IGF 2020 WS #139 CopyLeft or Right? Mediating Interests in Academic Databases

Time
Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 (16:50 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 (18:20 UTC)
Room
Room 2
About this Session
None
Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Elnur Karimov, Internet Society Youth Special Interest Group (Youth Observatory)
Organizer 2: María Merchán-Rocamora, PhD candidate Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques de Paris
Organizer 3: Daniel Jr Dasig, De La Salle University Dasmarinas
Organizer 4: Pedro de Perdigão Lana, GEDAI/UFPR
Organizer 5: Kamalanetra A Hung Low, Pineapple Laboratories
Organizer 6: Shadrach Ankrah, Ghana IGF

Speaker 1: Vivian Moya, Government, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Mariana Valente, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Thierry Nathanael Kopia , Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Elnur Karimov, Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Moderator

Kamalanetra A Hung Low, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Shadrach Ankrah, Technical Community, African Group

Rapporteur

Pedro de Perdigão Lana, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Format

Other - 90 Min
Format description: The room will have a table either in a rectangular or circle shape for at least 7 people. The seats will be assigned to the moderator/mediator, and at her right and left side, the online moderator and rapporteur. Next to each organizer, two speakers (4 speakers in total) who will sit face-to-face. The setting up of the table will help the mediating parties (speakers) to feel more comfortable, collaborative and constructive in their speeches which will help reach the solution. During the session, the distance of the online moderator and rapporteur with the moderator will contribute to a better cooperation, especially, in terms of the questions from the onsite and online audience, and gathering common points with the rapporteur.

Policy Question(s)

1. How to ensure an open and affordable use of academic databases for scientific innovation without infringing monopolistic individual and corporate copyright? 2. How effective are the policies implemented by private and civil society organizations to enable free access to academic works, such as Creative Commons? 3. Can forceful policies by governments or public-private partnerships solve the dilemma between copyleft and copyright? 4. To what extent do the interests of the young users (the youth) of academic databases (e.g. students, academicians) influence the policy-making process? 5. In the light of the lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic, can the cases of global emergency be a ground for opening databases?

The UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls for the inclusive and equitable quality of education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all. Taking into account that many developing countries still lack basic infrastructure to reach quality education and literacy, Goal 4 plays a vital role in the resolution of one of the greatest obstacles that humanity faces. Current technologies promise knowledge to all and sundry removing the barriers faced by people who cannot afford quality education. The role of the databases is undeniable to make the physical libraries more affordable on the internet. Despite that, the unavailability or unaffordability of the books, journals and other written quality materials on the databases contributes to the stability of low levels of literacy of the large proportion of the world population. On the other hand, it negatively affects the quality of the research at most academic institutions and universities and delays the innovation, instead of fostering it following the UN Sustainable Development Goal 9. Most universities in developing countries still follow the traditional way of researching at libraries with limited use of academic databases, which means a limited research capacity. While the status quo leaves many underprivileged persons behind, especially those living in rural areas, and in times of armed conflicts, humanity has remembered that in times of pandemic like the COVID-19, all of us can be on the same board and be vulnerable. The pandemic occurred but education did not stop at all. The absence of physical interactions necessitated the use of distance education which is highly welcome. However, to achieve sustainability and quality in distance education, physical libraries should also be transformed into the electronic world. Without e-resources that are at least equivalent to the capacity of average libraries to conduct research, online education does not match current needs. Thus, the pandemic has reignited the discussion on public policies of open access of public-funded research. The lack of financial support to access databases is a serious problem for graduates and undergraduates. In terms of academic databases, the conflicting interests and copyright of book authors, and database companies yield insufficient content by database owners and low rate of access. To this end, the interested parties (database companies, authors’ association and users) should be brought together with the participation of governments that hold the policy-making power to revisit this issue to ensure free and affordable access to quality databases to foster inclusive and equitable education. This session aims to simulate the partnership between governments, civil society actors, private companies and youth in the mediation format, to come with a tangible outcome.

SDGs

GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Description:

