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UVA-DARE: 2.3 million downloads in 2015

Interview with front runners Natali Helberger and Lucie Guibault

9 March 2016

Worldwide, there were 2.3 million downloads from UvA-DARE in 2015. UvA-DARE is the repository of UvA publications, as well as a place to publish them. Heading the top ten is the report by UvA researchers Helberger and Guibault et al.: ‘User-created content: supporting a participative information society', way ahead with a unique score of 17,482 downloads. How did they do it? Hanneke van der Veen (DARE manager for the Library) visited the authors to ask them.

Natali Helberger

Natali Helberger

Natali Helberger and Lucie Guibault are pleasantly surprised to hear that eight years after its publication the report still attracts so much attention via DARE.


What is your explanation for this first place in the download top 10?

L: In May 2015, the Committee on Legal Affairs, chaired by Julia Reda, published a report on revising copyright. I think that in preparing their report, ours was frequently consulted during the first three months of 2015. 
N: The last few years we have seen a growing interest in the user, also in academe. For a long time, that role has been neglected. Because of the rise of new technologies, the user is becoming more and more important, and so there is also an increasing awareness of the legal aspects of the active user. So our report is trending topic right now.

Lucie Guibault

Lucie Guibault

What are the main conclusions of the report?

N: Companies are well covered by law, at the expense of the individual as ‘creator’ / ‘prosumer’ / ‘communicator’. Many legal stipulations could also be applied to individuals, but not all of them; the latter assume that the individual can do things which are not possible because they either do not have the knowledge or the opportunities. To give an example, the law on data protection assumes that the individual user has an extensive knowledge both of this law and of the technical protection of data. Briefly, these regulations are written for companies, not for individuals. Often those people don’t even know that some regulations apply. 
L: The same goes for the media: some rules are imposed on newspapers and other media, and they are difficult to apply to individual users. 
N: One conclusion from the chapter on copyright is that in many cases it is difficult for individuals to re-use content. The reason for this is that they simply do not get the right to do so or because they do not know where to ask for it. The whole infrastructure is not keyed to individuals. The same goes for media law. Users on YouTube must satisfy the legal stipulation on diversity; they must also take care that their videos satisfy specific rules regarding children and minors. For individual users, it is difficult to know what these regulations imply. Other regulations are quite reasonable, I think, for example if I put pictures of my friends on Facebook without asking their permission, this violates the right to data protection and netiquette. These are the kind of questions we have dealt with extensively in the report.

What are your experiences with DARE and what suggestions would you have?

N: DARE and open access are important. You can see that funders increasingly stipulate open access. ERC now also obliges me to publish in open access. On the one hand, this is a good thing, but on the other it also creates a problem for researchers, because many high-ranking journals are not open access.
As a visitor of DARE, I would like to know how often something has been downloaded. Regarding the discussion on recognising the impact of research, it would also be useful to know the download figures: impact is important.
L: DARE is the ‘green road’. You publish in high-ranking journals and then in DARE. That is a great opportunity. In my work, I am much concerned about open access. I like to put documents in open access in DARE, but I am not going to use it as a source. This maybe wrong, but it is not high on my list of sources that I first turn to, if I am doing research. It would be nice if DARE could be arranged thematically.

Published by  Library UvA