“The launch of the latest preprint server, MEDRxiv, specifically targeted at the clinical research community, is a sign of growing interest in preprints among health researchers. Preprints are scholarly papers that are posted by authors in an openly accessible platform, usually before submission to a journal for formal publication.1There are now about 45 preprint servers in operation across academic disciplines, and the number of articles being posted is growing rapidly. In response to this trend, we have developed a policy on preprints that permits papers deposited in a preprint server to be considered for publication inCMAJandCMAJ Open.
For researchers, preprints facilitate early and rapid dissemination of their work among the research community, which provides an opportunity for them to receive feedback from a wide audience that may improve the draft paper before journal submission. Preprints may help authors to establish precedence for a research finding or find potential collaborators for future work.1,2
More broadly, preprints may help reduce research waste and publication bias.2 Even good studies may have difficulty getting published at times because of negative results or limited generalizability. Preprint servers can facilitate dissemination of these study findings among the research community. And researchers can check whether there is recent research in an area they are considering exploring, which could reduce the likelihood of duplicative studies….”
“Last week the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) released a report with 36 recommendations to reform Canadian copyright law. Under Canadian law the committee is required to review the Canadian copyright statutes every five years and the report presented now is the outcome of such a review. While this means that it is relatively unlikely that many of the recommendations contained in the report will result in immediate legislative actions (the government is not required to act on them) the report is nevertheless interesting as it contains a number of recommendations that go in the opposite direction of the changes that the DSM directive will bring to copyright in the European Union (for a full overview of the recommendations see Michael Geist’s summary).
After a year-long study that includes a public consultation and a number of committee hearings on a wide variety of issues, the INDU committee has come to the conclusion that there is a lack of evidence for both a DSM-style press publishers right and for changes to the liability position of platform intermediaries as foreseen in Article 17 of the DSM directive. While Canadian rightsholders argued for the necessity of such interventions, they failed to convince the committee of the merits for these provisions….”
“In December 2017, the governmentlaunched its copyright reviewwith a Parliamentary motion to send the review to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. After months of study and hundreds of witnesses and briefs, the committee released theauthoritative review with 36 recommendationsthat include expanding fair dealing, a rejection of a site blocking system, and a rejection of proposals to exclude education from fair dealing where a licence is otherwise available. The report represents a near-total repudiation of the one-sided Canadian Heritage report that was tasked with studying remuneration models to assist the actual copyright review. While virtually all stakeholders will find aspects they agree or disagree with, that is the hallmark of a more balanced approach to copyright reform.
This post highlights some of the most notable recommendations in the report that are likely to serve as the starting point for any future copyright reform efforts. There is a lot here but the key takeaways on the committee recommendations:
expansion of fair dealing by making the current list of fair dealing purposes illustrative rather than exhaustive (the “such as” approach)
rejection of new limits on educational fair dealing with further study in three years
retention of existing Internet safe harbour rules
rejection of the FairPlay site blocking proposal with insistence that any blocking include court oversight
expansion of the anti-circumvention rules by permitting circumvention of digital locks for purposes that are lawful (ie. permit circumvention to exercise fair dealing rights)
extend the term of copyright only if ratifying the USCMA and include a registration requirement for the additional 20 years
implement a new informational analysis exception
further study of statutory damages for all copyright collectives along with greater transparency
adoption of an open licence rather than the abolition of crown copyright….”
Abstract: The United States (‘US’) extended most copyright terms by 20 years in 1998, and has since exported that extension via ‘free trade’ agreements to countries including Australia and Canada. A key justification for the longer term was the claim that exclusive rights are necessary to encourage publishers to invest in making older works available — and that, unless such rights were granted, they would go underused. This study empirically tests this ‘underuse hypothesis’ by investigating the relative availability of ebooks to public libraries across Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada. We find that books are actually less available where they are under copyright than where they are in the public domain, and that commercial publishers seem undeterred from investing in works even where others are competing to supply the same titles. We also find that exclusive rights do not appear to trigger investment in works that have low commercial demand, with books from 59% of the ‘culturally valuable’ authors we sampled unavailable in any jurisdiction, regardless of copyright status. This provides new evidence of how even the shortest copyright terms can outlast works’ commercial value, even where cultural value remains. Further, we find that works are priced much higher where they are under copyright than where they in the public domain, and these differences typically far exceed what would be paid to authors or their heirs. Thus, one effect of extending copyrights from life + 50 to life + 70 is that libraries are obliged to pay higher prices in exchange for worse access.
