Text and data mining

Text and data mining is the electronic analysis of large amounts of content which allows researchers to discover trends, patterns and other useful information that cannot be detected through usual ‘human’ reading.

In order to allow the electronic analysis of content, text and data mining often involves making copies of large amounts of copyright material. In order to ensure that this activity is allowed within UK copyright law a statutory exception was introduced in 2014 that allows for this.

The law allows for individuals to make copies of copyright work for the purpose of carrying out computational analysis of the contents in conjunction with the following conditions:

  1. The computational analysis must be for non-commercial research purpose
  2. The copy is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement (unless this is practically impossibly)
  3. The copies made must not be transferred to another, or used for an alternative purpose.

Furthermore, the law states that the provisions covered by the exception cannot be overturned by contract. Contractual terms that try to limit text and data mining are unenforceable.

This exception covers text and data mining of all categories of copyright works.

What does this mean for you?

If you have access to copyright material e.g. the university has a licence or subscription to the material, you can take a copy of the material in order to perform text or data mining. Provided this is for a non-commercial use.

If you need to make a copy of a large number of items from a single source, there may be some further considerations:

  • If bulk downloading is not automatically available and the body of work is too large to download individually, you may wish to speak to the supplier to negotiate access to the material.
  • If the desired material forms a large collection that has taken time, money and energy to set up and maintain, it may be covered by database rights and therefore require permission from the rights holder.



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Some information taken from:

Copyright User (2015) Text and Data Mining. Licenced under a Creative Commons Licence CC BY 3.0



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