[Open-access] WHO's new vision

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Thu Jan 30 22:38:12 UTC 2014

I share your concerns. The WHO is an international organization and I
believe traditional copyright does not apply. However here is its own


The information in the various pages of the WHO web site is issued by the
World Health Organization for general distribution. The information
presented is protected under the Berne Convention for the Protection of
Literature and Artistic works, under other international conventions and
under national laws on copyright and neighbouring rights. Extracts of the
information in the web site may be reviewed, reproduced or translated for
research or private study but not for sale or for use in conjunction with
commercial purposes.

Any use of information in the web site should be accompanied by an
acknowledgment of WHO as the source, citing the uniform resource locator
(URL) of the article. Reproduction or translation of substantial portions
of the web site, or any use other than for educational or other
non-commercial purposes, require explicit, prior authorization in writing.
Applications and enquiries should be addressed to the programme responsible
for the page used.

My hope is that with constant pressure WHO will come to see the value of an
explicitly more liberal statement.

On Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 10:29 PM, Tom Olijhoek <tom.olijhoek at gmail.com>wrote:

> WHO has a new vision for information sharing
> http://www.who.int/about/who_reform/change_at_who/issue4/information-sharing/en/index.html#.UuVWA8pwYm-
> *A new policy on open access will be announced in January 2014 and come
> into force in July 2014. The policy will apply to all WHO-authored or
> WHO-funded research published in non-WHO publications, such as external
> journals and books.*
> *The Institutional Repository for Information Sharing (IRIS), created in
> 2012, enables more people to access WHO's information products. IRIS is the
> multilingual digital library of WHO, providing free access to the full text
> of WHO information products in the six official languages.*
> And this is exactly what the repository does, providing access. Searching
> the IRIS I noticed for all publications the exclusive copyright notice.
> This means that in principle WHO is NOT offering open access in the sense
> that we understand it. The material can in principle just be read. For me
> this reflects the difficulty with many repositories, that it is perfectly
> unclear on the subject of re-use. Imagine that I want to select a subset
> of publications from the WHO repository for use in another location, it is
> not allowed.  if you are not allowed re-use the information is almost
> useless The repository structure promotes fragmentation.The fact that the
> information you want is sitting in multiple locations in 'ópen access'
> repositories makes it more difficult to find ,and nothing can be done since
> aggregating is also re-use.  If we were allowed to duplicate the
> publications that we need then we could build topical databases that would
> simplify access. As long as repositories are not open access in the sense
> of the Berlin declaration they will not be as useful as they could be.    I
> am utterly amazed that an organization as big as the WHO offers read-only
> open access as their new vision of information sharing.
> I would really be interested to know the vision of other following this
> list concerning this topic
> . and
> --
> Tom Olijhoek
> Codex Consult
> www.codexconsult.eu
> coordinator @ccess open access working group  at OKF
> DOAJ  member of Advisory Board
> freelance advisor for the WorldBank Publishing Group
> TEL +(31)645540804
> SKYPE tom.olijhoek
> Twitter   @ccess
> LinkedIn  http://nl.linkedin.com/in/tomolijhoek/
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Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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