Mediation (90 minutes) The mediation will begin with the moderator/mediator’s opening speech that will touch the challenges and possible solution models to the open and affordable access to academic databases posed by intellectual property rights of both database owners and authors. Then, the moderator will introduce the mediating parties (speakers in the list below). The presentation delivered by each speaker will focus on the interest in academic databases as a particular stakeholder group and their recommended solutions and will help the audience to better understand the expectations of mediating parties (speakers). The speakers will represent government, private sector, civil society and the youth’s approach to open academic databases. In particular, the session audience will have an opportunity to listen to the perspective of the private sector and state authority on copyright protection, Creative Commons organization, and the youth on open access to databases. The first two speeches will be followed by a Q&A session both with online and onsite audiences who will address their questions to the speakers and contribute to the mediation. During the Q&A session, the moderator, with the help of the rapporteur, will collect the common/similar solutions raised by the speakers. After the Q&A session, the moderator will speak about the common points identified. The mediation will follow the same structure with the remaining two speakers. Finally, the moderator will collect all common points and add them in a final document which will symbolically be called “A Resolution Agreement”. The session will continue with the symbolic signature ceremony of the agreement by parties which will reflect the agreed policy, and conclude with the moderator’s closing remarks. Distinctively, this session will introduce a solution-oriented approach by not only listening to the speakers from different interests but trying to mediate them to reach a deal. The session is nurtured from the practical advantages of mediation methodology, which means that by mediation the session will reach its purpose of finding tangible outputs on open databases that will serve the interests of all stakeholder groups. The methodology will make the speakers think more practical and solution-oriented. The moderator will play a key role in facilitating discussions and bringing the parties closer. The intended agenda of the session is as follows: Opening speech by Moderator/Mediator - 10 minutes The 1st Speaker (Private Sector) - 10 minutes The 2nd Speaker (Civil Society) - 10 minutes Q&A Session - 10 minutes Mediator’s Comments - 5 minutes The 3rd Speaker (Youth) - 10 minutes The 4th Speaker (Government) - 10 minutes Q&A Session - 10 minutes Mediator’s Comments - 5 minutes A Symbolic Ceremony of Signature of Resolution Agreement - 5 minutes Closing speech by Moderator/Mediator - 5 minutes

Expected Outcomes

1) Showing participants the importance of policies or initiatives of open and affordable access to academic databases and other documents, especially as a way of stimulating research and learning amongst the youth from developing countries; 2) Advancing the argument that policies of open/affordable access are not antagonistic to individual intellectual property rights, and that their coexistence is not only fruitful but also necessary to maximize innovation under a utilitarian perspective; 3) Bringing national and international examples of successful public policies to cheapen access, open access, research exceptions, and also collecting other examples from the audience for future developments; 4) Pointing out in which topics more empirical evidence is needed to understand better when to choose between closed or open access to certain materials; 5) Using the symbolic resolution (agreement) between the mediating parties as a policy draft as a tool of advocacy for legislation and company policies on open databases.

The organizers plan to allow the audience to come with questions and contribute to the mediation between parties not only at the end of the session but after every two speeches. The interim Q&A sessions will help the audience raise more specific questions to the speakers who talked. The moderator will moderate the session, and ensure receiving questions from the audience. Additionally, the online moderator will be available during the session for remote participation and bring two questions at least from the online participants to the mediation during the whole session. 

During the breakout discussion of speakers (two in each room), the audience will be invited by the moderator to interact and share their ideas on the topic. This will help not only ask questions but share knowledge among the participants.

Relevance to Internet Governance: 1) Intellectual property was profoundly affected by the popularization of the Internet. Distribution and access were greatly facilitated, but this also came with the illegal utilization of protected works. It is not strange that this has become a classic topic of Internet governance; 2) Open/cheap access public policies appear as a two-sided solution. Both to harness the potential of the Internet to provide access to knowledge for regions and groups that historically did not have it, and to provide alternatives to paid services, making piracy less attractive; 3) To develop a public policy that does not disincentive creators and researchers while allowing their works to impact as many people as possible, a multi-stakeholder approach is needed, promoting dialogue between database owners, publishers, universities and civil society, with government intermediation.

Relevance to Theme: 1) Although data governance is nowadays usually related to personal data protection, there are also several other relevant topics inside this wide thematic. Even if this is the most urgent and worrying aspect today, there is also this pressing aspect which we have discussed in this proposal The lack of studies on the best models of intellectual property on the Internet is continuously pointed out by various experts. It is a deeply important area for human knowledge, but several aspects of it remain obscure or poorly publicized. 2) One of the topics that deserve more attention is the optimization of distribution, access and use of scientific data, whose global form is made possible (or at least facilitated) by the Internet, and the effects this could have on the global youth. 3) Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important this discussion is, because of the preference of distance education in most academic institutions. The students had to use the online sources because the universities and libraries were locked down, and students like everyone could not leave their homes for their health but still urged to complete their research, dissertations or theses. The sources of most academic institutions, in particular in developing institutions lack access to rich academic databases for several reasons, some of which are high prices and intellectual property rights of the companies behind.

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: The organizing team is planning to use Zoom E-meeting platform or Microsoft Teams. One of these platforms will be used to moderate the online discussions, to create group discussions and interact with the online audience to make teamwork and come with questions.

