Online Discussion: Copyright and Open Licensing - What have we learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic?
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In March 2020,at the height of the global lockdown, UNESCO estimated that more than 1.5 billion students in 193 countries were affected by closures in schools and universities. The closures happened mid-way through the academic year, and teaching and learning had to  move off-campus and online overnight.   

With libraries suddenly closed in many countries, access to many physical books and journals became impossible.  Online access to digital content - whether digitised by lecturers from their personal collections at home, created anew or available from publishers, was the only means to continue education. 

One key challenge for educators and research has been to understand how copyright and licensing terms for face-to-face teaching vary from online teaching. While there have been some positive developments facilitating access to content by publishers, European governments have not responded to the closure of libraries during the pandemic by introducing time-limited copyright laws allowing remote access to the physical library. With limited access to paper, the pandemic has also brought sharply into focus the pricing and access problems associated with eBooks.

This discussion with speakers from Frontiers, the open access publisher, a research funder (TBC) and chairs of LIBER’s copyright and open access working groups, aims to focus on what we have learnt from the pandemic in terms of the need to facilitate online and open forms of knowledge sharing. As European economies are expected to be severely affected by the pandemic, this will inevitably have a knock-on effect on university budgets and the ability to support library spend. 

Has the COVID-19 crisis become a tipping point for open access publishing?

This discussion is open to anyone interested in and/or working with the issues of copyright and open access.


Stephan Kuster is the Head of Institutional Relations at Frontiers, an Open Access publisher and Open Science platform based in Lausanne, Switzerland. His role involves working with partner organizations to advance Open Access as the default way of disseminating research results with strict quality controls but without paywalls for access.  
Before joining Frontiers in 2019, Stephan was the Secretary General of Science Europe, where he worked with European Research Funders and Research Performing Organizations to develop policies, practices and joint initiatives. He was part of the group that developed Plan S to accelerate the transition to Open Access. He has also advised the European Commission on the European Open Science Cloud and was part of the Open Science Policy Platform. 

Sofie Wennström is an analyst and Managing Editor at the Stockholm University Library. Sofie manages the university library’s journals portfolio and a number of book projects at Stockholm University Press. All books and journals that are peer-reviewed and Open Access. 
She is an Open Access advocate and chairs the LIBER Working Group on Open Access aiming to share knowledge and best practice among European research libraries.
Sofie also works part time at  the Centre for the Advancement of University Teaching at Stockholm University and at the National Library of Sweden as a project manager building a national platform to facilitate the transition for Swedish academic journals to Open Access.

Benjamin White has a background in publishing having worked for Pearson Education internationally, as well as for Ordnance Survey. He is active in the Intellectual Property field within the UK having sat on a number of bodies including the BBC’s Creative Archive Advisory Board, the UK Government’s Creative Economy Programme (Competition and Intellectual Property), i2010 Digital Libraries Programme, as well as the Institute of Public Policy Research’s Advisory Board on Intellectual Property and the Public Sphere.
Benjamin currently is  a researcher at the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management, Bournemouth University and  sits on the UK Intellectual Property Office’s Copyright Research Expert Advisory Group. He has spoken as an expert legal witness at the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, as well as at the BEIS and the DCMS committee in the UK Parliament.

Robert Kiley is Head of Open Research at Wellcome where he is responsible for developing and implementing Wellcomes’s open research strategy. 

Over the past decade Robert has played a leading role in the implementation of Wellcome’s open access policy.  He has also been responsible for initiating the development of eLife, the online journal developed in partnership with HHMI and the Max Planck Society and Wellcome’s OA repository, Europe PubMed Central repository.  Most recently Robert championed the development of Wellcome’s own publishing platform – Wellcome Open Research – which is fast becoming the most used publication venue for Wellcome funded research articles.
Since March 2019, he has also assumed the role as cOAlition S Coordinator.
Robert is a qualified librarian and is a member of the Board of Directors for ORCID.

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