Policy Watch

February 7, 2008

BRITISH ACADEMY

OBJECTION TO COPYRIGHT PROPOSAL

The British Academy has spoken out against a proposal to introduce a licensing scheme for "orphan works" - work for which it is impossible to trace the copyright holder - which could mean academics have to pay for access. The academy has rejected a proposal by the Innovation, Universities and Skills Committee that the Copyright Tribunal become responsible for granting licences for the use of "orphan works". The academy said that if an author or publisher could not be reasonably identified, others should be allowed to use the material. "There is a problem with orphan works, but this is not the solution," said John Kay, chairman of the academy's copyright group.

BIOSCIENCE 2015

MID-TERM REVIEW OF ACHIEVEMENTS

Sir David Cookey, whose 2006 review of health research led to changes in funding for medical research, has been asked by the Prime Minister to chair a mid-term review of Bioscience 2015, a report on bioscience innovation and growth published in 2003. Sir David said: "There have been some notable successes, including the establishment of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration and the introduction of legislation to combat animal rights extremists. However, where we have not made progress is in the financing of bioscience companies."

RESEARCH INFORMATION NETWORK

DIGITAL RESEARCH DATA GUIDANCE

Researchers, universities and funders need to draw up codes of practice for managing digital research data, the Research Information Network has said. Its guidance on the stewardship of digital research data outlines five high-level principles, including a resolution that the roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined. "Without clarity ... there is the risk of misunderstandings, of wasted efforts and growing difficulties," the RIN said. The guidance is intended to help manage the quantity and variety of digital data being created and collected by researchers.

- See: http://www.rin.ac.uk/new-data-stewardship

SELECT COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION

INQUIRY INTO ENGINEERING

The Innovation, Universities and Skills Committee has launched an inquiry into engineering. It will focus on issues affecting engineering as well as the provision of engineering skills, and it will examine case studies. The deadline for written submissions is 15 March.

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