Message from Mr Peter Sidorko, University Librarian
21 March 2017

Dear Alumni and Colleagues,

Further to my email to you dated 17 March, 2017, I am writing to provide further updates in respect of this matter.

Firstly, I would like to make it abundantly clear and state that access to the HKU Scholars Hub theses and the permission to download them have always been intended for non-commercial purposes. This is one of HKU's key knowledge exchange initiatives.

You may be aware that a publisher has made public announcements contesting, among others, the right of commercial use. Given the issues raised, in particular the Creative Commons licensing, my team is reviewing the details. I have also written to the publisher, informing them that the University has instructed a law firm to provide advice and to further discuss how we can reach a resolution with them.

There are various and complicated legal, technical, and data access issues which need to be clarified with the publisher. Again, I must state that the access to and downloading of the Scholars Hub theses are intended for non-commercial purposes only, and these statements are shown on the acknowledgement and acceptance screens for off campus downloads.

Acceptance screen (Period: between 2001 and 14 December, 2016)

Acceptance screen (Period: from 14 December, 2016)

The law firm engaged by the University is reviewing the matter and will contact the publisher to ensure that misunderstandings can be clarified and any issues can be resolved as soon as possible. The proprietary rights of the theses authors must be protected.

In the meantime, we are advised that the publisher is removing all the theses from sale.

My team is working on completing a dedicated website on common enquiries about the Scholars Hub and issues related to this matter.

We will keep you posted on developments as they occur.

Yours sincerely

Peter Sidorko
University Librarian