LIBER wants #ZeroEmbargo on Publicly-Funded Scientific Publications.

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Campaign FAQ


How does LIBER’s #zeroembargo initiative compare with other similar initiatives? Why is this Model Law so crucial for various stakeholders within the libraries and research sectors? We answer these questions and more in our below FAQ. 

  • Who has initiated this ‘Draft Law for the Use of Publicly Funded Scholarly Publications’?

    The draft law was initially proposed by two of LIBER’s working groups — the Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group and the Open Access Working Group — groups that strongly emphasise the need for a draft law and who are actively working towards making this happen.  

  • How does LIBER’s draft law / #ZeroEmbargo initiative compare with other similar initiatives on the topic?

    The proposed law has a symbiotic relationship with other relevant initiatives such as those who are coming from funders (like Plan S, for example). However, it is slightly different from many other initiatives because it focuses on the permits for Green Open Access and the deposition in repositories with lower technical barriers to allow more inclusivity. Secondly, because it embraces diversity in the culture of openness across Europe with a guaranteed lowest level of openness according to law.

  • Why has LIBER developed this new draft law?

    There is a fundamental need for scholarly publications to be accessible for all. Only some countries have regulations about the embargo period of an article, others allow very long embargo periods, meaning that the public does not have access to the latest research articles. LIBER wants to ensure a pan-European implementation of this regulation, ensuring fairness, transparency, and openness in accordance with our organisational strategy (link to strategy). 

  • Does the draft law conflict with the new Digital Single Market Directive?

    The draft law is not conflicting with the new Digital Single Market Directive (“Directive (EU) 2019/790 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market and amending Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC”, see as according to it (Art. 2, par. 5c), scientific publications are not subject to the limitations or the exceptions therein mentioned. LIBER believes that the six countries that already have the law take the view that it is clarifying that as employers and/or funders they have the right to publish these publications, or that it falls under the scientific research exception in the 2001 Copyright Directive (“Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society”, Also, the draft Law is not having any conflict with the Public Sector Information Directive (“Directive (EU) 2019/1024 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on open data and the re-use of public sector information”, 

  • What do we mean by “any of its forms” as written in our draft law?

    An article or book chapter may have multiple forms. For example, these can include a submitted draft, a form which has not been peer-reviewed (sometimes referred to as a “pre-print”), or a form which has been peer-reviewed but hasn’t had a final edit or been typeset (often referred to as the ‘author accepted manuscript’ or AAM), or the final published form (sometimes referred to as “the version of record”) etc.

  • What do we mean by the “form and version of the scholarly work” as written in our draft law?

    It would be desirable to adopt or create an international naming standard for the versions being made available, particularly in the context of making the “record of version” and the name of the funder clear in the metadata.

  • What do we mean by “clear terms of use” as written in our draft law?

    Articles and book chapters which are minority publicly funded (i.e., less than 50%) can only be made available in line with the conditions outlined in this draft law. Unless agreed otherwise between the author and / or the publisher, end users who wish to onward use the article or book chapter will then most likely be limited to using the article or book chapter by limitations and exceptions to copyright law in national laws unless further permission is sought.

  • What do we mean by “no contractual or other restrictions on the reuse of the scholarly work shall be enforceable” as written in our draft law?

    Majority funded articles and book chapters shall be entirely free of technical or legal restrictions to use. The intention is that any publicly funded research, including monies provided by the university as part of the scholarly communication cycle, that are over 50% attributable to public funds shall not be subject to further restrictions.

    Standard research practices around acknowledging the author, citations etc should continue.

  • What do we mean by “specific version being made available shall be identifiable” as written in our draft law?

    Making clear the “record of version” is vitally important when publishing the article or book chapter. In order that people know whether they are reading the most up to date version or not, it is important that when being made available, the specific version is clearly described alongside the text as well as in the metadata.

  • What do we mean by “third party content” as written in our draft law?

    When republishing the work any third-party content, as long as it is required for the understanding of the article or book chapter, may also be republished. In many instances, the original use in the context of the article or book chapter will be covered by the three-step test/fair practice provisions in international copyright law.

  • What is meant by “version of record” as written in our draft law?

    The final form of an article or book chapter published in a journal or book which includes all the editorial and typesetting changes made by the publisher.

  • What is the way forward for LIBER’s #ZeroEmbargo initiative and draft law?

    LIBER has planned a range of activities on the topic, from gauging a greater sense of whether various audiences understand secondary rights and the implications thereof, to educational activities (webinars, panel discussions, polls, interviews etc.). More details about these activities as well as the status of the draft law will be made available during the course of 2021.

  • How Can I Get Involved in LIBER’s #ZeroEmbargo Initiative?

    You can spread the word and help us with consistent messaging/updates via social media. Use both hashtags: #ZeroEmbargo and #LIBER to join in on the conversation. Share our campaign illustrations together with your written social media updates. Follow our online channels (Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin) for regular updates about this campaign.

  • How Can I Ask a Question About LIBER’s #ZeroEmbargo Initiative or draft law?

    Email with ‘ZeroEmbargo’ in the subject line. We will do our best to respond to you as soon as we can. 

  • Is there a calendar/timeline for this campaign (i.e. for dates regarding the presentation of the model law to the European Commission)?

    As noted in our press release, we are targetting our #ZeroEmbargo campaign at two levels – 1) Member States and 2) the European Commission. We are now at the very first stage of informing our research library members and other relevant stakeholders as well as identifying the best possible course for the campaign. It is essential that there is the widest possible acknowledgement and approval of the campaign within our community before bringing the discussion to the level of the European Commission.

  • How has the #ZeroEmbarge Campaign been perceived by governments thus far?

    There has been a strong interest from some countries, mostly from North and Central Europe, which is encouraging. France is another country that has responded positively to the campaign, especially since it aligns with the first commitment of the country’s National Plan for Open Science. Initially, together with our colleagues from these countries, we are hoping to take the campaign to the next level.

  • Is the trajectory of the campaign subject to change based on the comments/feedback received?

    We are open to feedback and in this sense, yes, the campaign could be altered i.e. in the direction of clarifying key concepts. Keep in mind that we reached a consensus on the current version of the draft law after much debate and our Working Groups are actively taking what has been expressed by many stakeholders into account.