We live in an age of possibility, often referred to as the era of Big Data. An astonishing 90% of data has been produced in the past two years and over 50 million scholarly articles currently exist. These academic papers alone are treasure troves of content, offering unprecedented opportunity for people to learn, discover and become more knowledgeable.
The travesty is that much of this information goes unused. In the academic field alone, 90% of scholarly publications are never cited and most will only be read by the author, peer reviewers and editors.
You would be forgiven for thinking that maybe no-one wants to access these publications. Not so. The problem is that most are cordoned off by complex copyright laws and licenses. Researchers have no reasonable way of applying the technology and techniques (primarily Text and Data Mining, or computer-enabled reading), which would allow them to evaluate vast swathes of data in a reasonable amount of time.
Copyright reform is currently taking place at EU level. Sign the Hague Declaration and let policy shapers know that there is huge appetite for change. If we don’t make our views known now, we may cut ourselves off from access to knowledge in the future.One-to-one licences must be negotiated directly with publishers, and even click-through licences are neither scalable nor interoperable. Tough luck if, by the time you negotiate them, your project has ended or funding run out.
How Can We Change This?
Enter The Hague Declaration. Open to everyone, it calls for better access to facts, data and ideas – primarily through a mandatory copyright exception for Text and Data Mining, for commercial and non-commercial purposes.LIBER is one of the founding signatories to the Declaration. We urge you as an individual and your organisation to join our call. Here’s why:
- Copyright law was designed in the age of the printing press, and no longer fits the digital age. We need intellectual property laws which allow us to read not only with the human eye but with the eyes of computers. This is the only way in which we can reasonably extract basic, non-copyrightable information such as facts, data and ideas from large collections of content, to which we already have legal access. If we can read it, we should be able to mine it.
- Better access to content would have untold benefits for society. TDM has already has been successfully used for a diverse range of research needs: to help identify new treatments for diseases, to increase government transparency, to identify cultural trends and to make businesses more efficient, thereby improving the economy and wealth creation – to name a few of its possible uses.
- Copyright reform is currently taking place. Now is our chance for change. Europe’s politicians are debating how copyright should change. Key decisions will be made in early 2016. By signing the Declaration, we can clearly show there is appetite for change. If we fail to make our views known, we will disenfranchise ourselves from access to knowledge in the future.
To be clear, our Declaration is calling for better access to content which researchers already have permission to read manually. Plagiarism is still unacceptable, as is mining sensitive information.
So sign The Hague Declaration today, and provide our politicians with the evidence that they need to bring about change. This matters to everyone who wants better access to information and cares about addressing society’s grand challenges, no matter if you are a researcher, SME, a government or a citizen scientist.