Working towards an open science environment with optimal opportunities for reuse of research data can be perceived as contradictory to the adequate safeguarding of intellectual property rights (IPR) for companies that invest in public-private partnership projects and researchers who want to use their own results. This is a fallacy, because rules and legislation to protect the IPR of private parties will continue to exist in the future. In fact, project partners will be stimulated to think about their data policy. Opt-outs and careful examination by partners of what to share and what not to share within projects will ensure that private parties will still be able to profit from their investments, and researchers will still be able to use their own results. Public-private and public-public cooperation can be hindered by a lack of clarity about this issue during the transition.
The re-use of personal data for scientific purposes also needs some further thinking. A deeper insight in the tension between privacy and open science is needed.
Clarify IPR regimes to all parties involved in public-private partnership projects and potential new parties who are not aware of the possibilities.
Set rules and conditions for public funding of research in which open (data) is the default standard.
Implement 'privacy by design' to overcome legal and operational uncertainty.
- Research funders and the European Commission: set open data as the default standard for publicly funded research and communicate clearly that this does not equate to relinquishing intellectual property in public-private and public-public partnerships.
- Research Performing Organisations and private partners: think actively about what to share and what not to share and avoid automatically choosing the safest option (i.e., not sharing).
- Research funders and Research Performing Organisations: develop and set standards on privacy by design also in negotiations with other partners on reuse of data.
Expected positive effects
- Continuous engagement of private parties in public-private partnership projects;
- New solutions, products and services, to be developed by actors who do not currently have access to the data they need, or even do not know that the data exists and can be useful for their business;
- Privacy-enhancing conduct in research projects, thus safeguarding trust.