Open access news, 28 January 2014
January 28, 2014 by Surrey Research Insight
Open Access to digitised books
The project, which began in 2006 and is expected to last 20 to 30 years, supports the country’s vision to gather, preserve and disseminate its cultural heritage. This includes every book authored by a Norwegian author. The aim is to make the books highly visible, easily accessible, and stored in a format that ensures their preservation in the longer term.
The real breakthrough here is that whole books are being made freely available online, at least to Norwegian people. While materials not protected by copyright are available to anyone in the world, agreements with publishers are also sought to make copyrighted materials available to anyone with a Norwegian IP address. Moreover, the entire digital collection is available on the Library premises.
In this, Norway is well ahead of other countries. For example, the British Library, although active in a number of digitisation and preservation initiatives
– including a partnership with Google to digitise 250,000 books
from the 18th and 19th century – has so far been too constrained by UK copyright law to expand its digitisation plans. With forthcoming changes in digital copyright law, however, there may be more freedom to copy copyrighted materials for preservation and and for private, non-commercial use on the Library premises. Crucially, the long-due law reforms will include audiovisual materials, strongly welcomed by the British Library CEO, Roly Keating
Legislation constraints and controversy over creators’ rights mean we may still be a long way from initiatives like Norway’s. The Google digitisation project, which so far provides access to excerpts from over 20 million digitised books, has been under attack for years for violating authors’ rights and allowing access to materials that extends beyond ‘fair use’. The Google project was recently declared legal in the States, although authors are appealing the decision. Progress in open access still relies on finding the balance between innovations that facilitate and enrich research and scholarship, and rules that protect the rights of the creators.
U. S. spending bill includes open access legislation
The recently approved U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, soon expected to be signed into law, includes a brief section on open access. In particular, federal agencies with research and development expenditures exceeding $100 million a year are required to develop public access policies that provide a “machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.” This version must be publicly available within 12 months from publication; ‘compliance with all relevant copyright laws’ is also required.
Although the Act does not entirely remove barriers to access – the 12-month embargo and vague reference to copyright compliance do not support timely access – this mandate is encouraging, notably in endorsing the author’s version as acceptable. This leaves room for the Green option and formally supports the use of the accepted manuscript.
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/01/17/spending-bill-includes-open-access-legislation#ixzz2reNwTZPD