Special Briefing for SPARC Members & Government Relations Offices: Potential Action on Open Access in the U.S. House – Jun 28, 2021 – SPARC

“The Senate recently passed the U.S. Innovation & Competition Act (USICA) which unexpectedly included language advancing access to federally-funded research results. The legislation now moves to the House where lawmakers are simultaneously working on another bill, the NSF for the Future Act. Open access will likely come up during discussions on either or both bills, and we want to ensure that your campus has all the relevant information about SPARC’s position on a zero-embargo national open access policy.

 

Although the timing of legislative action is uncertain, SPARC is offering this special briefing for members to learn about the current state of play and to ensure that your institution is prepared to take action in support of open access if and when the opportunity arises. This is an excellent opportunity for institutions to invite a representative from your government relations offices to also attend the briefing, if possible. …”

Texas Adopts Transparency Measure for Automatic Textbook Billing – SPARC

“The U.S. state of Texas has enacted the nation’s first law to increase transparency for automatic textbook billing programs. Sponsored by Representative Tan Parker and Senator Brandon Creighton, House Bill 1027 received bipartisan approval from the state legislature last month and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbot last week.

Often marketed using the term “inclusive access,” automatic textbook billing is the practice of charging the cost of digital course materials to a student’s tuition and fee bill. While some of these programs are implemented on a voluntary “opt-in” basis, others are implemented without confirming a student’s consent, which can lead to unexpected charges and limited ability to seek cost-saving alternatives such as used books. Moreover, these programs effectively force students to accept the publisher’s terms of service, which can open the door to the extensive collection and processing of their personal data….”

PIJIP and Wikimedia Germany Co-Host RightsCon 2021 Panel – American University Washington College of Law

“PIJIP Director Sean Flynn co-hosted a panel titled Access to Digital Education in the Time of COVID-19: Copyright and Public Health Emergencies as part of RightsCon 2021. He hosted the discussion with Justus Dreyling, the project manager of international regulation with Wikimedia Germany.

The panel focused on the impact of inadequate copyright rules on access to and use of educational materials in digital setting as well as how new legal instruments at the international level could solve these problems and facilitate access to knowledge….”

Competition and Innovation Bill Includes New Tools to Target Chinese Trade Cheating, Spur U.S. Research and Manufacturing | U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon

“The package also includes a provision originally authored by Wyden and supported by Sen Rand Paul, R-Ky., requiring open access to federally funded research within 12 months of that research being published in peer-reviewed journals.

“Taxpayer-funded research shouldn’t be locked away behind expensive paywalls – it should be open to researchers to spur new innovation and scientific advances. Our provision will help ensure more researchers benefit from work paid for by the American public,” Wyden concluded….”

SPARC Statement on Public Access Provisions in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act – SPARC

“We are pleased to see the U.S. Senate endorse language that strongly supports providing faster access to taxpayer-funded research results with today’s passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260). 

Section 2527 of the bill, formerly the Endless Frontier Act, (titled “Basic Research”) includes language originally written by Senator Wyden and supported by Senator Paul that directs federal agencies funding more than $100 million annually in research grants to develop a policy that provides for free online public access to federally-funded research “not later than 12 months after publication in peer-reviewed journals, preferably sooner.” 

The bill also provides important guidance that will maximize the impact of federally-funded research by ensuring that final author manuscripts reporting on taxpayer funded research are:

Deposited into federally designated or maintained repositories;
Made available in open and machine readable formats; 
Made available under licenses that enable productive reuse and computational analysis; and
Housed in repositories that ensure interoperability and long-term preservation. …”

Sander Dekker: Open Sesame, Open Science

Special issue of Informatics Studies on the work OA/OS advocacy of Sander Dekker. 

“The current crisis around the Corona virus revealed the importance of  Open Access and Open Science – unfettered access to scientific and scholarly information, for scientists, researchers, academicians, journalists and the public alike – for effectively dealing with such calamities. It is the efforts of Sander Dekker during the last decade to implement Open Access by legislation and involvement of European Union; that made it easy for the scientific community to place their research results on Covid-19 under Open Access to arrest the spread of the pandemic.  Considering the importance of the contributions of Dekker in the efforts of humanity to sustain life on this planet; the present issue of Informatics Studies is devoted for collecting together historical documents reflecting his work, with two reviews of his career and contributions.”

#Zero Embargo Campaign – Are You With Us? | LIBER Europe

While the COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced the virtues of Open Access and propelled changes in scholarly communication that previously many feared, the current models of communicating scientific content still maintain unequal access to content.

On the other side of this highly regulated and controlled system, advocates of Open Access are exploring lawful ways to enable researchers to freely disseminate their research and maximize its impact.

The Rights Retention Strategy of PlanS (cOAlitionS) is a much-welcomed initiative that empowers authors to be in control of their own research and the granting schemes of HorizonEurope is another bold move by the European Commission in the same direction. It is now time that policies like these are implemented in all EU Member States and that the countries themselves have the same coordinated and horizontal approach.

Therefore, LIBER proposes a new model law that aims to ensure a zero embargo period for lawful self-archiving on open, public, non-for-profit repositories.

Amazon’s monopoly is squeezing your public library, too – The Washington Post

“Turns out, the tech giant [Amazon] has also become a publishing powerhouse — and it won’t sell downloadable versions of its more than 10,000 e-books or tens of thousands of audiobooks to libraries. That’s right, for a decade, the company that killed bookstores has been starving the reading institution that cares for kids, the needy and the curious. And that’s turned into a mission-critical problem during a pandemic that cut off physical access to libraries and left a lot of people unable to afford books on their own….

