Sunday, February 13, 2011

Making Publicly Funded Research for International Public Good

The goal of any publicly funded research institutions is to develop ‘International Public Goods’ (IPGs). However, under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime, it is important to secure ownership rights on research outputs and to make them available and accessible. With the introduction of bill ‘Protection and Utilisation of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill, 2008 on the lines of ‘The Bayh–Dole Act’ in Parliament of India, we can say that the efforts are being made in this direction but whether these efforts result in formulation of policies for open access (OA) to scientific knowledge is the question.

Peter Suber (2008) defines Open-access (OA) literature as digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work (Wikipedia contributors, 2011). The researchers share their research outputs via scientific journals, conference proceedings, books etc. However, many of the authors (researchers) give away their copyright to the publishers. With this, sharing of research globally boundaries is restricted due to copyright issues. Though, all the publisher makes available ‘Post Print’ or ‘Publishers PDF Copy’ to the authors, they can be share among research colleagues, for personal use or for scholarly purposes however cannot be shared/distributed in public globally. This is making sharing of IPGs research output globally difficult as the public (even research users) had to send request to the authors for the articles and at times when the article is not in digital format or change in author’s corresponding email or affiliation, one cannot get access to the articles.

The author of a scientific article should secure rights to create derivative works from his/her article and to reproduce, distribute and publicly display his/her article ( The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles and offer a range of copyright options for many different creative endeavours ( The initiatives from Creative Commons in the development of Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) to Share, Remix, Reuse — Legally and efforts in making scientific research “re-useful” — via the Scholar's Copyright Project (in partnership with SPARC) is highly commendable and the authors should use them for broad distribution of their works for International Public Good.

No comments: