In 2015 LIBER (The European body for Research Libraries) collected a number of leading figures in the Library and Scholarship world to create the Hague Declaration on freedom for Text and Data Mining. This stated not only the aspirations but also the reasons for demanding freedom, and I reproduce chunk of it here for CopyCamp2017 to consider.
The Hague Declaration aims to foster agreement about how to best enable access to facts, data and ideas for knowledge discovery in the Digital Age. By removing barriers to accessing and analysing the wealth of data produced by society, we can find answers to great challenges such as climate change, depleting natural resources and globalisation.
PMR: note that this is about why it’s so important – the answers to the health of the planet and the beings on it may be hidden in the scientific literature and Mining can pull this out.
New technologies are revolutionising the way humans can learn about the world and about themselves. These technologies are not only a means of dealing with Big Data1, they are also a key to knowledge discovery in the digital age; and their power is predicated on the increasing availability of data itself. Factors such as increasing computing power, the growth of the web, and governmental commitment to open access2 to publicly-funded research are serving to increase the availability of facts, data and ideas.
However, current legislative frameworks in different legal jurisdictions may not be cast in a way which supports the introduction of new approaches to undertaking research, in particular content mining. Content mining is the process of deriving information from machine-readable material. It works by copying large quantities of material, extracting the data, and recombining it to identify patterns and trends.
At the same time, intellectual property laws from a time well before the advent of the web limit the power of digital content analysis techniques such as text and data mining (for text and data) or content mining (for computer analysis of content in all formats)3. These factors are also creating inequalities in access to knowledge discovery in the digital age. The legislation in question might be copyright law, law governing patents or database laws – all of which may restrict the ability of the user to perform detailed content analysis.
Researchers should have the freedom to analyse and pursue intellectual curiosity without fear of monitoring or repercussions. These freedoms must not be eroded in the digital environment. Likewise, ethics around the use of data and content mining continue to evolve in response to changing technology.
Computer analysis of content in all formats, that is content mining, enables access to undiscovered public knowledge and provides important insights across every aspect of our economic, social and cultural life. Content mining will also have a profound impact for understanding society and societal movements (for example, predicting political uprisings, analysing demographical changes). Use of such techniques has the potential to revolutionise the way research is performed – both academic and commercial.
PMR: This shows clearly the potential of ContentMining and the friction that the current legal system (mainly copyright) places on it, by default.
And a non-exhaustive list of benefits:
BENEFITS OF CONTENT MINING
The potential benefits of content mining are vast and include:
Addressing grand challenges such as climate change and global epidemics
Improving population health, wealth and development
Creating new jobs and employment
Exponentially increasing the speed and progress of science through new insights and greater efficiency of research
Increasing transparency of governments and their actions
Fostering innovation and collaboration and boosting the impact of open science
Creating tools for education and research
Providing new and richer cultural insights
Speeding economic and social development in all parts of the globe
So what should be done? I’ll leave that to the next post.