I have sent the following letter to my MP:
LEGISLATION on EXCEPTIONS TO COPYRIGHT and PUBLISHER CLICK-THROUGH
Please copy this letter to David Willetts.
I know you have been championing the Hargreaves reforms and note David
Willetts’ statement  and comments from JISC . I am concerned by
the JISC report last week  that the legislative process was delayed
again. I hope you can reassure me that this is days, not months.
I am very concerned by recent activity from major scholarly publishers
the effect of which may be to nullify much of the legislative benefits.
Elsevier have recently provided a “click-through” licence for
researchers which gives “permission” to carry out content mining if
their Universities have signed a general agreement. I have done a
personal analysis [4,5,6] of this “licence” (with which my commenters,
including Charles Oppenheim, agree) and find it to be even more
restrictive than the current practice. In effect Elsevier is the sole
arbiter of what is allowable (e.g. licencees are forbidden to do
anything which competes with Elsevier’s data products). There are
indications that other publishers will do similarly, perhaps through a
generic site such as Crossref. Since a major part of Hargreaves is to
create a new wealth creating data industry this will be stifling.
I am also concerned as to whether University libraries will fail to
adopt the Hargreaves opportunity and instead continue to accept
publisher licences. I have written to several Russell group
Universities under FOI. The complete replies are not yet in but none
have formally prepared for Hargreaves. All currently sign restrictive
contracts and, for example, the University of Cambridge has had half
its requests for content-mining refused by publishers.
Assuming you can push through the legislation my suggestion would be to
empower HEFCE, through JISC, to contact all UK universities and make
clear that they should not sign restrictive contracts, not allow
click-through contracts, and prepare the ground for widespread content
mining through Hargreaves. Since some publishers might challenge what
will be legal activity I hope you can support researchers (like me) to
assert our legal rights.
For note: I have been funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation to develop
an open platform and community for mining scientific papers in detail
and I would be very interested to discuss your personal requirements
(e.g. we could have a daily alert of every DNA quadruplex with
molecular mass, ions, sequences, etc.)
With best wishes,