 

Agenda

Mediation (90 minutes) The mediation will begin with the moderator/mediator’s opening speech that will touch the challenges and possible solution models to the open and affordable access to academic databases posed by intellectual property rights of both database owners and authors. Then, the moderator will introduce the mediating parties (speakers in the list below). The presentation delivered by each speaker will focus on the interest in academic databases as a particular stakeholder group and their recommended solutions and will help the audience to better understand the expectations of mediating parties (speakers). The speakers will represent government, private sector, civil society and the youth’s approach to open academic databases. In particular, the session audience will have an opportunity to listen to the perspective of the private sector and state authority on copyright protection, Creative Commons organization, and the youth on open access to databases. The first two speeches will be followed by a Q&A session for 5 minutes from the online audience who will contribute to the mediation by their questions. The mediation will follow the same structure with the remaining two speakers. After the speeches, there will be another Q/A session for 5 minutes. Following the Q/A, the Moderator/Mediator will invite the mediating parties to the breakout discussion rooms (two in each room) to mediate. Group 1 will include Government and Civil Society, and Group 2 will include Youth and Private Sector. The breakout discussions will last 10 minutes, and the mediating groups will present their common points in 5 minutes each. During the breakout discussions, the moderator will invite the audience to the coffee break or discussion among themselves in the chat. After the presentations, finally, the moderator with the help of rapporteur will collect all common points and add them in a final document which will symbolically be called “A Resolution Agreement”. The session will continue with the symbolic signature ceremony of the agreement by parties which will reflect the agreed policy, and conclude with the moderator’s closing remarks.

Distinctively, this session will introduce a solution-oriented approach by not only listening to the speakers from different interests but trying to mediate them to reach a deal. The session is nurtured from the practical advantages of mediation methodology, which means that by mediation the session will reach its purpose of finding tangible outputs on open databases that will serve the interests of all stakeholder groups. The methodology will make the speakers think more practical and solution-oriented. The moderator will play a key role in facilitating discussions and bringing the parties closer.
The intended agenda of the session is as follows:

Opening speech by Moderator/Mediator - 10 minutes
The 1st Speaker (Private Sector) - 10 minutes
The 2nd Speaker (Civil Society) - 10 minutes
Q&A Session - 5 minutes
The 3rd Speaker (Youth) - 10 minutes
The 4th Speaker (Government) - 10 minutes
Q&A Session - 5 minutes
Breakout Discussion for Speakers (two in each room - two rooms) - 10 minutes
Presentation of the Group 1 (Private Sector and Civil Society) - 5 minutes
Presentation of Group 2 (Youth and Government) - 5 minutes
Closing speech and comments by Moderator/Mediator - 5 minutes
Symbolic Ceremony of Signature of Resolution Agreement - 5 minutes.

1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
How to ensure an open and affordable use of academic databases for scientific innovation without infringing monopolistic individual and corporate copyright?
To what extent do the interests of the young researchers influence the policy-making process on open access to academic databases?
In the light of the lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic, can the cases of global emergency be a ground for opening databases?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

Mr Thierry talked about how the private sector also promotes open access policies, complementing the social purpose of the companies with its aim. The sharing of data between the public and private sectors has always been done, approaching some government initiatives that facilitate this sharing. In pandemic times, while it’s possible to go after more profits, it seems wiser to private sectors agents to try to be more flexible to make it easier to fight pandemic-related issues.

Ms Mariana Valente talked about the importance of opening academic databases to civil society. She talked about how digital technologies created the possibility of sharing knowledge and works, but this didn’t come with the legal possibility of sharing, because copyright law posed some barriers. She mentioned that open licenses are not enough, and the academic ecosystem needs to have an active role to stimulate open access, recognizing and promoting these type of initiatives.

Mr Elnur pointed out how the theme of the session is especially relevant to the youth. He remembered how youth starting to research have great barriers in getting access to protected academic texts, mostly because they do not have the same level of access or the same financial resources as older researchers have.

Ms Vivian Moya presented how the government can help to develop access and mediating the involved interests. She started with a brief introduction about how copyright works (and what are its aims) around the world, with higher or lower levels of copyright protection depending on national legislation.

3. Key Takeaways

The session reached a consensus on the need for providing tools to facilitate open access and open knowledge.

The private sectors shouldn't seem like the enemy here, since there are also many initiatives in this sector to reinforce open access to academic databases. Governments also have a role in diminishing costs and expenses to commercial companies that work with these types of databases.
Academia has a particularity, which is that authors and readers are commonly part of the same group because one needs to research from other works to produce their own. There's less interest from authors in financial returns, and more interest in being recognized by others. The pandemic showed us the importance of open science and how it can be effectively used to fight against pressing issues, and how actors from different sectors can work together to achieve a similar objective.

6. Final Speakers

1. Thierry Nathaniel Kopia (Burkino Faso)
2. Mariana Valente (Brazil)
3. Dr Vivian Moya (The Philippines)
4. Elnur Karimov (Azerbaijan)

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

The session did not focus on the gender aspects of access to academic databases specifically. However, the session addressed the difficulties of different marginalized communities' access to academic databases, especially during the pandemic. Only one example of these communities under the umbrella of the youth has been thoroughly discussed as youth is the most active users and beneficiaries of databases.

8. Session Outputs

N/A

9. Group Photo
IGF 2020 WS #139 CopyLeft or Right? Mediating Interests in Academic Databases
10. Voluntary Commitment

N/A