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President Drake and Provost Newman affirm the university’s commitment to protect author, researcher and reader rights

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UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D., and UC System Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Katherine S. Newman
UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D., and UC System Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Katherine S. Newman

UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D., and UC System Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Katherine S. Newman issued the following letter to Academic Council Chair James Steintrager and UCOLASC Chair Maria Deprano on June 18, 2024:

Dear Chair Steintrager and Chair DePrano: 

We are writing to reaffirm and join your statement of support on the UC Libraries’ Negotiations with Publishers Regarding Fair Use, Text and Data Mining, and Artificial Intelligence Usage Rights, issued on April 24 by the Academic Senate University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC) and unanimously endorsed by Academic Council on May 7. We appreciate the faculty’s continued leadership and partnership with the libraries on these critical rights issues and want to unequivocally convey the University’s shared commitment to protect author, researcher, and reader rights. 

As reflected in our July 2023 letter on author rights, the University of California’s pursuit of open and equitable access ensures that research and the scholarly record are widely and immediately available, and that author rights are honored. With this letter, we uphold the University’s commitment to preserve the reader and researcher rights of scholars, including their ability to analyze the scholarly corpus utilizing existing and emerging research modalities. 

The UC Office of the President commends Academic Council and UCOLASC for speaking with such clarity: publishers that contractually restrict researchers from making computational use of the scholarly literature are out of alignment with the interests of the academy, as well as the public. For the academy, text and data mining, as well as artificial intelligence, are research methodologies that create new possibilities for scholars to examine the literature and unlock new insights and findings. For the public, the pace and impact of scholarly research on society is contingent on scholars having access to the most advanced research methodologies and tools. 

 As administrators and authors, we agree with UC faculty and libraries: Scholars, not publishers, should determine which research methodologies best advance their scholarly work. 

Already, legislatures in Europe have recognized that scientific progress and competitiveness demands access to the most advanced research methodologies. The European Union’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market provides a regulation framework that prohibits publishers from contractually overriding pre-existing rights in license agreements. 

We support the UC Libraries in preserving fair use rights on behalf of UC researchers in publisher negotiations. UC scholars should not be contractually restricted by publishers from analyzing the scholarly literature by advanced computational means; and neither should researchers anywhere else. Collectively, the academy has created a corpus of scholarly literature; collectively, we need to ensure that it can be harnessed to advance our academic as well as public service missions, today and in the future. 

Congress has already granted, through U.S. copyright law, fair use rights that promote the progress of science and the useful arts. We call on our peers across the United States and around the globe to voice their commitment to open access and author, researcher, and reader rights. And we call on publishers to cease negotiation and contractual practices that restrict fair use and other socially beneficial rights. 

The historic and ongoing partnership of the University of California’s faculty and libraries has empowered the University to pursue its strategic interests in publisher negotiations. Critically, this work requires all of us to remain engaged to achieve our vision of a scholarly communications ecosystem that puts our university mission first. 

We are grateful to Academic Council, UCOLASC, and the UC Libraries for your resolve and commitment to author, researcher, and reader rights, and look forward to our continued success in the pursuit of a research and scholarly communication ecosystem that is open, fair, transparent, and sustainable. Fiat lux. 

Michael V. Drake, M.D. 
University of California 

Katherine S. Newman 
UC System Provost and 
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs 

Download a formatted version of this letter

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