September 27th, 2013 saw The Perfect Swell at the British Library in London – a LIBER Workshop on the future potential and challenges of Text and Data Mining (TDM).
The Workshop boasted a full house with attendance from a wide number of European stakeholders. They included the EUA (European Universities Association), LERU (League of European Research Universities) and several members of the European Commission.
The Workshop looked at the potential of TDM to support European research and industrial activity/new startup companies. A list of distinguished speakers made a convincing case for TDM. As one speaker said, the Web is useless without it.
Cameron Neylon from PLOS dispelled a number of myths which are often cited as reasons why commercial suppliers cannot support TDM, at least without licensing. If companies are not set up to manage TDM, then are they fit for purpose, he asked?
Ellen Broad from IFLA made a telling intervention which destroyed the idea that individual licensing for TDM was desirable. This idea had been discussed in Australia, but abandoned when the cost of licensing reached the total of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product – several trillion Australia dollars. Lucie Guibault, a legal expert from the University of Amsterdam, made a strong case for EU copyright reform in the Copyright and EU Database Directives.
A panel session at the end of the day enabled the whole audience to discuss the points made during the formal presentations. No-one doubted the importance of the role of TDM for the future of European research and commercial competitiveness. As chair of the panel session, I attempted to summarise the findings of the day around the following points:
- TDM is important for Europe and the European Research Area;
- Copyright reform is required, in both the EU Copyright and Database Directives, to give a level of surety to researchers to enable them to pursue TDM;
- A Fair Dealing Exception for the purposes of research was widely regarded as a helpful way forward;
- Should such an Exception embrace commercial activity too? During the day, startup companies had emphasised the importance of TDM for their competitiveness;
- Copyright reform will take time. What is needed is something more immediate, and the Horizon 2020 funding programme should be used to test what needs to be done in EU copyright legislative reform through innovative, exemplar projects;
- A report of the day, along with a link to the video recordings, will be sent to the Commission: DG Connect, DG Research, DG Education and Culture, and DG Internal Market.
Special thanks should go to Susan Reilly in the LIBER Office for leading on TDM issues, and for organising such an important and high profile Workshop in LIBER’s name.
President of LIBER