Text-mining contract signed by Libraries offers computational access to Elsevier articles

Posted March 26th, 2014 by Ellen Duranceau

elsevier logoThe MIT Libraries have signed an agreement with Elsevier, the largest publisher of journal articles in the world, to allow members of the MIT community to text-mine scholarly articles subscribed to through Elsevier’s ScienceDirect service.

Typically, licensed access to journals like Elsevier’s does not permit systematic searching or downloading, and excludes the use of software agents, robots, or scripts. This has been a disappointment to many researchers, who wish to take advantage of automated tools to carry out new forms of research, speed up the research process, and enhance discovery and innovation.

Elsevier’s new service is a response to what they called “legitimate criticism” that publishers were not responding to researcher requests for text-mining. Chris Shillum, vice-president of product management for platform and content at Elsevier, told Nature Publishing that Elsevier had been considering requests “case by case,” but “now wants to make text-mining permissions quicker and easier to obtain,” by taking “’the practical barriers away.’”

The new text-mining service for Elsevier articles is available by contacting the Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Publishing, Copyright & Licensing through the address textmine@mit.edu.

When sending a request, please include your name, a short description of your proposed project (which could be simply to experiment with the service), and who else would be involved in this research. The Libraries will obtain an API key for you to use in carrying out your text-mining research. The researcher does not need to sign any agreement – the Libraries’ agreement removes that hurdle.

Use is limited to noncommercial research, with “snippets or bibliographic metadata” from the resulting dataset (that is, not the fulltext of articles) shareable through a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license.

If you have any questions about this new service, please contact:

Ellen Finnie Duranceau / Program Manager, Scholarly Publishing, Copyright & Licensing / MIT Libraries

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