Re: Poynder on Digital Rights Management and Open Access

From: Leslie Carr <>
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 22:19:52 +0100

On 23 Apr 2005, at 20:48, Stevan Harnad wrote:

> Richard Poynder has written an -- as always -- thoughtful and
> informative
> article:
> Richard Poynder, The role of digital rights management in Open
> Access,
> Indicare, April 22, 2005.
> in.html

I find it significant that Richard defines DRM as a two-part
phenomenon: metadata and services (ie a layer of 'rights' metadata and
a layer of software that enables appropriate activities given the
correct interpretation of the metadata). Note that this conforms to the
Open Archives Initiative model of data and service providers
communicating through sharing metadata about digital items. DRM is just
one example of many publication-related issues that can be dealt with
in such a way - preservation, data archiving, version control,
classification, certification (all taken from a brief scan of the
Self-Archiving FAQ

Open Access, a simple phenomenon whose implications are well understood
by researchers, librarians, administrators, managers, funders and
politicians, provides the technical infrastructure, the community of
users and the service environment which will underpin new solutions for
all these issues. Increasingly large amounts of OA material will
generate large numbers of OA services, supporting new ways of using the
literature which in turn will bring new requirements for the DRM
community to support.

Now that funders can see the output from their projects appearing
online as OA material, they can start to specify what they want to do
with it (as services providers) and what extra information needs to be
collected by the data providers.
Now that research administrators see output from their institutions
appearing online in the OA institutional repositories, they can start
to work out how they want it analysed, and what metadata needs to be
associated with it.

My conclusion is patterned on Richards, except that where Richard's
puts the OA community in hock to the DRM community, mine reverses this
as follows:

Until there is a lot more Open Access content available for researchers
(and other stakeholders) to use to their benefit, the DRM movement (and
many other movements) may struggle to make significant progress in
understanding the nature of rights, responsibilities and opportunities
involved in digitally-mediated scientific and scholarly research.
Increasingly it appears that only by engaging with this simple issue
can the [DRM] movement hope to achieve its objectives.
Les Carr
Received on Sun Apr 24 2005 - 22:19:52 BST

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