[open-science] text-mining restrictions - a plea for more information

Vision, Todd J tjv at bio.unc.edu
Sun Apr 17 14:38:18 UTC 2011

Peter's draft whitepaper on text-mining is badly needed and nicely put.  I was particularly interested in this passage:

"The provision of journal articles is controlled not only by copyright but also (for most scientists) the contracts signed by the institution. These contracts are usually not public. We believe (from anecdotal evidence) that there are clauses forbidding the use of systematic machine crawling of articles, even for legitimate scientific purposes."

We have also heard tell of the existence of such clauses, but also have not been able to secure first-hand evidence for them.  It would be very nice to promote this from "anecdotal" to "documented", and I would like here to put out a wider plea for anyone who might be able to provide the language of these contractual retrictions.  Alternatively, I would welcome suggestions for how we are to know what exactly we are prohibited from doing in light of the confidential nature of the contracts.  

If copyright holders really wish to enforce such restrictions, it seems odd that their very existence is little more than a rumor. Can secret restrictions be legally enforced?


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