A draft law on second publishing rights for scientific articles is currently being debated in Germany. The Coalition for Action “Copyright for Education and Research” recently called on Germany’s Upper House the Bundesrat to reject the proposals.

Disagreement about second publishing rights in Germany © fotodo - Fotolia.com
Disagreement about second publishing rights in Germany © fotodo – Fotolia.com

Second publishing rights

Under German government and Lower House proposals, second publishing rights will be introduced for scientific publications which receive third-party public funding in excess of 50% or which are produced by non-university research institutions.

Second publishing rights would not apply to scientific contributions which are entirely funded from public university standard budgets.

The Coalition for Action “Copyright for Education and Research” has expressed opposition to the proposals, stating that it is in the interests of Germany’s States not to exclude scientific works funded by “normal university funds” from the right to publish a second time.

The Coalition claims that under the current proposals the majority of scientific contributions would miss out on the benefits of second publishing rights.

Calls for rejection

The Coalition has called on the Bundesrat, which had previously advocated for all publicly financed scientific works to benefit from second publishing rights, to reject the proposals.

A rejection of the proposals would lead to a conciliatory procedure being commenced in the German parliament under which law makers would try to reach a compromise.

Spokesman for the Coalition, Prof. Rainer Kuhlen said, “Introducing second publishing rights for all, would strengthen autonomy for university researchers and contribute to the States’ budgets.”

Orphan works legislation

However, the legislative proposals on second publishing rights are part of a package of measures together with draft legislation on orphan works. These provisions would allow certain institutions to digitise and reproduce works whose owner is unknown or cannot be located.

A delay would also mean that it is unlikely the proposed new rules on orphan works would come into force before the next general election.

Commenting on a possible delay to the orphan works legislation, Prof. Kuhlen commented, “We can afford a delay in introducing the proposals on orphan works. The broad party-political consensus on introducing the proposals and the fact that the rules on orphan works are contained in an EU directive which must be implemented means there is a strong chance that new legislation on orphan works will be introduced.”

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