Is Europe Falling Behind in Data Mining? Copyright’s Impact on Data Mining in Academic Research

Authors: Christian Handke (Erasmus University), Lucie Guibault (IViR, University of Amsterdam) and Joan-Josep Vallbé (University of Barcelona)

This empirical paper discusses how copyright affects data mining (DM) by academic researchers. With the diffusion of digital information technology, DM is widely expected to increase the productivity of all kinds of research activities. Based on bibliometric data, we demonstrate that the share of DM-related research articles in all published academic papers has increased substantially over the last two decades. We develop an ordinal categorization of countries according to essential aspects of the copyright system that affect the costs and benefits of DM research. We show that countries in which data mining for academic research requires the express consent of rights holders, data mining makes up a significantly lower share of total research output. To our knowledge, this is the first time that an empirical study bears out a significant negative association between copyright protection and innovation. We also show that in countries where DM requires express consent by rights holders, there is an inverse association between rule-of-law indicators and DM research.

Runner-up in Best Paper Award for ‘Best new paper that contributes to understanding of intellectual property policy in Europe’, offered by the interdisciplinary journal Internet Policy Review.

The full paper is available from the Social Science Research Network.

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