Archive for the 'Legislation and Government Regulation' Category

HEFCE and Three Other UK Funding Bodies Enact Open Access Mandate

Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on April 1st, 2014

The Higher Education Funding Council for England and three other UK funding bodies (the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for Employment and Learning) have enacted an open access mandate.

Here's an excerpt:

5. The core of this policy is as follows: to be eligible for submission to the post-2014 REF, outputs must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication, and made open-access within a specified time period. This requirement applies to journal articles and conference proceedings only; monographs and other long-form publications, research data and creative and practice-based research outputs are out of scope. Only articles and proceedings accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 will need to fulfil these requirements, but we would strongly urge institutions to implement the policy now. The policy gives a further list of cases where outputs will not need to fulfil the requirements.

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    "Finch 18 Months On: A Review of Progress"

    Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access on March 13th, 2014

    Michael Jubb has published "Finch 18 Months On: A Review of Progress: Based on a Paper Presented at the UKSG One-Day Conference, 'Open Access Realities', London, November 2013" in Insights: the UKSG Journal.

    Here's an excerpt:

    When the Finch Report was published in June 2012, it represented for me the culmination of nine months of intensive work as secretary to the Finch Group. But I was not allowed to rest on my laurels. The Group recognized that the task of implementation would be complex, involving work from many different stakeholders, and it pointed to the need for an implementation strategy that would involve all of them. Perhaps it should have been firmer in recommending how such a strategy should be developed and implemented. Nevertheless, the Group decided that it should as its final act meet in a year's time to assess progress. I was slightly apprehensive when I was asked to prepare a report for the Group to consider at that meeting. This paper—based on a presentation made at the UKSG conference in November 2013—considers the findings of that report, which was published the following week.

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      Open Access: SPARC Opposes Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act

      Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access on March 12th, 2014

      SPARC has released a statement opposing the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act.

      Here's an excerpt:

      Specifically, Section 303 would:

      • Slow the pace of scientific discovery by restricting public access to articles reporting on federally funded research for up to three years after initial publication. This stands in stark contrast to the policies in use around the world, which call for maximum embargo periods of no more than six to 12 months.
      • Fail to support provisions that allow for shorter embargo periods to publicly funded research results. This provision ignores the potential harm to stakeholders that can accrue through unnecessarily long delays.
      • Fail to ensure that federal agencies have full text copies of their funded research articles to archive and provide to the public for full use, and for long-term archiving. By condoning a link to an article on a publisher's website as an acceptable compliance mechanism, this provision puts the long term accessibility and utility of federally funded research articles at serious risk.
      • Stifle researchers' ability to share their own research and to access the works of others, slowing progress towards scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, treatments, and cures.
      • Make it harder for U.S. companies — especially small businesses and start-ups — to access cutting-edge research, thereby slowing their ability to innovate, create new products and services, and generate new jobs.
      • Waste further time and taxpayer dollars by calling for a needless, additional 18-month delay while agencies "develop plans for" policies. This is a duplication of federal agency work that was required by the White House Directive and has, in large part, already been completed.
      • Impose unnecessary costs on federal agency public access programs by conflating access and preservation policies as applied to articles and data. The legislation does not make clear enough what data must be made accessible, nor adequately articulate the location of where such data would reside, or its terms of use.

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        Copyright Office Seeks Comments on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization

        Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Legislation and Government Regulation, Mass Digitizaton on February 21st, 2014

        The US Copyright Office is seeking comments on orphan works and mass digitization and it will hold public roundtable discussions on these topics.

        Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

        The United States Copyright Office will host public roundtable discussions on potential legislative solutions for orphan works and mass digitization under U.S. copyright law on March 10-11, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Requests to participate should be submitted by February 24, 2014. For a participation request form, go to http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/participation-request-form.html.

        The Office is also seeking public comments on potential legislative solutions for orphan works and mass digitization under U.S. copyright law. A comment form will be posted on the Copyright Office website at http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/ no later than March 12, 2014. Comments are due by April 14, 2014, and will be posted on the Copyright Office website.

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          Net Neutrality: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Issues Statement on FCC’s Open Internet Rules

          Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Net Neutrality on February 20th, 2014

          FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has issued a statement on the FCC's open internet rules.

          Here's an excerpt from Public Knowledge's Sherwin Siy's analysis:

          In short, the FCC is keeping all of its possible tools in play. From a legal standpoint, the obvious answer would be to follow the roadmap laid out by the D.C. Circuit's opinion and reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service. That would give the FCC all the authority it needs to preserve net neutrality. But the D.C. Circuit also acknowledged that section 706 gives the FCC broad power to do lots of other things, so long as they will encourage the deployment of broadband. . . .

