Knowledge Rights 21 Project

‘A Toolkit for Knowledge Rights Advocacy’ – KR21 Workshop Report

Posted: 26-09-2023 Topics: Knowledge Rights 21 Copyright

During the LIBER Annual Conference in July, Knowledge Rights 21 held the workshop “A Toolkit for Knowledge Rights Advocacy”. Organisers Stephen Wyber (Director of Policy and Advocacy, IFLA) and Giannis Tsakonas (Director, Library & Information Centre, University of Patras and LIBER Vice President) took an engaging and interactive approach to trigger participants’ reflections and motivate them to join the growing KR21 movement. KR21 is advocating for progressive and positive change in the way we provide access to knowledge – both on the ground and through legal reform.

Read more about KR21 and LIBER’s role in the project.

The workshop opened with a discussion about the state of play of the various policy areas KR21 focuses on. The project unites LIBER, SPARC Europe, and IFLA to empower libraries in advocating for policies that support their missions. Participants discussed the policy landscape for access to knowledge, through digital surveying tools and exploratory dialogues.

The workshop was attended by participants representing countries from all over the continent, from Ireland to Switzerland, Croatia to The Netherlands. Participants reported a lack of awareness, both from the side of the libraries and the key legislators, of what libraries can do in the interest of openness in knowledge and research. Moreover, the rate of awareness of the legal framework for science and research is rather low, as well as the awareness of the role libraries can play.

The participants believed that, on the whole, the regulatory framework is not supportive to Open Access, and that where there is such support, it is relatively weak, or leans towards Gold Open Access. Green Open Access appears high on the agenda of libraries as it was evidently prioritised by the participants through their efforts to strengthen infrastructures, change institutional cultures and reform legislation.

The second half of the workshop focused on the factors that encourage or discourage engagement with legislators, and the steps needed to make reform happen. LIBER presented their work on Secondary Publishing Rights (SPRs), including findings from a survey on the landscape of SPRs in seven European countries. This provided a helpful basis for thinking through factors that enable or hinder Open Access advocates to promote more progressive legislation, as well as the problems that they face.

The LIBER Secondary Publishing Rights report will be released in early October 2023. Keep an eye on the Knowledge Rights 21 website and the LIBER news blog and social media channels for updates. Sign up for the LIBER newsletter to receive project updates straight to your inbox. 

By communicating these factors, anyone who is interested in introducing such a provision nationally or internationally can become better aware of the challenges and can formulate a more solid narrative for policy makers.

The workshop was concluded with a short exercise on identifying the advocacy capacities that the participants have, based on the KR21 Advocacy Capacities Grid. Participants left the workshop with a stronger sense of the information and skills they need to promote legislative and policy change regarding access to knowledge.

Download the Workshop slides – including the results of the participant polls – on Zenodo.

Do you have questions about the Knowledge Rights 21 and LIBER’s role in the project? Contact LIBER Project Officer, Oliver Blake.

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