[governance] statement for ITU website

karen banks karenb at gn.apc.org
Mon Jan 30 11:31:46 EST 2006

hi parminder and all,

>I still find it astonishing that ITU can get 
>away with not incorporating open access 
>principle which is clearly stated in POA, and 
>more clearly so for the kind of work ITU does – technical IS related info
>I am in the middle of something urgent, and not 
>able to draft a separate ‘open access’ 
>statement’ – so well, some other time. Though I 
>also see that there could be some lack of 
>complete consensus on this issue in the CS – it 
>is certainly is a complex issue

this was a really difficult issue for those of us 
in the WGIG who felt it an important element in 
the IG landscape - i just read over the draft 
issue paper i started on the subject and am 
reminded of just how complex the area is..

in some ways, it could be quite simple.. all 
publically funded research should be made 
available under an open access policy - an awful 
lots of work has been done on this by a whole 
range of groups - who are not totally 
disconnected from the WSIS CS - rather intersect 
at certain points with certain groups

i was trying to locate some readily-usable text 
to submit to the ITU, but most of the work around 
open access initiatives are targetted at 
governments and research institutes, or speak 
directrly to scientific information

The most useful document i've come across if the 
Access to Knowledge Treaty - which has been 
developed somewhat alongside the WIPO development 
agenda - but even it doesn't speak directly to 
intergovernmentals. I believe this work was led 
by many of the groups who supported the 'Friends 
of Development' in WIPO (IP justice, CPtech, IFLA 
etc) (section 5 included below)

The other substantial work is spearheaded by the 
OSI Budapest Open Access Initiative
http://www.soros.org/openaccess/index.shtml - but 
is mainly targetted at scientific journals - 
still, the recommendations for 'transition' are relevant

One of our main priorities this coming year is to 
become more engaged in the Open Access framework 
of content, software and infrastructure (as you 
would know parminder) and it seems a first step 
has to be a mapping of existing initiatives, 
identifying gaps (and i think IGO's is one) and develop an advocacy strategy..

although i can't offer anything much more today, 
i wanted to support your post on the ITU reform 
forum and flag this as a priority..



Article 5-1 - Knowledge Commons Committee

A knowledge commons committee (KCC) is established to promote cooperation and
investment in databases, open access journals and other open knowledge projects
that expand the knowledge commons.

Article 5-2 – Access to Public Funded Research

(a) Members agree that works resulting from government-funded research shall be
publicly available at no charge within a 
reasonable time frame, subject to reasonable
exceptions, for example, for classified military 
research, for patentable discoveries,
and for works that generate revenue for the author such as books.

(b) The KCC shall publish and periodically update 
best practices for providing public
access to government funded research.
The best practices will include such topics as 
support for open access journals, open
access archives/repositories, interoperability, etc.

Article 5-3 – No Copyright of Government Works

Works created by government employees and by contractors conducting essential
public functions shall enter the public domain.

Article 5-4 - Archives of Public Broadcasting

Members that provide free access to archives of 
public broadcasting works to their
own residents agree to extend such access on a reciprocal basis to residents of
other members who offer similar access.

Article 5-5 - Access to Government Information

(a) Members shall facilitate public access to 
information held by public bodies and
private bodies that are conducting public business. This shall include laws and
regulations to provide for legal procedures for 
access to information based on the
principles of openness and transparency.

(b) The right to information shall be guaranteed by law in accordance with the
following principles:

(i) everyone has the right to access information held by public bodies;
(ii) any exemptions to this right shall be set 
down in law, limited in scope, and
proportional to the interest to be protected, and subject to a review of the
public interest.
(iii) any refusal to disclose information shall be subject to review by an
independent body such as an ombudsman and/or a court;
(iv) public bodies shall be required, even in the 
absence of a request, actively
to publish important information of significant public interest;
(v) secrecy laws and other legislation shall be amended as necessary to
comply with freedom of information principles.

Article 5-6 - Knowledge Commons Databases

(a) The KCC shall adopt procedures whereby 
persons, organizations or communities
that seek to establish certain qualifying open 
databases apply for a time limited
period during which no patent applications can be submitted that rely upon the
data from the database. To quality, the databases must address an important
public interest, and be freely available to all.

(b) Members agree that during the time period 
determined in (a), no patents will be
granted for patent applications that contain 
claims to particular uses of the data
obtained from such a qualifying database, unless 
such claims do not restrict, or
are licensed on such terms that that they do not 
restrict, the ability of others to
use the data at no cost.

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