Welcome from the President of LIBER
It is my great pleasure to welcome all Conference guests to the 44th LIBER Annual Conference in London in 2015. I trust that your time in London will be inspiring, informative and enjoyable. I would like to encourage you to network with your European colleagues!
LIBER Activities 2014–15: Advocacy, New Projects, New Staff
The past year has been a year of advocacy and raising awareness, launching new projects which support the implementation of LIBER’s strategy, and a year of changes in personnel. The European Commission conducted a public consultation on Science 2.0 during autumn 2014. The consultation was aimed at better understanding of the potential impact of Science 2.0 and the desirability of policy action advocacy. Altogether, 498 responses to the online questionnaire were received. LIBER responded to the consultation and also published a statement promoting the importance of Science 2.0, or Open Science as it is now called. In addition, the Commission held four stakeholders’ workshops where LIBER was invited to participate.
Open Science is the bigger picture above our efforts to foster text and data mining for all purposes. Under the LIBER Steering Committee for Advocacy and Communication, a new Working Group on Copyright has been formed to support LIBER’s preparations in regard to copyright reform. This Working Group consists of lawyers from various LIBER organisations and individuals with expert knowledge of copyright. The Working Group has been invaluable in supporting LIBER’s advocacy work at the European Commission and Parliament and to LIBER libraries. Two factsheets on ‘Key Messages on Text and Data Mining’ and on ‘Copyright’ support LIBER libraries in their own advocacy work.
LIBER has also been advocating for EU-funded projects in the fields of Open Access, Research Data Management and Text and Data Mining. We have been very successful with project bids; and it is worth mentioning that we are partners in the two biggest infrastructure projects funded by the EC, namely EUDAT and OpenAire. LIBER’s usual contribution to projects is coordination of consortia, communication and policy-related issues and, for the OpenAire project, LIBER coordinates the work package on Gold Open Access payments.
The number of LIBER Libraries has remained stable over recent years. In February 2015 LIBER had 407 Participants. There have been several changes in personnel during the past year. Dr Paul Ayris’s distinguished term as President of LIBER was completed, and mine began, at the Annual Conference in Riga in 2014. Paul Ayris continues to serve LIBER as an Adviser to the Board on EU matters and Horizon 2020.
Dr Izaskun Lacunza was Executive Director of LIBER for the period 2012–14. After a laudable two years in post, she returned to take up a position in her homeland Spain. Ms Susan Reilly was appointed Executive Director in December 2014. Ms Melanie Imming was appointed to the post of Projects Manager in March 2015. A new position of Office Manager has been established in the LIBER Office, and Ms Suzanne Reid took up this post in May 2015.
The Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery
LIBER has been advocating for a modern fit-for-purpose European copyright system that recognises the needs of research and development, education and scholarship. As part of this effort, preparations were made to draw up a Text and Data Mining (TDM) Declaration. Twenty-five global experts from many different areas of specialisation – researchers, publishers, lawyers, lecturers — gathered in The Hague on 9 and10 December 2014 to write The Hague Declaration. Their belief is that this Declaration will help shape ethical research practice, legislative reform and the development of open access policies and infrastructure. The Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age (http://thehaguedeclaration.com) was launched in Brussels on 6 May 2015.
The Hague Declaration aims to foster agreement on how best to enable access to facts, data and ideas for knowledge discovery in the Digital Age. By removing barriers to accessing and analysing the wealth of data produced by society, we can find answers to major challenges such as climate change, depleting natural resources and globalisation. On the day of the launch, ca 50 organisations had signed the Declaration. The number of organisations and individuals signing has been growing every day showing that research organisations, research funding organisations, researchers, industry and many others stakeholders fully recognize the Declaration’s importance.
The Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe was also launched on 6 May 2015. The Strategy gives a positive signal for the legislative reform needed, stating: ‘Innovation in research for both non-commercial and commercial purposes, based on the use of text and data mining (e.g. copying of text and datasets in search of significant correlations or occurrences) may be hampered because of an unclear legal framework and divergent approaches at national level. The need for greater legal certainty to enable researchers and educational institutions to make wider use of copyright-protected material, including across borders, so that they can benefit from the potential of these technologies and from cross-border collaboration will be assessed, as with all parts of the copyright proposals in the light of its impact on all interested parties. The Commission will make legislative proposals before the end of 2015 to reduce the differences between national copyright regimes and allow for wider online access to works by users across the EU, including through further harmonisation measures’.
Strategic Directions and Vision 2027
The LIBER Executive Board has decided to extend the period of the current LIBER Strategy by two years to 2017 and to update it by the introduction of four high-level strategic directions. These strategic directions are focused on LIBER Participants (i.e. members) and will enable LIBER libraries to evaluate how LIBER and the LIBER network are supporting them in working towards each of the strategic directions. The four directions are:
- Developing Leadership in Changing Times
- Supporting the Case for Research Libraries
- Enabling Open Science
- Fostering New Models for Libraries
The proposal for Strategic Directions has been circulated to LIBER participants in advance of the 2015 LIBER Annual Conference; and during the Annual Conference in London, a ‘Strategy Pub’ has been arranged to provide LIBER participants with an opportunity to validate the Strategic Directions.
A panel session involving international panellists from organisations strategically aligned with LIBER has also been organised at the 2015 LIBER Annual Conference in order to begin the process of developing LIBER’s next five year Strategy (2018–22).
Participation in EU projects is one way to implement LIBER’s Strategy. EU Projects are significant for LIBER libraries and for LIBER as a Foundation. For libraries, they have meant collaborating at a European level, and developing new services and expertise. They have also brought LIBER more visibility and a new income stream, and new staff to manage the projects. In the future, we will aim to find ways of involving even more of our libraries in projects to enable them to network and develop new services. Currently, LIBER participates in six projects: EUDAT, Europeana Cloud, FOSTER, OpenAIRE, PASTEUR4OA and ReCODE; and is awaiting final approval from the EC for one or two more.
Partnership and Sponsorship
LIBER works closely with a number of library and higher education organisations in and around Europe. LIBER has signed memoranda of understanding with CENL, CERL, COAR, EBLIDA, EIFL, EUDAT, IFLA and SPARC Europe. Those with EUDAT and IFLA are the most recent. In addition, LIBER has excellent relationships with many key players in the library community. LIBER Annual Conferences provide an opportunity for LIBER sponsors to meet with LIBER libraries and to discuss current trends in research libraries. LIBER’s sponsors for the Annual Conference in London are beslist.nl, Springer, ExLibris, EBSCO, ProQuest, TIND.
Welcome to London
I wish to thank the local organisers of the 2015 LIBER Annual Conference, Senate House Library, Imperial College London, LSE Library and UCL Library Services and their staffs for their hard work in offering an inspiring environment for the LIBER Annual Conference. I also wish to express my thanks to the LIBER Conference Programme Committee, the LIBER Executive Board and the LIBER Office. The Annual Conference is the outcome of collaboration among many groups.
I wish everyone attending the Annual Conference a stimulating and enjoyable conference!
President of LIBER