Improving Access to and Reuse of Research Results, Publications and Data for Scientific Purposes

Improving Access to and Reuse of Research Results, Publications and Data for Scientific Purposes 622 459 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

A detailed report aligns with the Action 2 objectives of the European Research Area (ERA) Policy Agenda 2022-2024, aiming to establish an EU legislative and regulatory framework for copyright and data suited for research. The report scrutinizes barriers to accessing and reusing publicly funded research, including scientific publications and data. It evaluates current EU copyright legislation, data, and digital laws, along with national regulatory frameworks and initiatives, identifying potential areas for enhancement.

Employing a rigorous, evidence-based methodology, the study incorporates literature reviews, surveys, and interviews with legal experts and stakeholders. It suggests legislative and non-legislative measures to refine the existing EU copyright and data frameworks, aligning them with the requirements of scientific research and the principles of open research data.

Executive Summary

This report advances the objectives outlined in Action 2 of the ERA Policy Agenda 2022-2024, which seeks to propose an EU legislative and regulatory framework for copyright and data that is conducive to research. It conducts a thorough analysis of the impediments to accessing and reusing publicly funded research and innovation outcomes, including scientific publications and data. The report meticulously examines existing EU copyright regulations, data, and digital legislation, alongside related national initiatives.

The report proposes a blend of legislative and non-legislative interventions to refine the EU copyright and data legislative frameworks, making them more supportive of scientific research and open research data principles. The analysis is divided into two primary sections: the EU copyright legislation, focusing on key directives such as the Information Society Directive, the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive, the Software Directive, and the Database Directive, along with the research-related provisions of the Data Act Proposal. The second section examines EU data and digital legislation, including significant acts like the Open Data Directive, Data Governance Act, Data Act, Digital Services Act, Digital Markets Act, and Artificial Intelligence Act. This comprehensive evaluation extends to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), ensuring an exhaustive assessment of the legislative landscape affecting research and innovation in the EU.

Framework for the Study

The study employs a structured, evidence-based methodology, ensuring robust and consistent findings through data triangulation. It includes:

  1. Evaluating the Impact of EU Copyright Framework on Research: This task involves desk research, literature reviews, surveys, and interviews with legal experts and stakeholders, establishing the groundwork for further analysis and assessment of potential benefits.
  2. Identifying Areas for Improvement: Building on the findings of Task 1, this involves cross-national legal analyses, focusing on the Secondary Publication Right.
  3. Estimating Effects of Proposed Interventions: This task assesses the potential benefits of suggested interventions using data from the initial tasks.
  4. Identifying Relevant Provisions in EU Data and Digital Legislation: This includes a thorough examination of legislation affecting researchers and research organizations.
  5. Assessing Compliance and Benefits: Synthesizing findings from the previous tasks, this task evaluates the compliance and benefits of EU data and digital legislation for research entities.

Specific Methodological Approach

Literature Review

The literature review is pivotal in understanding the landscape and identifying areas for progress in copyright and EU data and digital legislation. It explores the interplay between EU copyright, data frameworks, and Open Science (OS) policies, reviewing academic evidence on the EU copyright framework’s impact on OS. It includes a comparative legal study of the EU and national copyright laws of all 27 EU Member States, highlighting the need for EU legislative action to support OS and identifying differences in national laws that affect EU-wide OS objectives.

Survey Programme

The survey programme targeted researchers, research-performing organizations (RPOs), and publishers with tailored strategies to optimize participation and data collection. Researchers from Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe projects were surveyed, and RPOs received funds or showed interest in applying for funds from these projects. Publishers were surveyed through targeted outreach to ensure a high response rate.

Interview Programme

The interview programme gathered in-depth insights from legal experts on copyright, data, and digital legislation, focusing on legislative frameworks like the Data Act and Digital Services Act to complement the literature review findings.

Multi-Criteria Analysis

This analysis assessed four policy areas, integrating positive and negative impacts into a single framework to compare different options using qualitative and quantitative data. It examined social impacts on science, such as intellectual property rights, research quality control, scientific literature availability, research output diversity, and collaboration opportunities. Economic impacts were also considered, including sectoral competitiveness and stakeholder business conduct.

Comparative Analysis of Green Open Access Publications

This methodology compared different sources of information on Green Open Access in EU27 countries from 2011 to 2022, reviewing data from OpenAlex and OpenAIRE Graph and comparing it with trends in Open Access publications.

Analysis of Results

Cross-Analysis of Consultation Activity Results

Survey responses were segmented by researchers’ contexts and publishers’ institutional types and revenue levels. Survey results were complemented with insights from in-depth interviews.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The study proposes a combination of legislative and non-legislative measures to enhance the accessibility and reusability of research outputs. These recommendations aim to balance copyright protection with the goals of the ERA, fostering a unified, borderless market for research, innovation, and technology across the EU.

Full study can be found here.

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