Europe has seen a significant growth in activity to establish and advance open access (OA) policies over the last decade. However, copyright has been the thorn in the side of many authors, funders, and their institutions who wish to publish OA, since many publisher policies and processes are no longer fit for purpose.
Today, we require the rights to publish, share, adapt, and reuse material for research, educational, or multilingual needs.
Governments, funders, and institutions are responding to counteract publisher restrictions as regards rights retention and open licensing. Authors often face confusion when seeking the right to publish OA. The legal complexity and lack of harmonisation in Europe have slowed the take-up of institutional rights retention policies.
Publisher copyright and licencing policies add to the confusion for authors attempting to comply with funder requirements. Research funders such as the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme and the cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy require authors to retain publishing rights to enable them to share their work more broadly, open access and openly licensed. More funders will need to introduce policies until publishers change their rights retention policies.
It is the institution that is closest to the author, however, that can set publication policies and ensure publication rights for OA as demonstrated by the Harvard model. Universities across Europe are starting to implement these policies. By way of such policies, institutions can make it easier for their authors to legally publish OA.
The Stichting IFLA Foundation Programme in partnership with IFLA, LIBER, and SPARC Europe are implementing a three-year Arcadia Foundation-funded programme to reform copyright laws and regulations that enable libraries to significantly improve access to and use of copyrighted works.
The Knowledge Rights 21 Programme aims to promote change at European, national, and local levels providing valuable examples for the rest of the world. It is driving reform in six key areas, including improving rights retention and open licensing.
Project Retain, a one-year project led by SPARC Europe, intends to accelerate the uptake of rights retention and open licensing to enable researchers to share their work openly. It will do this by calling for publisher, institutional, and funder policy change and by empowering authors to refuse to cede their intellectual property. We will carry out research to provide a solid and informed basis for this change, and then campaign and support a transformation in copyright policy that embraces OA amongst publishers, funders and institutions.
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