Amazon is the only big publisher that flat-out blocks library digital collections. …

In testimony to Congress, the American Library Association called digital sales bans like Amazon’s “the worst obstacle for libraries” moving into the 21st century….

“All books in all formats should be available through libraries. Authors want their books available through libraries,” Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild, told me….”

 

Amazon’s monopoly is squeezing your public library, too – The Washington Post

“Turns out, the tech giant [Amazon] has also become a publishing powerhouse — and it won’t sell downloadable versions of its more than 10,000 e-books or tens of thousands of audiobooks to libraries. That’s right, for a decade, the company that killed bookstores has been starving the reading institution that cares for kids, the needy and the curious. And that’s turned into a mission-critical problem during a pandemic that cut off physical access to libraries and left a lot of people unable to afford books on their own….

Amazon is the only big publisher that flat-out blocks library digital collections. …

In testimony to Congress, the American Library Association called digital sales bans like Amazon’s “the worst obstacle for libraries” moving into the 21st century….

“All books in all formats should be available through libraries. Authors want their books available through libraries,” Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild, told me….”

 

LIBRARY COPYRIGHT ALLIANCE COMMENTS ON “DIGITAL COPYRIGHT ACT OF 2021” DISCUSSION DRAFT

“The Library Copyright Alliance (“LCA”) welcomes this opportunity to provide its comments on the December 18, 2020 discussion draft of the “Digital Copyright Act of 2021.” LCA consists of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries. These associations collectively represent over 100,000 libraries in the United States employing more than 300,000 librarians and other personnel. An estimated 200 million Americans use these libraries more than two billion times each year. U.S. libraries spend over $4 billion annually purchasing or licensing copyrighted works. At the outset, LCA states that it disagrees with the basic premise of the draft articulated in the press release announcing the release of the draft. Contrary to the press release, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) does not “show the strain of a statute that has not adapted well to the technological advancements and changing business practices that have occurred since” 1998. Likewise, copyright law today is not “ill-suited for the needs of most copyright owners and individual users.” Further, the copyright framework does not need to “better encourage the creation of copyrightable works.” Based on this disagreement with the draft’s premise, LCA strongly opposes section 2 of the draft, which would amend the DMCA’s safe harbors for online service providers….”

Are price barriers in the national interest?

“[Adler] rejected the idea that taxpayer financed research should be open to the public, saying that it was in the national interest for it to be restricted to those who could pay subscription fees. “Remember — you’re talking about free online access to the world,” he said. “You are talking about making our competitive research available to foreign governments and corporations.” …

Note that we’re talking about published research, not classified research that isn’t published. Thank goodness our enemies can’t afford to pay subscriptions or visit libraries. Thank goodness harming Americans has the side-effect of harming foreigners.  At least our sacrifice is not in vain. Thank goodness Americans have never benefited from scientific advances made by non-Americans.  Thank goodness publishers are willing to collect subscription fees for this patriotic purpose. Thank goodness publishers are willing to shoulder the responsibility of controlling access to our research.   We know that they don’t have to.  They didn’t conduct this research, write it up, or fund it….”

Poland’s ‘legislation’ of Holocaust history vs. Netherlands’ open-access archive | The Times of Israel

“When historians seek to research what Dutch citizens did during Nazi Germany’s occupation of the Netherlands, they have access to a stack of files that’s taller than the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Twenty years ago, those files of the “Central Archive of Special Jurisdiction” were deposited at the Dutch National Archives in The Hague. Suddenly, 300,000 case files on Dutch citizens suspected of having collaborated with Nazis were made available to everyone….

The climate in the Netherlands differs sharply from an allegedly “research-muzzling” atmosphere in Poland. On February 9, a district court ordered prominent Holocaust historians Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking to apologize to a woman who claimed the scholars slandered her deceased uncle….

In Poland, research into the Holocaust has become a lightning rod since the Law and Justice party was elected in 2015. Simultaneously, the digitization of the Netherlands’ “special jurisdiction” archive has helped researchers piece together a diverse mosaic of Dutch citizens’ wartime behavior….

Poland has its own version of the “Central Archive of Special Jurisdiction.” In 1989, files from the communist-era security services became available to the public, including those related to Nazi collaborators….

According to Grabowski, Poland’s “History Laws” are intended to “defend the good name of the Polish nation.” Any claims that Poland bore responsibility for the Holocaust are now criminalized, despite the historian’s documentation that 200,000 Jews were murdered by their Polish neighbors….”

Suggested changes to the Open Courts Act

“We write on behalf of a group that has extensive experience building large public sites on the Internet. The purpose of this letter is to advance action on improving public access to federal court records, which are presently offered by the government through an outdated PACER system. We have extensive experience putting large government databases on the Internet and then working with public officials to help government do this work better. Our experience includes making available federal databases such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark database, the Securities and Exchange EDGAR database, the IRS Form 990 database, 14,000 hours of Congressional video from hearings posted at the request of the Speaker of the House, and over 6,000 government videos from the U.S. National Archives posted in cooperation with the Archivist of the United States. We have extensive experience working with legal information, and operate some of the largest sites for access to federal court filings, as well as the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the regulations of all 50 states, and much more….”