Skip to main content

Access to Knowledge

New research theme on Access to Knowledge

Posted on    by CREATe Team
Access to KnowledgeBlog

New research theme on Access to Knowledge

By 15 February 2024March 22nd, 2024No Comments

For those who grew up in the early internet era, one promise of networking technology was to unlock humanity’s curiosity by connecting us with all the world’s knowledge. In some respects that promise remains unfulfilled. Platforms shape our access to information in opaque ways; not all published research is available to the public; technological protections impede interoperability and innovation; cultural artefacts in the public domain remain inaccessible in digital form. 

Previous work in CREATe focused on identifying and measuring the wealth of expressions in the public domain, and explored how policy could help leverage those resources to benefit society and innovation. And there are many potential benefits, from economic spillovers, to driving creative ecosystems, to promoting community health and wellbeing.

VHS tape

VHS – Original illustration by vanesaurus


A major focus of this theme are privileged uses that would normally benefit from exceptions to copyright. While such exceptions may be defined in the law, often their applicability to specific use cases is unclear, creating hesitancy and limiting full benefits to society. Examples include exceptions for text and data mining, research and education, preservation, and accessibility for persons with a visual impairment. 

Under the leadership of CREATe Head of Knowledge Exchange Bartolomeo Meletti, we are involved in the ongoing upkeep and improvement of our digital resources like and, which are aimed at educating the public and creators about copyright and exceptions. Under the direction of Managing Editor Dr Amy Thomas, we will be expanding the functionality and global coverage of the Copyright Evidence Wiki, our open and data-minable repository of research on the economic and social effects of copyright.

Dr Marta Iljadica is undertaking a Leverhulme Trust research fellowship on Intellectual Property and the Built Environment, focusing on the regulation of the ‘building’: what it is, who owns it, what can be done with it and to what end? It involves, amongst other things, a historical examination of architectural copyright and the contemporary regulation of the built environment in intellectual property and real property law. 

Theme members are conducting and starting research projects that may be of interest to external collaborators. We welcome your input or interest on any of the following:  

With funding from Knowledge Rights 21, Prof Kris Erickson is leading a project to investigate the interaction between technological protection measures and exceptions to copyright that would normally permit uses such as research and preservation. The project consists of a doctrinal analysis of TPMs under the law, led by Anthony Rosborough with contributions from Dr Ula Furgal and CREATe fellow Dr Marcella Favale; a survey of research institutions and libraries conducted by Prof Kris Erickson and Dr Victoria Stobo, and a quantitative study of TPMs and video game emulation led by Kris along with CREATe data scientist Felix Rodriguez Perez.

Bartolomeo Meletti is spearheading a new empirical research project in collaboration with Creative Commons to examine open licensing business models in the GLAM Sector. Building on his previous work on Codes of Re-use, Bart is also planning to produce similar codes around the computational use and analysis of audiovisual heritage for non-commercial research.

CREATe PGR Gabriele Cifrodelli is investigating negative spaces of patent protection in the synthetic biology field. By shifting the focus of ‘negative spaces’ from the classic copyright perspective to the patent realm, this project will investigate aspects of the synthetic biology field that use open commons-based approaches. In particular, it explores commonalities between attitudes towards IP in synthetic biology and its origins in the open software movement.

Dr Stefan Luca is interested in how platform architectures and policies shape the circulation of knowledge. For instance, his research on news content and publishers’ protections in the EMFA and Online Safety Act examines the way content moderation systems can balance between ensuring a trustworthy and agreeable online experience while accommodating news reporting and scientific debate. He is further interested in how users gather and scrutinise knowledge from across platforms, either through multi-homing or relying on dedicated aggregation or mash-up tools, which may in turn require a certain level of interoperability.

To get in touch with us about the Access to Knowledge theme at CREATe, or any of the projects discussed above, please email theme co-lead Kris Erickson, or any of the individual research project leads. We look forward to hearing from you.