In its latest statement, the European federation of academies of sciences and humanities (ALLEA) evaluates the undesirable effects of current “big deals” and provides recommendations for research institutions, libraries, and policymakers on how to arrive at a more equitable system for sharing and accessing research publications under the new EU copyright rules. Read the full statement here.
With the number of scholarly publications shared via the Gold Open Access model on the rise, access to the results of (often publicly funded) research is at an all-time high. However, breaking down these barriers for readers has come at the expense of increased barriers for authors, who often face substantial article processing charges (APCs) to publish their work immediately as Open Access.
This has led to a further increase in the exorbitant costs spent on scholarly publishing and creates significant disadvantages for researchers from the Global South, underfunded researchers in the social sciences and humanities, and early career researchers, among others. So-called “Big Deals” – “read and publish agreements” between (consortia of) research libraries, institutions, and universities on the one hand, and scientific publishers on the other – have further exacerbated these inequities and contributed to the consolidation of the already dominant market position of the major commercial publishers.
In addition, ALLEA is concerned that the conditions of the “Big Deals” fail to adequately reflect the new rules on copyright law in the European Union (EU), and do not fairly value the creative and research endeavours of academics and their institutions, as well as their investment and efforts to generate research results to the benefit of the public. While EU and national copyright laws provide for a variety of rules intended to facilitate the free use and sharing of research publications, the current “Big Deals” do not generally factor in these statutory free uses.
To arrive at a more equitable and affordable system that takes into account the new EU copyright rules, ALLEA recommends:
- Researchers and libraries to better consider their rights under the new EU copyright rules when negotiating the next generation of deals.
- Researchers and libraries to depart from the rights assignment model that still prevails today.
- Harmonisation of EU national copyright legislation and introduction of EU-wide Secondary Publication Rights without embargo.
- Further development of a community-driven non-profit publishing ecosystem.