Magazine article Information Today

Holding Patterns

Magazine article Information Today

Holding Patterns

Article excerpt

This year, the European Union (EU) is rumbling toward a revised copyright regime to help enable a unified digital economy. Well, definitely maybe. The European Parliament, which shuttles, at considerable expense, between Brussels and Strasbourg, France, is drawing up a draft report in response to a proposal for a new copyright directive put forward by the European Commission (EC) in 2016. A vote will be held on the draft report in June, and the matter will then return to the EC for further consideration and action in the form of a revised directive.

Various bodies representing libraries, universities, and researchers are telling members of the European Parliament (MEPs) what they want in any revised copyright regime. They include the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) and the League of European Research Universities (LERU). Exceptions for text and data mining (TDM) top the wish list of these bodies. They want mandatory TDM exceptions expanded to allow any individual or organization with legal access to content to use digital means to mine it. The proposed directive gives a mandatory TDM exception only to research organizations doing scientific research.

"Furthermore," these organizations and others say in a joint statement, "the Directive must clarify that technical measures may not be used to prevent beneficiaries from exercising their rights under an exception, or to impose unreasonable limitations on how TDM is performed." They are also calling for modifications to proposed legislation covering cross-border teaching and research and related amendments to copyright. Susan Reilly, LIBER's executive director, says the organizations are lobbying MEPs, especially committee members, who are drafting opinions on the proposal. "We expect the final report to be presented in June, which gives us a very tight timeline in which to effect change as the first report will be ready in March," she says.

DEAL or No Deal

Meanwhile, German universities are challenging powerful scientific and academic publisher Elsevier to change its pricing model. Universities that are part of the DEAL consortium want to move from a subscription-fee-based publication model to one based on article-processing charges (APCs). Speaking on behalf of DEAL, project worker Wiebke Beckmann, who also handles public relations at the University Library Freiburg, says, "Elsevier is still switching off access for those institutions, who have cancelled their contracts.... Discussions will continue." The main goals are an APC-based publication model, "access to complete content for all participating institutions," and a fair business model with transparent pricing.

According to a DEAL statement, about 60 scientific institutes in Germany had terminated their contracts with Elsevier by the end of 2016. Elsevier responded, "It goes without saying that all institutions, even if they cancelled their contracts, will be serviced beyond 2016 should they so choose."

Digitizing Medieval Content

Also in Germany, a collection of late medieval manuscripts and books has been at the center of controversy over its future preservation. The previously concealed archive was opened up by the last surviving nun at the 8th-century Altomunster Abbey in 2015. …

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