Many politicians and researchers share a vision of a future for scientific research which is relevant to the needs of society and is based upon the sharing of text and data in publicly-funded research outputs. The use of intellectual property rights could underpin the realisation of this vision but in many situations they are currently a barrier to its achievement.
The report ‘IPR Policy and Scientific Research' provides recommendations to policy makers in science and scholarly research regarding IPR policy, to increase the impact of research and make the outcomes more available. It was commissioned by Knowledge Exchange and was written by Fred Friend.
The report argues that the impact of publicly-funded research outputs can be increased through a fairer balance between private and public interest in copyright legislation. This will allow for wider access to and easier re-use of published research reports. The common practice of authors being required to assign all rights to a publisher restricts the impact of research outputs and should be replaced by wider use of a non-exclusive licence. Full access and re-use rights to research data should be encouraged through use of a research-friendly licence.
It offers several examples of good practices using licensing. These examples are not restricted to publications but also the licensing of other research outputs, including research data. Examples are mentioned of possible licences and approaches research funders could take.