Institutional repositories and copyright in Greek academic libraries

Konstantinos Kyprianos, University of West Attica

Ekaterini Lygnou, University of West Attica

One of the roles of libraries is to provide free access to information, either through traditional means (written material) or by access to electronic resources or digital collections. Several factors, including technological advancement and the open access (OA) movement, have driven libraries to alter their services and roles to suit the expectations of the new era in recent decades. The advancement of information and communication technology (ICT) has resulted in new instruments and opportunities for the creation and dissemination of knowledge. The OA movement has established new possibilities for making knowledge available not only to researchers but also to the general population (Björk 2016).

In reaction to these changes, libraries have begun to create digital collections by digitizing items in their collections, taking advantage of the opportunities initially offered by technology. The content of these digital collections varies and typically consists of items that must be protected from frequent usage or items for which copyright protection has ended. With the rise of the OA movement, digital or institutional repositories were established, primarily by academic institutions, to gather, make available, and promote their institution’s scientific activities (Marsh 2015). Members of the academic institution are authorized to present and provide open access to their work in institutional repositories through the procedure of self-depositing, skipping the usual publishing process.

Grey literature makes up a sizable component of institutional repositories’ collections (Marsh 2015). Many academic institutions and researchers have been depositing their manuscripts in institutional repositories in recent years, based on the imperatives of the OA movement, so that knowledge can be made available to the research community without financial or other constraints (Björk 2016).Intellectual property rights are one barrier to libraries’ freely offering access to knowledge. Intellectual property rights cannot be ignored or suppressed; they were enacted to protect creators’ work from being plagiarized and commercially exploited by others. But to what extent may intellectual property restrict the free dissemination of knowledge? As previously stated, the OA movement seeks to limit these restrictions, and libraries are important allies in this effort. The ambition to enhance an institutional repository’s collection with publications deriving from the scientific activity of the academic institution’s members occasionally conflicts with intellectual property rights. Writers’ rights to their work, as well as agreements between authors and publishers, frequently make depositing a work in an institutional repository unappealing. Clearing the copyright of a work is the process of identifying the copyright holder(s) of a work and obtaining permission to publish it in an institutional repository. It is a complicated and time-consuming procedure, and it is one of the most difficult issues that libraries face (Macklin 2013; Dawson and Yang 2016).Having the aforementioned in mind, the purpose of this study is to discover what procedures academic libraries use to resolve copyright issues in their repositories. Furthermore, this study will investigate whether institutional repositories adhere to a defined workflow for the clearance pro-cess, who is in charge of the clearance process, what kinds of problems arise, and what services or technologies they employ to facilitate the task of copyright clearance. It will also examine whether academic libraries communicate with one another about copyright issues and whether they have formed common methods or policies to resolve those issues.


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