Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, March 05, 2006

QUT launches OA law project

Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the first university anywhere to adopt an OA mandate, has launched an Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law project. From the site:
In today’s ever-changing world, open access to knowledge is increasingly important, as both an economic and social force. This project aims to ensure that people can legally and efficiently share knowledge across domains and across the world. This will be of significance to the every day citizen through to top-end researchers. The project will develop legal protocols for managing copyright issues in an open access environment and investigate provision and implementation of a rights expression language for implementing such protocols at a technical level. At both levels, legal and technical, the project will integrate with existing open access repositories. The significance of the project is that it will provide a vital infrastructure to the open access landscape that does not adequately exist at the moment.

Quoting Tom Cochran, QUT's Deputy Vice-Chancellor:

It is often observed that the law and law making lags behind technology. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the maze of rights management and rights assertion surrounding access to content which is increasingly in digital form, often exclusively. Queensland University of Technology is pleased to be the supporting institution for this project, to systematically develop more assured processes, understandings and protocols to assist the smooth flow of knowledge and information for a variety of communities in future years. In doing so it particularly recognizes the public policy imperative of freeing up access to publicly funded research and its outputs.

Also see the press release announcing the project (February 21, 2006):

A new "open access to knowledge" project hosted by the Queensland University of Technology aims to ensure that anyone can legally share knowledge across the world, whether they be an every day citizen or a top end researcher. The QUT team, led by School of Law head, Professor Brian Fitzgerald is embarking on a $1.3 million, two year project to develop legal protocols for managing copyright issues in an open access environment. The Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project, when complete, would provide legal protocols that would free up the national and international research environment and remove barriers to reusing and remixing information, Professor Fitzgerald said...."If researchers know they can safeguard their work with OAK Law protocols they will be more comfortable with making it available online and thus increase the stock of knowledge available to everyone," Prof Fitzgerald said. "The OAK Law protocols will benefit everyone from school students to Nobel Prize winners who can go online, do a Google search, find relevant research and use it without fear of being sued for copyright infringements. The project will work with cutting edge research repositories in marine science and medical research to ensure that all Australians have the right to access and, where permitted, reuse high quality research data in their daily lives."