Survey shows text and data mining supported by licensing not copyright exceptions

Survey shows text and data mining supported by licensing not copyright exceptions

The change in copyright legislation to create a new exception for text and data mining has had no discernible effect on the practice, with publishers’ licensing and automated services continuing to be the main mode of access. 

Few text and data mining requests are being made to publishers, and in the case of those that are made, access is granted quickly, according to findings from a new survey led by the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS).

Since policy makers in Europe are considering whether to introduce an exception to copyright to facilitate text and data mining (TDM), PLS, working with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and the Publishers Association (PA) has collected evidence of current activity from publishers.

The survey aimed to identify the number and types of requests publishers are receiving and how they are being dealt with.

The survey received 111 responses from publishers, with respondents ranging from the largest international STM publishers to small UK-based society publishers.

The survey found that the overall number of publishers receiving requests is small, with only 15% of respondents receiving requests in 2014. In addition, the number of requests received was small, with a total of 91 requests to text and data mine content from all respondents in 2014.

As there is no available data on the full scale of text and data mining activity in the research community, it is not possible to determine precisely why the number of requests is so low.  However two reasons can be suggested:

1.    Publishers’ licences with institutional subscriptions increasingly include provision for TDM access; and
2.    The growing use of publisher developed automated services (particularly Cross Ref TDM) allows researchers to access material for TDM with no requirement to make a direct request to publishers.

Feedback from publishers suggests that both of these trends will continue, so it is unlikely that TDM requests will rise significantly in the foreseeable future.

Other key findings of the survey are that:
1.    The UK exception has not led to a significant increase in requests. All respondents said the amendment to UK copyright law, introduced in July 2014, had not led to a rise in requests.
2.    Nearly all requests for access are allowed. Of the 16 publishers who responded, 12 allowed access in 80-100% of instances. A few publishers indicated that in past they were unable to fulfil requests for technical reasons.
3.    Response times have been quick. In all but one case, publishers responded to requests in less than two weeks.

There are three services which aim to make it easier for publishers and researchers to work together on TDM. These are provided by the Publishers Licensing Society, CrossRef  and CCC. Almost all (95%) respondents knew these services were available.

Background information:

Publishers receiving requests
2013    16%    (18)
2014    15%    (17)
2015    14%    (16)

Total number of TDM requests
2013    79
2014    91
2015    84

For more information:
Contact Jonathan Griffin.

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