“Data mining in UK higher education institutions: law and policy” appears in volume 4, issue 1, of the Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property and is now available online. Written by scholars Andres Guadamuz and Diane Cabell this article covers a range of key topics related to data mining in UK institutions of higher learning. Their discussion includes issues like copyright, database right, licensing, Creative Commons, open access, repositories, and contrasting higher education policies.
In their abstract, the authors define data mining “as the computational analysis of data contained in a text or data set in order to extract new knowledge from it.” They go on to point out that their article will examine the “two main ways in which UK’s higher education institutions (HEIs) are involved with data mining: in the process of conducting research, and as producers of data.” The abstract continues by noting the article will discuss the pressures and limitations placed on both. “As consumers, HEIs may have restrictions on the manner in which they can conduct research given the fact that it is likely that content will be protected by intellectual property rights. As producers, HEIs are faced with increasing pressure to make publicly-funded research available to the public through institutional repositories and other similar open access schemes, but some of these do not set out reuse policies for data.” In discussing possible solutions the authors point to the overriding need for “adequate licensing strategies” which they feel will alleviate many of the problems.
These are complicated legal and policy issues but regardless of your take on them, you will find this comprehensive and detailed discussion well worth the read. Authors Guadamuz and Cabell offer an analysis of the current situation focusing on the issues and challenges surrounding data mining from two perspectives. The concerns of both the researcher using the data and those of the data producer are explained and clarified and possible licensing and policy solutions offered. In short, this article presents a serious discussion of serious issues that librarians, publishers, and scholars will all find of value.