Open Science & AI: A UK Policy Discussion – Knowledge Rights 21

“In association with CILIP, the library and information association and RLUK, Research Libraries UK, Knowledge Rights 21 invites you to attend a one day conference in London to discuss the latest policy developments around Open Science, AI, as well as broader issues of long term sustainable access to digital knowledge, and what is needed to take things further….”

Licence by Licence, Funder by Funder Change Can Only Take Us So Far – ALLEA Highlights A Systemic Need for Change to Scholarly Publishing – Knowledge Rights 21

“In order to make research and science work for society we need to create a publicly owned community-controlled infrastructure. As we have seen since 2002, much of the impetus for this has come from the library sector – in a sense in a bottom-up movement. The research community itself has also invested in work to change specific policies and practices where they have stronger influence, such as over the rules around funding and author licensing.  This should not, however, take attention away from the need for a parallel, top-down approach to Open Access. 

In other words, we should always remember the value of engaging with governments, given that legislative change can be a key trigger for meaningful change on the ground. After all, it goes without saying it is the copyright system – whose rules are set in legislation – which underpins scholarly publishing. As a result, in pushing for change that delivers Open Access, library trade bodies, funders and universities cannot afford to ignore this.

Therefore, in addition to Knowledge Rights 21’s work around rights retention, we are also calling for legislated secondary publishing rights, and the creation of a European copyright system friendly to research and innovation. We also strongly welcome other legislative proposals coming from our community in this area. Notably, in 2021 LIBER launched a Pan-European Model Law for the Use of Publicly Funded Scientific Publications under the title #ZeroEmbargo….”

LIBER Takes the Lead in Secondary Publishing Rights Work Package for the Knowledge Rights 21 Programme | LIBER Europe

The Knowledge Rights 21 Programme works to provide research and insights and that will create positive change in copyright policy making. One of its work packages consists of looking at Secondary Publishing Rights, and paving the way toward immediate republication of publicly funded research on open access repositories, regardless of publisher contracts. LIBER will carry out research on current national legislation and good practices for Secondary Publishing Rights across Europe.


Webinar: How Do We Fix eBook Markets? A Discussion on the Future of Libraries and Authorship, November 21, 2022 | Knowledge Rights 21

In the majority of cases libraries no longer own their eBook collections – and unless there is much needed reform they never will. As publishers have abandoned copyright law in favour of choosing whether to lease digital content to libraries (or not), age-old practices undertaken in the public interest are brought into question. These include important activities such as common access irrespective of an individual’s financial position, collection development, teaching, preservation and cultural heritage. 

When books are not available to readers from libraries, authorship is also undermined. Libraries are places that encourage reading, research and intellectual exploration, and less access to materials from libraries impacts on an author’s capacity to create new works and for their works to be discovered. Moreover, they will have no guarantee that their own works will be available to new readers when publishers no longer find them commercially viable to keep “in print” on eBook platforms.

Recently, John Wiley & Sons made headlines internationally when it abruptly removed over 1,300 ebooks from academic library collections just as the new academic year was starting. This created extra costs for students, libraries and educators as they hurriedly tried to reconfigure reading lists and teaching plans as well as purchase replacement titles. Unsurprisingly the disruption Wiley caused universities was widely condemned by library groups, students and authors alike. 

In the face of widespread pressure, at the start of October, Wiley made headlines again when it announced it was restoring access, but only until June 2023. While a welcome respite from one publisher, this however changes little as high pricing, refusal to license, bundling, removal of titles with no notice and other issues remain the norm for eBook markets.

This webinar will discuss the eBook crisis libraries, educators and authors face with international thought leaders in the sector. Exploring the many issues that have arisen as collections are increasingly leased and not owned, the session will take the form of a wide-ranging interview and discussion with our panellists. 

Questions will also be welcome from attendees.

Panellists include:

Caroline Ball Co-founder of eBookSOS / Academic Librarian, University of Derby / Trustee, WikimediaUK

Mikkel Christoffersen Chief Consultant, Copenhagen Libraries

Dave Hansen Executive Director, Authors Alliance

Cathal McCauley President of the Library Association of Ireland /  University Librarian, Maynooth University


DATE: 21st November 2022

TIME: 14:00 – 15:30 CET | 13:00 – 14:30 GMT/UTC


A Position Statement from Knowledge Rights 21 on Secondary Publishing Rights

“Academic authors traditionally routinely assign their copyright to proprietary publishers, or do not retain sufficient rights allowing them or their funders to republish or reuse their own work. This practice stands in opposition to the aim of education and research – to maximise the impact of research by sharing it as widely as possible in a timely manner. Knowledge Rights 21 believes that European countries should introduce secondary publishing rights in respect of publicly funded research into all national laws, which in the case of the EU member states could be best facilitated by a European Directive or Regulation….”

Secondary Publishing Rights – New Position Statement from Knowledge Rights 21 – Knowledge Rights 21

“Another, more comprehensive approach has been taken by a number of individual European countries who have established in law the right to republish publicly funded articles irrespective of publisher contracts. Such “secondary publishing rights” – a concept which refers to the right to republish publicly funded research after its first publication in an open access repository or elsewhere – are another key tool for promoting Open Access (OA).

Launched today, Knowledge Rights 21’s position statement on secondary publishing rights supports LIBER’s Zero Embargo campaign and secondary publishing rights model law.

KR21 calls on the national governments of Europe as well as the European Union to introduce secondary publishing laws which enable immediate access to publicly funded research in article or book chapter form….”

Publishers, authors and booksellers should not become your librarians – Knowledge Rights 21

“Reading nurtures our right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression, including to receive and impart information, as enshrined in Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR)[1]. Germany adheres to the ECHR’s values since it joined the Convention as an original member 71 years ago[2].

However, leaving the right to read and borrow eBooks through libraries to the vagaries and differing priorities of the commercial publishing market makes individual publishing companies, rather than librarians, the real decision makers about what eBook titles libraries may buy and how they may lend them. This provides a poor guarantee of access to the full breadth of culture and scientific knowledge in the 21st century.

The efforts by publishers, booksellers and author associations in Germany to prevent progress towards a legal right for citizens to borrow any eBook title from libraries look to block the proper implementation of EU law as it now stands[3]. Moreover, their campaign against Germany’s proposed eLending legislation, will, if successful, undermine libraries’ independence and their important function in a democratic society and the economy. It is not the place of publishers, authors or booksellers to decide how and if libraries have a role in the digital world….”

eBook Licensing in Europe and the Vanishing Library? – LIBER Europe

“This session will explore in depth the acute difficulties faced not just by higher education, but also by public libraries, caused by publishers’ pricing and licensing practices, and discuss possible solutions, including the potential to solve many of the problems with legal solutions in copyright law that allow Controlled Digital Lending….”