In their report on Text and Data Mining (TDM) for Research, commissioned by the European Commission, the independent expert group on TDM call for Europe to reform its legal framework in regards to copyright and database rights in order to ensure the international competitiveness of Europe’s research base.
LIBER agrees with the conclusions of the report which are that:
- Text and data mining is an important research technique which is certain to become more important as researchers acquire the skills and the technology to address and investigate datasets of increasing size, complexity and diversity in all media: text, numbers, images, audio files and in any other form.
- TDM represents a significant economic opportunity for Europe. Prolific use of TDM would add tens of billions of Euros in value to the EU’s aggregate GDP. This would result chiefly from higher productivity among researchers and from the effects (‘externalities’) of increased levels of research.
- At present, the use of TDM tools by researchers in Europe appears to be lower, and probably significantly lower, than is the case in the United States and some other countries in the Americas and Asia. This reflects, among other factors, disadvantages created by the European legal framework with regard to TDM.
- The European legislator needs to re-consider and reform the EU’s legal framework with regard to copyright, database protection and possibly data privacy, in order to support the international competitiveness of Europe’s research base.
- There is a serious risk that Europe’s relative competitive position as a research location for the exploitation of ‘Big Data’ will deteriorate further, if steps are not taken to address the issues discussed in this report. The results of this might well include a loss of talent and a loss of investment to more favourable research locations.
The report finds that licencing does not meet the needs of the digital age researcher and that Europe needs a new legal framework in order to make TDM sufficiently available. Such a framework could incorporate either a specific exception to copyright and database law or a broader change in the form of an open norm or an interpretive instrument, for example.
The report also finds that, in the case of the introduction of an exception for TDM, “ it does not make sense from a strictly economic point of view to distinguish between the commercial and the non-commercial. The welfare effects of more highly productive research do not recognise the distinction.”