This is the first published study to test the underuse hypothesis outside the US, and the first to analyse comparative availability of identical works across jurisdictions where their copyright status differs. It adds to the evidence that the underuse hypothesis is not borne out by real world practice. Nonetheless, countries are still being obliged to enact extended terms as a cost of trade access. We argue that such nations should explore alternative ways of dividing up those rights to better achieve copyright’s fundamental aims of rewarding authors and promoting widespread access to knowledge and culture.
“Rebecca Giblin (previously) writes, “We’ve just droppeda new study we’ve been working on for a year. You know how it keeps being claimed that we need longer copyrights because nobody will invest in making works available if they’re in the public domain? Heald and some others have done some great work debunking that in the US context, but now we’ve finally tested this hypothesis in other countries by looking at the relative availability of ebooks to libraries. It’s also the first time anyone has been able to compare availability of identical works (by significant authors) across jurisdictions. The books we sampled were all in the public domain in Canada and NZ, all under copyright in Australia, and a mix in the US (courtesy of its historical renewal system).”
“So what’d we find? That Canada and NZ (public domain) have access to more books and at cheaper prices than Australia (copyright) and the US (mixed). Also that publishers don’t seem to have any problem competing with each other on the same popular titles. And, sadly but not surprisingly: 59% of our sampled ‘culturally significant’ authors had no books available to libraries in any country regardless of copyright status. That’s because even the shortest terms wildly outlast most books’ commercial life (even where they still have cultural value). …”
“McGill University, in conjunction with Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), has committed to increasing access to life-saving medicines by adopting Global Access Licensing Principles. McGill is the third Canadian university to adopt the principles, demonstrating a dedication to ensure that any research and university-developed technologies created on McGill’s campus with potential for further development into a drug, vaccine, or medical diagnostic are made affordable to all.
Global Access Licensing Framework (GALF), the framework used to inform aspects of McGill’s new principles, provides goals and strategies for research universities to follow in the licensing of medicines developed at the universities. The framework aims to prevent patenting practices and intellectual property policies from creating barriers to the life-saving results of publicly-funded research conducted in universities’ laboratories. GALF was created with the help of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), a non-profit, student advocacy organization with chapters at universities around the world…”
“That was then, and this is now. And for now, what encourages learning and promotes science’s progress amounts to a legal work-around that largely circumvents the law. For example, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Open Access Policy (following the example of NIH in the US) insists that the Canadian research it sponsors be made publicly available one year after publication, rather than 50 years after the author’s death prescribed by law as a necessary incentive to stimulate science. Or consider the widespread use of Creative Commons licensing that similarly works around the automatic application of lifetime-plus restrictions to encourage the ready and free use of the content. when it comes to promoting the benefits of research and scholarship, funding agencies and universities find little incentive in the law.
In earlier blog posts, I have suggested that this is reason enough to revisit the law, and my goal for the coming academic year is to begin in earnest just such a Sisyphean uphill push for legal reform….”
“In 2011, a group of University of Saskatchewan (U of S) students proposed the establishment of a multidisciplinary undergraduate research journal. The Office of the Vice President of Research (OVPR) saw alignment with its Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) and agreed to fund the journal. The University of Saskatchewan Undergraduate Research Journal (USURJ) is a double-blind faculty-reviewed, open-access journal.1 It is based in the Writing Center, which is part of the University Library at the U of S. Each year, an average of twenty student editors gain experience in academic publishing processes. Dozens more students submit papers and experience the rigors of undergoing faculty review and editing a manuscript to publishable quality. This library-based partnership ensures a rich, immersive experience from which student editors and authors gain valuable skills transferrable to life after graduation….”
Abstract: In September 2016, members of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) Partnership—a broad, diverse group working to advance understanding of, and resolve critical issues in, the production, distribution and widespread engagement of digital scholarship in Canada and beyond—met to discuss future directions and focus areas. One of the resulting initiatives is the Open Scholarship Policy Observatory. The Open Scholarship Policy Observatory tracks national and international policies and policy changes in order to assist INKE partners with developing timely and responsive policies. This paper describes the development of the initiative, and reports on the initial impacts the project has had to date.