LIBER wants #ZeroEmbargo on Publicly-Funded Scientific Publications.

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Draft Law for the Use of Publicly Funded Scholarly Publications


  1.     The author of an article in a research periodical, or the author of a book chapter in a multi-authored monograph (collectively referred to as “scholarly work”), their employer or research funder shall be entitled to make the scholarly work in any of its forms available to the public via any open access repository immediately after its acceptance for publication, including any third party content, such as images and tables, that are required for the specific purpose of  understanding the scholarly work, on the condition that:

a) the research to which the scholarly work relates has been paid in whole or in part by public funds; and

b) it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement of the author, and when the version being made available is the version of record, the source of its first publication.

Upon being made available to the public in any of its forms in line with this provision, the specific version being made available shall be identifiable and clear terms of use shall be appended. No contractual or other restrictions on the reuse of the scholarly work shall be enforceable regarding a scholarly work whose author has been majority funded by public funds. 

  1. When being made available to the public, the funder of the research and the form and version of the scholarly work being made available, shall be made clear at the beginning or end of the article or book chapter, as well as in the metadata. 

3. Any contractual provision contrary to this article shall be unenforceable.


Interpretational Guidance:

“any of its forms”



“form and version of the scholarly work”

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 For example, these can include a submitted draft, a form which has not been peer-reviewed (sometimes referred to as a “pre-print”), or a form which has been peer-reviewed but hasn’t had a final edit or been typeset, the final published form (sometimes referred to as “the version of record”) etc.

It would be desirable to adopt / 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.

“clear terms of use”
  1. Articles and book chapters which are minority publicly funded (i.e. less than 50%) can be made available online allowing reading by the end user. In addition to reading, further onward use/re-use by the end user will be determined by 1)the limitations and exceptions in a country’s national copyright law; or 2) by contacting the copyright holder (i.e. the author and/or the publisher) to ask for permission to use the work beyond that which is allowable in line with limitations and exceptions in copyright law.
  2. No contractual or other restrictions on the re-use of the scholarly work shall be enforceable:
“no contractual or other restrictions on the reuse of the scholarly work shall be enforceable” Majority publicly funded (i.e. 50% or more) articles and book chapters shall be entirely free of technical, contractual or legal restrictions to use/re-use by the end user. For the avoidance of doubt in addition to funders, articles and book chapters resulting from research and other scholarly work paid for by universities and conducted by staff and others employed by universities, will be considered majority funded. Standard research practices around acknowledging the author, citations, etc. shall continue.
“specific version being made available shall be identifiable” 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. 
“third party content” 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.
“version of record” The final form of an article or book chapter published in a journal or book which includes all the editorial and type-setting changes made by the publisher.

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