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Response to the Hargreaves Review

19 May 2011

BBSRC welcomes the findings of the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, published this week. In particular, the recommendations with regard to reform of the UK copyright system chime with BBSRC's commitment to open access to data for research.

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said "The rich data sets and their explanations in the scientific literature that are produced by researchers hold a tremendous intellectual value. Many of them have also been paid for from the public purse. It is precisely because of this that they should be accessible for non-commercial research purposes and not restricted by the out-dated copyright system. Much of this information is already well used in this way, but we must ensure that everything of academic value that might be used, can be.

"For research to make a difference to people and to the economy it is vital that information is shared freely. As the report states, 'there should be a change in rules to enable scientific and other researchers to use modern text and data mining techniques, which copyright prohibits'. Modern methods of text and data mining can add enormous value, but require that the data and text on which they depend are freely available and unencumbered. Without this, we risk missing major discoveries that could have significant social and economic impact."

ENDS

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