          Speaking of what you can do with section 706, the D.C. Circuit's opinion makes it pretty clear that, while you might not be able to do something that looks too much like traditional common carrier regulation with it, there's a heck of a lot you can do with it. For instance, Wheeler notes, the FCC would seem to have the power overturn state laws that ban communities from setting up their own broadband networks—laws passed with the lobbying muscle of ISPs that don't want the competition. The outer bounds of section 706 are now open for discussion—and they may provide a scope of regulatory power as broad as Title II might have (in some ways, potentially broader). That's another reason to have proceedings on section—ensuring that its authority is used to encourage deployment and competition, and not stray into more troubling areas like censorship or copyright filtering. This, too, should be a clue to the path ahead—one where Title II isn't a political polarizer, but instead a simple, direct application of the FCC's job to protect an open internet.

          Read more about it at "FCC Thinks It Can Overturn State Laws That Restrict Public Broadband."

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            "The Open Internet Preservation Act"

            Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Net Neutrality on February 4th, 2014

            Several Democratic Senators have introduced "The Open Internet Preservation Act" in the House.

            Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

            Today, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced S. 1981, "The Open Internet Preservation Act", with House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) introducing companion legislation H.R. 3982, to protect consumers and innovation online. Last month, the D.C. Circuit struck down the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Open Internet rules preventing broadband providers from blocking or discriminating against content online. The bill would restore these rules until the FCC takes new, final action in the Open Internet proceeding.

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              Congress Madates Open Access for Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies

              Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access, Open Science on January 17th, 2014

              The passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 mandates open access for federal agencies under the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Senate subcommittee with research budgets of $100 million or more.

              Here's an excerpt from the bill:

              SEC. 527. Each Federal agency, or in the case of an agency with multiple bureaus, each bureau (or operating division) funded under this Act that has research and development expenditures in excess of $100,000,000 per year shall develop a Federal research public access policy that provides for—

              • the submission to the agency, agency bureau, or designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, a machine-readable version of the author's final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals describing research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government;
              • free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions not later than 12 months after the official date of publication; and
              • compliance with all relevant copyright laws.

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                Net Neutrality, RIP?

                Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Net Neutrality on January 15th, 2014

                While it could be appealed, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's Verizon v. FCC ruling may well be the death knell of net neutrality given that an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling could make the situation worse by eliminating its last legal vestiges.

                What now? In my 1996 "Strong Copyright + DRM + Weak Net Neutrality = Digital Dystopia?" paper, I had this to say about the prospects of net neutrality's demise:

                There are many unknowns surrounding the issue of Net neutrality, but what is clear is that it is under assault. It is also clear that Internet services are more likely to require more, not less, bandwidth in the future as digital media and other high-bandwidth applications become more commonplace, complex, and interwoven into a larger number of Internet systems.

                One would imagine that if a corporation such as Google had to pay for a high-speed digital lane, it would want it to reach as many consumers as possible. So, it may well be that libraries' Google access would be unaffected or possibly improved by a two-tier (or multi-tier) Internet "speed-lane" service model. Would the same be true for library-oriented publishers and vendors? That may depend on their size and relative affluence. If so, the ability of smaller publishers and vendors to offer innovative bandwidth-intensive products and services may be curtailed.

                Unless they are affluent, libraries may also find that they are confined to slower Internet speed lanes when they act as information providers. For libraries engaged in digital library, electronic publishing, and institutional repository projects, this may be problematic, especially as they increasingly add more digital media, large-data-set, or other bandwidth-intensive applications.

                It's important to keep in mind that Net neutrality impacts are tied to where the choke points are, with the most serious potential impacts being at choke points that affect large numbers of users, such as local ISPs that are part of large corporations, national/international backbone networks, and major Internet information services (e.g.,Yahoo!).

                It is also important to realize that the problem may be partitioned to particular network segments. For example, on-campus network users may not experience any speed issues associated with the delivery of bandwidth-intensive information from local library servers because that network segment is under university control. Remote users, however, including affiliated home users, may experience throttled-down performance beyond what would normally be expected due to speed-lane enforcement by backbone providers or local ISPs controlled by large corporations. Likewise, users at two universities connected by a special research network may experience no issues related to accessing the other university's bandwidth-intensive library applications from on-campus computers because the backbone provider is under a contractual obligation to deliver specific network performance levels.

                Although the example of speed lanes has been used in this examination of potential Net neutrality impacts on libraries, the problem is more complex than this, because network services, such as peer-to-peer networking protocols, can be completely blocked, digital information can be blocked or filtered, and other types of fine-grained network control can be exerted.

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