Copyright laws ‘mean EU risks falling behind on data mining research’

Scholars in countries with a permissive approach are three times more likely to use the technique

September 8, 2015
'Copyright' padlock around book

Academics in countries adopting a permissive attitude under copyright law to data mining are three times more likely to publish research based on the technique than colleagues in countries with a more restrictive approach.

That is according to a study, presented at the annual conference of the European Policy for Intellectual Property association, which has prompted warnings that academics in several leading European Union countries risk falling behind in a key area of growth for the social sciences.

Authors Christian Handke, of Erasmus University Rotterdam, Lucie Guibault, of the University of Amsterdam, and Joan-Josep Vallbé, of the University of Barcelona, used Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science database to calculate that 18,441 articles were published worldwide using, or on the subject of, data mining between 1993 and 2014.

In countries that make exceptions from copyright law for researchers undertaking data mining of journal articles or other datasets, such as the United States, Singapore and Taiwan, data mining articles still accounted for only 0.2 per cent of the total number of articles published. 

But this was triple the proportion of articles published based on data mining in countries that do not make copyright exceptions for academic research, including many EU nations such as Germany, France and the Netherlands.

The conference, held at the University of Glasgow on 2 and 3 September, heard that the proportion of articles based on data mining was also comparatively high in countries that do not make copyright exceptions but that are also perceived to be unlikely to enforce infringements, such as Portugal, Greece and Spain.

Dr Handke, an assistant professor of cultural economics, said that a number of additional countries had adopted more permissive copyright rules covering data mining over the course of the study period. These include the UK, China, South Korea and Canada.

He said that data mining “makes information available in areas that simply couldn’t be researched for decades”.

“We are pushing boundaries of what is possible in research and European researchers are not participating as much as they have in other kinds of research,” Dr Handke said. “They are falling behind in what is one of the biggest growth fields in the social sciences.”

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

POSTSCRIPT:

Print headline: Europe ‘at risk of falling behind on data mining’

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford will host a homeopathy conference next month

Charity says Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford is ‘naive’ to hire out its premises for event

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham