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.
“Research funding agencies in Australia and New Zealand will not be able to support Europe’s Plan S unless rules around repositories are watered down, according to open access advocates in both countries.
A joint submission says that repository provisions in the Plan S implementation strategy are overly prescriptive and would be cripplingly expensive – and in some cases technically impossible – to implement….”
:Australian and New Zealand research funders are under growing pressure to join Plan S, the European-led push to require academics to make publicly funded research freely accessible at the point of publication.
The initiative is due to be implemented at the start of next year by the 13 European national research funders that have backed it so far, alongside the European Commission and three charitable funders, including the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
However, the project’s backers acknowledge that, to achieve the “big flip” towards open access, they need to build a global coalition, and efforts have been made to persuade North American, Asian and African funders to sign up….”
“Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO) is an award-winning, open access knowledge hub and information service providing easy access to policy and practice research and resources.
APO makes policy research visible, discoverable and usable.
Established in 2002 at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, APO is a not-for-profit collaborative knowledge infrastructure and web platform working with partners from universities and organisations across Australia, New Zealand and beyond.”
“In 2014 Timothy Gowers and others used Freedom of Information laws to extract the relevant price information from UK universities. See here for more detailed information. Earlier (2009), less extensive, work in the USA had also been done by Ted Bergstrom and others. Inspired by this, I tried the same thing in New Zealand (for 7 of the 8 universities – representing around 8400 academic/research staff and 130000 students, so far (Lincoln University, very much smaller than the others, was omitted owing to an oversight). Whereas Gowers was able to obtain the requested information within a few weeks, it has taken me 3.5 years. In both countries universities originally refused to release the information. However, in the UK there is an automatic right of review of such decisions, undertaken by an academic. In NZ, no such right exists….”
“The inquiry, for which submissions close on July 29, is examining the benefits and costs of data being shared more widely between public sector agencies, private sector organisations, the research sector, academics and the community….
In a submission by Australian Dental Association (ADA) president Dr Rick Olive, the peak body said the way some private health insurers were already behaving should be a warning on the perils of data sharing….
Fintech player Tyro Payments meanwhile called for the right to see, use and share data to be mandated in a clearer way, saying existing rights under the Privacy Act of 1988 were effectively neutered in practice.
Tyro said data sharing would see consumers of financial services “benefit from vastly broader product choice and competitive terms”.
Meanwhile, banks that open access to data and create external application programming interfaces could “benefit because it would enable them to become more of a ‘platform’ for other services”. …”
“[M]aking the journal [Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work] open access, would require a sustained voluntary effort on the part of the collective, but it has several distinct advantages:  For the community: the journal would be easily accessible to the social work community worldwide at no cost.  For authors: evidence suggests that open access articles are likely to have many, many more readers. This increases the chances that published work has an impact on practice, as well attracting a higher number of citations. For the editors: open journal systems include online systems for managing the publication process from article submission, through peer review, to publication and dissemination.  For social justice and sustainability: ANZASW would be contributing to the worldwide open access movement the values of which concur with our own commitment to social justice and sustainability.
The editorial collective have decided to make the journal available through open access, using the open journal system, from the first issue of 2016: issue 28(1)….”
“After a month of intense conversations and negotiations, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will bring the ‘Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act’ up for mark-up on Wednesday, July 29th. The language that will be considered is an amended version of FASTR, officially known as the ‘Johnson-Carper Substitute Amendment,’ which was officially filed by the HSGAC leadership late on Friday afternoon, per committee rules. There are two major changes from the original bill language to be particularly aware of. Specifically, the amendment Replaces the six month embargo period with ‘no later than 12 months, but preferably sooner’ as anticipated; and Provides a mechanism for stakeholders to petition federal agencies to ‘adjust’ the embargo period if the12 months does not serve ‘the public, industries, and the scientific community.’ We understand that these modifications were made in order accomplish a number of things: Satisfy the requirement of a number of Members of HSGAC that the language more closely track that of the OSTP Directive; Meet the preference of the major U.S. higher education associations for a maximum 12 month embargo; Ensure that, for the first time, a number of scientific societies will drop their opposition for the bill; and Ensure that any petition process an agency may enable is focused on serving the interests of the public and the scientific community …”
“A few weeks ago we released an updated version of Collections Online, making images bigger, search results clearer, and easier to use regardless of what device you are using. Today we are extremely happy to let you know about our latest development; over 30,000 images downloadable, for free, in the highest resolution we have them….”