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16 January 2023

Amendment of Act No 130/2002 Sb., on the support of research, experimental development, and innovation from public resources

Act No. 241/2022 Sb. was passed which amends, in addition to other laws, Act No. 130/2002 Sb., regulating the support of research, experimental development, and innovation from public resources.  The amendment is to implement into Czech law Directive (EU) 2019/1024 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on open data and the re-use of public sector information.  

This is to provide a summary of changes. 

Definition of research data for the purposes of the Act

Section 2(2)(o): 

Under the amended Act and for the purposes of providing support, the term ‘research data’ means information in a digital form, other than scientific publications, which is collected or produced in the course of scientific research or development activities and is used as evidence in the research or development process or is commonly accepted in the research community as necessary to validate research or development findings and results. 

The Contract to provide support of a respective project must now include the following information:

1. The mode of research data management

In compliance with Section 9(1)(l):

This provision imposes a duty to include a clause in the Contract providing support that would regulate the mode of research data management by a respective beneficiary. As mentioned in the Explanatory Memorandum regarding the Amendment, the data management plan is a basic pre-condition for efficient handling of research data in the course of the scientific project. The Act does not prescribe how research data records should be managed; this is to be governed by the respective Contract to provide support in consideration of a concrete project and the branch of science. 

2. Information on accessibility and modes of dissemination of research results and research data

Under Section 9(1)(m): 

This provision imposes a duty to include in the Contract information on accessibility and the modes of dissemination of research results and research data providing they have been created with the support of public funds under the Act herein, in compliance with the principle that the research results and research data are not published exclusively in reasoned cases. The Amendment works with the well-known principle regarding the accessibility of research data: as open as possible, as closed as necessary..

Providing information

Under Section 12(1) and (3):

The new wording of Section 12 focuses on the publishing of information on ongoing research via the information system.

Subsection (1) now imposes a duty to publish research data information (i.e., their metadata, not the data themselves) in the information system IS VaVaI.

New Subsection (3) specifies exceptions as to when it is permissible not to publish respective metadata. These are cases when the publication of metadata would cause unreasonable interference with the right to the protection of intellectual property, trade secret, national security, or legitimate commercial interests of the recipient or a third party. The recipient has a duty to review imposed on them at least once a year for the period of five years after the termination of the provision of support, whether reasons for non-publication continue to exist. Should the reasons cease to exist the recipient is to publish the respective metadata via IS VaVaI.

Access to research data

Section 12a:

New Section 12a imposes a duty upon recipients to provide research data free of charge upon request. The duty covers all research data in compliance with the above definition (irrespective of whether the data has been used in a publication or not) “that are not subject to protection by laws governing the protection of results of authorial, inventive, and similar creative activities, or that are covered only by a special right of the database producer in compliance with another legal regulation (the Copyright Act) for the application of which the recipient is responsible.” The duty applies to research data produced or used within research and development and supported under the Act that were covered from public funds, and at least 12 months have elapsed from the termination of support provision.  

Subsections (2) and (3) specify exceptions when it is permissible to refuse to provide research data. These are situations when “[an] unreasonable intrusion into the right to protection of privacy and personal data, trade secret, national security, and other legitimate interests of the recipient” is present. The recipient may refuse to provide research data in case the project has not been fully financed from public funds.  

Under the Amendment, research data should be provided in the most open form possible, so that their further use could be as easy as practicable; this means that the data should be supplied along with its metadata in a machine readable format. Subsection (4) specifies that research data and respective information should be provided “in an open and machine readable format and under conditions that are objective, proportionate, non-exclusive, non-discriminatory, and do not restrict the manner and purpose of subsequent use of the research data provided”.  

Where research data have been published in a format allowing for distance access (e.g., via a data repository) the request may be disposed of by reference/link to the respective place where the data has already been published.

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