[EIFLoa] News release: Text mining promises huge economic and research benefit, but copyright law and other barriers are limiting its use, says JISC report
iryna.kuchma at eifl.net
Wed Mar 14 16:44:11 EET 2012
[Forwarding from JISC, via the Open-Science list]
14 March 2012
Text mining promises huge economic and research benefit, but copyright law
and other barriers are limiting its use, says JISC report
A new JISC report shows that text mining - a complex and innovative method
of searching and analysing data - has huge potential benefits for the UK
economy and knowledge base, but its use is being held back by copyright law
and other barriers.
Read the report <
Sir Mark Walport, the director of the Wellcome Trust, said at a related
event last night: "This is a complete no-brainer. This is scholarly
research funded from the public purse, largely from taxpayer and
philanthropic organisations. The taxpayer has the right to have maximum
benefit extracted and that will only happen if there is maximum access to
Text mining draws on data analysis techniques such as natural language
processing and information extraction to find new knowledge and meaningful
patterns within large collections.
Torsten Reimer, JISC programme manager, explains, “Text mining is already
producing efficiencies and new knowledge in areas as diverse as biological
science, particle physics, media and communications. It has been used to
hypothesise the causes of rare diseases and how pre-existing drugs could be
used to target different diseases.
“The technique was also used recently to analyse the vast amount of text
produced on websites, blogs and social media such as Twitter - where
copyright holders allowed - and showed that the messages exchanged on
Twitter during the English riots of 2011 were not to blame for inciting
riots," added Torsten.
The business benefit of text mining is in identifying emerging trends, and
to explore consumer preferences and competitor developments. Text mining is
particularly used in larger companies as part of their customer
relationship management strategy and in the pharmaceutical industry as part
of their research and development strategy.
The report shows that such techniques could enable researchers in UK
universities to gain new knowledge that would otherwise remain undiscovered
because there is just too much relevant literature for any one person to
read. Such discoveries could lead to benefits for society and the economy.
The UK has a number of strengths that put it in a good position to be a key
player in text mining development, such as the existence of good framework
conditions for innovation and the natural advantage of its native language.
Professor Douglas Kell, chief executive of the BBSRC says, “This report
shows the importance of implementing the recommendations of the Hargreaves
Review as current copyright law is also imposing restrictions, since text
mining involves a range of computerised analytical processes which are not
all readily permitted within UK intellectual property law. In order to be
‘mined’, text must be accessed, copied, analysed, annotated and related to
existing information and understanding. Even if the user has access rights
to the material, making annotated copies can be illegal under current
copyright law without the permission of the copyright holder.
“The report also shows that text mining can add enormous value to the
benefit of the UK economy, as long as the text is freely available and
unencumbered. Otherwise there is a real risk that we will miss discoveries
that could have significant social and economic impact.”
Torsten added, “These laws are inhibiting text mining’s wider usage and
making academic institutions nervous of taking it up. Without wider usage,
the potential for text mining to generate gains for the economy and society
cannot be exploited and the UK economy will be less able to take advantage
of its strong public research base. There is a danger that the UK may be
left behind as other countries such as Japan adopt a more liberal approach
that encourages text mining usage.”
The report identifies a number of barriers that we need to overcome to make
best use of text mining tools in the future. Firstly, text mining is a
complex technical process that requires skilled staff; secondly it requires
unrestricted access to information sources; thirdly copyright can be a
The report authors conclude that more work needs to be undertaken to raise
awareness of the potential benefits and value of text mining to UK further
and higher education.
An event at the Wellcome Trust last night started the process of looking at
how publishers, researchers and policy makers can make this happen.
Read a blog post about the event <http://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/textmining/>
Read the report <
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