culture has published new “Guidelines for the determination of the minimum amounts of fees and charges for the concession of use of property handed over to state institutes and places of culture of the Ministry of Culture (Ministerial Decree of April 11, 2023, No. 161)”. These new Guidelines have also triggered a heated debate: some learned societies and scientific associations have raised concerns about the application of the Guidelines to academic publishing. For example, according to the Guidelines, a university press has to pay the Public Sector (Ministry of Culture or public museum) for the reproduction, in a book, of images of public cultural property. As in the Tribunale di Venezia and Tribunale di Firenze’s decisions, the idea is to transform the State into a commercial actor competing with other companies in the market of the commercial reproduction of cultural heritage images….

This conceptual confusion hides the real interest at stake: the creation of a new form of pseudo-intellectual property (in this case, a pseudo-copyright) that would attribute to the Italian State the power to exclusively control the commercial use of cultural heritage images….”

Kein Open Access: Proteste gegen Lizenzgebühren für Reproduktionen italienischer staatlicher Kulturgüter – Archivalia

From Google’s English:  “Many scientific organizations in Italy are protesting against a decree of the Minister of Education of April 11, 2023 ( text of the norm ) and a short-sighted policy that sees cultural heritage as “just a lemon to squeeze”. Scientific publications must also be rewarded….”

[2006.14830] Metrics and peer review agreement at the institutional level

Abstract:  In the past decades, many countries have started to fund academic institutions based on the evaluation of their scientific performance. In this context, post-publication peer review is often used to assess scientific performance. Bibliometric indicators have been suggested as an alternative to peer review. A recurrent question in this context is whether peer review and metrics tend to yield similar outcomes. In this paper, we study the agreement between bibliometric indicators and peer review based on a sample of publications submitted for evaluation to the national Italian research assessment exercise (2011–2014). In particular, we study the agreement between bibliometric indicators and peer review at a higher aggregation level, namely the institutional level. Additionally, we also quantify the internal agreement of peer review at the institutional level. We base our analysis on a hierarchical Bayesian model using cross-validation. We find that the level of agreement is generally higher at the institutional level than at the publication level. Overall, the agreement between metrics and peer review is on par with the internal agreement among two reviewers for certain fields of science in this particular context. This suggests that for some fields, bibliometric indicators may possibly be considered as an alternative to peer review for the Italian national research assessment exercise. Although results do not necessarily generalise to other contexts, it does raise the question whether similar findings would obtain for other research assessment exercises, such as in the United Kingdom.


Bibliosan and Taylor & Francis Agree New Read & Publish Partnership – Taylor & Francis Newsroom

“Bibliosan, the Italian network of biomedical research libraries, and Taylor & Francis have announced a new three-year open access agreement which will significantly extend the reach and impact of research at the 70 participating institutions.

Under the read & publish agreement, articles accepted by a Taylor & Francis Open Select (hybrid) journal will be eligible for open access publication if they have a corresponding author based at one of the Bibliosan institutions….”

Community and Digitisation: the new drivers of cultural heritage – InDICEs Participatory Space

“Are you wondering how Cultural Heritage Institutions, whatever their size, may turn from gatekeepers to gate-openers? How to preserve and give better access to our cultural heritage? What strategy and tools to use to facilitate community engagement and stimulate user participation?

Join us to discuss how to foster democratic and community-focused digital transformation by supporting access and reusability of digital heritage. You will have the opportunity to meet recognised experts in the CH sector and get insights, inspirations and recommendations on how to convert your digital ambitions into digital strategies….”

COMMUNIA Association – The Italian Implementation of the New EU Text and Data Mining Exceptions

“This blog post analyses the implementation of the copyright exceptions for Text and Data Mining, which is defined in the Italian law as any automated technique designed to analyse large amounts of text, sound, images, data or metadata in digital format to generate information, including patterns, trends, and correlations (Art. 70 ter (2) LdA). As we will see in more detail below, the Italian lawmaker decided to introduce some novelties when implementing Art. 3, while following more closely the text of the Directive when implementing Art. 4….

Notably, the new Italian exception also allows the communication to the public of the research outcome when such outcomes are expressed through new original works. In other words, the communication of protected materials resulting from computational research processes is permitted, provided that such results are included in an original publication, data collection or other original work.

The right of communication to the public was not contemplated in the original government draft; it was introduced in the last version of the article to accommodate the comments of the Joint Committees of the Senate and the Joint Committees of the Chamber, both highlighting the need to specify that the right of communication to the public concerns only the results of research, where expressed in new original works.


