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European organisations ask Elsevier to change TDM policy

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Eighteen European research and library organisations are calling on Elsevier to withdraw its current policy on text and data mining (TDM). In an open letter to Michiel Kolman, senior VP global academic relations at Elsevier, the organisations say that they believe Elsevier’s current TDM policy places unnecessary restrictions on researchers.

LIBER, which is one of the 18 organisations, noted that the UK has already legislated to remove licensing restrictions on TDM and said the organisations hope to see publishers supporting a similar move elsewhere in Europe.

The letter describes some of the ways in which the organisations see Elsevier's policy restricting researchers’ abilities to perform TDM. These include requiring researchers to register their details and agreeing to a click-through licence that can change at any time. The mandating of conditions by which research outputs derived from TDM can be disseminated is also seen as unfair. The letter suggests some alternative approaches to address the issues it raises. 

According to LIBER, 'This letter is part of LIBER’s larger campaign for a European copyright exception for TDM. We believe that the right to read is the right to mine.'

In a response posted on LIBER's website Gemma Hersh of Elsevier said: ' Our policy enables researchers to text and data mine content to which their institution has legal access, whether via a license or an exception, for non-commercial research purposes. We also provide infrastructure to support text mining in a way that works both for prospective miners and for those reading content on our platforms. We welcome feedback from the community and consistently revisit our policies to ensure they are fit for purpose as TDM is continually evolving.'