[Taxacom] IPBES: a new challenge (not for cynics)

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Tue Jan 11 10:42:32 CST 2011

This is much a sociopolitical problem, on which we currently have 
only little influence. What we can certainly do, is to try to 
increase our influence a little on the legal preconditions of access 
to scientific information.

It is certainly easier to justify a release of copyright protections 
for scientific publications of the 1960s and 1970s, because nobody 
needs to make money with this information any more.

I see way less chances in getting all scientists (much less 
politicians connected with/under pressure of commercial business) 
convinced that copyright protections for currently published works 
should be omitted, ignored or modified. 

As a taxonomist I experience every day that it is easier to work with
literature of the 1860s than of the 1960s. If I am asked why so many
species are not accurately known yet and why there are no solid
compilations of species lists, an important part of the answer is
"because it takes so long to compile all this information from 
literature sources published in the past decades". Restricted 
literature access in the 1960s-1990s period is definitely an obstacle 
for my work.

And the only reason for that is a legal restriction, not a technical 
or funding problem for the digitisation of the involved literature 

Literature after 2000 is currently easier accessible because I 
usually get PDFs of the papers I am interested in. 


University of Goettingen, Germany

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