The beneficiaries of the TDM exception for scientific purposes are research organisations and cultural heritage institutions. Research organisations essentially reflect the definition offered by the directive. These are universities, including their libraries, research institutes or any other entity whose primary objective is to conduct scientific research activities or to conduct educational activities that include scientific research, which alternatively: …

The Italian lawmaker did not expressly contemplate any specific and fast procedure for cases where technical protection measures prevent a beneficiary from carrying out the permitted acts under both TDM exceptions. However, the law now recognises to the beneficiaries the right to extract a copy of the material protected by technological  measures in certain cases. Under Art. 70-sexies, LdA, beneficiaries of the TDM exception for scientific purposes (as well as the beneficiaries of the exception for digital and cross-border teaching activities exception) shall have the right to extract a copy of the protected material, when technological measures are applied based on agreements or on administrative procedures or judicial decisions. In order to benefit from this right, the person shall have lawful possession of copies of the protected material (or have had legal access to them), shall respect the conditions and the purposes provided for in the exception, and such extraction shall not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work or the other materials or cause an unjustified prejudice to the rights holders….”

Open Science Italia is the Italian portal dedicated to Open Science, Open Access to research outputs and many related topics. The portal hosts general information, training material, events, news and updates of national and international relevance, introductory material and resources related to specific problems, as well as analysis and advanced information. It is addressed to the Italian speaking community, contents are only available in Italian for now.


Do open citations give insights on the qualitative peer-review evaluation in research assessments? An analysis of the Italian National Scientific Qualification | SpringerLink

In the past, several works have investigated ways for combining quantitative and qualitative methods in research assessment exercises. Indeed, the Italian National Scientific Qualification (NSQ), i.e. the national assessment exercise which aims at deciding whether a scholar can apply to professorial academic positions as Associate Professor and Full Professor, adopts a quantitative and qualitative evaluation process: it makes use of bibliometrics followed by a peer-review process of candidates’ CVs. The NSQ divides academic disciplines into two categories, i.e. citation-based disciplines (CDs) and non-citation-based disciplines (NDs), a division that affects the metrics used for assessing the candidates of that discipline in the first part of the process, which is based on bibliometrics. In this work, we aim at exploring whether citation-based metrics, calculated only considering open bibliographic and citation data, can support the human peer-review of NDs and yield insights on how it is conducted. To understand if and what citation-based (and, possibly, other) metrics provide relevant information, we created a series of machine learning models to replicate the decisions of the NSQ committees. As one of the main outcomes of our study, we noticed that the strength of the citational relationship between the candidate and the commission in charge of assessing his/her CV seems to play a role in the peer-review phase of the NSQ of NDs.

Linking different scientific digital libraries in Digital Humanities: the IMAGO case study | SpringerLink

Abstract:  In the last years, several scientific digital libraries (DLs) in digital humanities (DH) field have been developed following the Open Science principles. These DLs aim at sharing the research outcomes, in several cases as FAIR data, and at creating linked information spaces. In several cases, to reach these aims the Semantic Web technologies and Linked Data have been used. This paper presents how the current scientific DLs in the DH field can provide the creation of linked information spaces and navigational services that allow users to navigate them, using Semantic Web technologies to formally represent, search and browsing knowledge. To support the argument, we present our experience in developing a scientific DL supporting scholars in creating, evolving and consulting a knowledge base related to Medieval and Renaissance geographical works within the three years (2020–2023) Italian National research project IMAGO—Index Medii Aevi Geographiae Operum. In the presented case study, a linked information space was created to allow users to discover and navigate knowledge across multiple repositories, thanks to the extensive use of ontologies. In particular, the linked information spaces created within the IMAGO project make use of five different datasets, i.e. Wikidata, the MIRABILE digital archive, the Nuovo Soggettario thesaurus, Mapping Manuscript Migration knowledge base and the Pleiades gazetteer. The linking among different datasets allows to considerably enrich the knowledge collected in the IMAGO KB.


SAGE Publishing and Bibliosan sign new Open Access agreement

SAGE and the Italian consortium of Biomedical Research Libraries, Bibliosan, have announced a new open access agreement. The deal will provide online access for Bibliosan’s network, which includes 68 research institutions, to SAGE’s full journal collection of 114 fully open access and 240 hybrid peer-reviewed journals.