Editor’s Note: We’ve been (justifiably) beating up on Elsevier and other major publishers for setting up arbitrary barriers to amateurs and other non-academics who want to access scientific literature. While this does not mean the literature has been “liberated” for the likes of us, I am hopeful that it signals a trend toward openness on their part. -SG
Source: Research Remix
Elsevier has agreed that that researchers at the University of British Columbia can text-mine Elsevier content for a wide variety of purposes, including:
- direct analysis for research
- selection of excerpts for citizen science, and
- calculating statistics on the usage of research objects for open dissemination in research tools.
I believe this is an epic win. Â Let me tell you why.
First,Â this agreement is out in the open. Â Publishers have traditionally required that theirÂ contracts with libraries are secret: prices and terms. Â When terms are open it means that other libraries can determine if they are getting a fair deal, researchers can know how publishers are facilitating/inhibiting reuse of their content, and we can all assess if a publisherâ€™s behaviour matches its rhetoric.
Second, these terms are head and shoulders ahead of what standard contracts have allowed. Â Want to know what standard contracts allow? Â NO TEXT MINING AT ALL. Â (excerpts collected in the face of secret agreements). Â In my n=1 sample of negotiating for text-mining rights, the standard text-mining-is-allowed clause suggested by publishers does not allow text mining result data to be disseminated outside the university. Â In contrast, the terms Elsevier is permitting in this agreement allow the sort of broad uses thatÂ are the future of research: combining text-mining with citizen science, using text-mining to power tools for researchers, openÂ disseminationÂ of aggregate results, and the like.
As such, the terms of this agreement should serve as a minimum template for what publishers offer (and subscribers insist upon)Â within standard subscription agreements going forward. Â Libraries, you donâ€™t know when your researchers are going to need this. Â Get it for them now so they have it when they need it â€” negotiating when they need it is a serious delay to research.
Third, Elsevier isÂ not charging UBC any more money for these terms.
Read the full article here.