Author : Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay
Text and Data Mining, the automatic processing of large amounts of scientific articles and datasets, is an essential practice for contemporary researchers. Some publishers are challenging it as a lawful activity and the topic is being discussed during European copyright law reform process.
In order to better understand the underlying debate and contribute to the policy discussion, this article first examines the legal status of data access and reuse and licensing policies. It then presents available options supporting the exercise of Text and Data Mining: publication under open licenses, open access legislations and a recognition of the legitimacy of the activity.
For that purpose, the paper analyses the scientific rational for sharing and its legal and technical challenges and opportunities. In particular, it surveys existing open access and open data legislations and discusses implementation in European and Latin America jurisdictions.
Framing Text and Data mining as an exception to copyright could be problematic as it de facto denies that this activity is part of a positive right to read and should not require additional permission nor licensing.
It is crucial in licenses and legislations to provide a correct definition of what is Open Access, and to address the question of pre-existing copyright agreements. Also, providing implementation means and technical support is key. Otherwise, legislations could remain declarations of good principles if repositories are acting as empty shells.