Press Release
     08h00 CET 31 MAY 2016

Text and Data Mining for Research and Innovation

What Europe Must Do Next

(BRUSSELS, Belgium – 31 May 2016) – The Lisbon Council launches Text and Data Mining for Research and Innovation: What Europe Must Do Next, an interactive policy brief which looks at the challenge and opportunity of text and data mining in a European context. Building on the Lisbon Council’s highly successful 2014 paper, which served as an important and early source of evidence on the uptake and interest in text and mining among academics worldwide, the paper revisits the data two years later and finds that recent trends have only accelerated. 

Text and Data Mining for Research and Innovation looks at the transformative role of text and data mining in academic research, benchmarks the role of European research against global competitors and reflects on the prospects for an enabling policy in the text- and data-mining field within the broader European political and economic context. 

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Among the key findings: 

  • Asia leapfrogs EU in research on text and data mining. Over the last decade, Asia has replaced the European Union as the world’s leading centre for academic research on text and data mining as judged by number of publications. From 2011 to 2016, Asian scholars’ share of academic publications in the field rose to 32.4% of all global publications, up from 31.1% in 2000. The EU’s global share fell to 28.2%, down from 38.9% in 2000. North America remained in third place at 20.9% due to the relatively small size of the three-country region.
  • China ranks No.1 within Asia. As recently as 2000, Japan and Taiwan led Asia with 12.6% and 7% of all global text-and-data-mining-based publications. After a steady rise in interest, China now leads. On its own, it accounted for 11.7% of all global publications in 2015, up from zero in 2000. This gave China a No. 2 finish in the country rankings, second only to the United States. China’s ranking within Asia is now No. 1. 
  • Chinese patents on data mining see unprecedented growth. China also led the global growth in the number of patents pertaining to data mining. While the number of patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) remained relatively stable over the past decade, the number of patents granted for data-mining-related products by the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO) rose to 149 in 2015, up from just one in 2005.
  • Chinese researchers are champions in patenting TDM procedures. Chinese researchers and organisations are patenting text-and- data-mining procedures at a faster rate than any other country in the world. This suggests that Chinese researchers attach a growing priority to the potential use of this new technique for stimulating scientific breakthroughs, disseminating technical knowledge and improving productivity throughout the scientific and technical community.
  • Middle East entering the game too. Some of the fastest growth and greatest interest was seen in relative newcomers: India, Iran and Turkey. Having shown virtually no interest in text and data mining as recently as 2000, the Middle East is now the world’s fourth largest region for research on text and data mining, led by Iran and Turkey. 
  • Europe remains slow. Large European scientific, technical and medical publishers have added text-and-data-mining functionality to some dataset licences, but the overall framework in Europe remains slow and full of uncertainty. Many smaller publishers do not yet offer access of this type. And scholars complain that existing licences are too restrictive and do not allow for generating the advanced “big data” insights that come from detecting patterns across multiple datasets stored in different places or held by different owners.
  • Legal clarity also matters. Some countries apply the “fair-use” doctrine, which allows “exceptions” to existing copyright law, including for text and data mining. Israel, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States are in this group. Others have created a new copyright “exception” for text and data mining – Japan, for instance, which adopted a blanket text-and-data-mining exception in 2009, and more recently the United Kingdom, where text and data mining was declared fully legal for non-commercial research purposes in 2014. 
  • What Europe Must Do. New technologies make analysis of large volumes of text and other media potentially routine. But this can only happen if researchers have clearly established rights to use the relevant techniques, supported by the necessary skills and experience. Broadly speaking, the European ecosystem for engaging in text and data mining remains highly problematic, with researchers hesitant to perform valuable analysis that may or may not be legal. The end result: Europe is being leapfrogged by rising interest in other regions, notably Asia. European scholars are even forced, on occasion, to outsource their text and data mining needs to researchers elsewhere in the world, as has been reported repeatedly in past European Commission consultations. Anecdotally, we hear stories of university and research bureaux deliberately adding researchers in North America or Asia to consortia because those researchers will be able to do basic text and data mining so much more easily than in the EU. 
About the Lisbon Council: The Lisbon Council for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal asbl is a Brussels-based think tank and policy network. Established in 2003 in Belgium as a non-profit, non-partisan association, the group is dedicated to making a positive contribution through cutting-edge research and by engaging politicians and the public at large in a constructive exchange about the economic and social challenges of the 21st century. Its website is

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For more information, contact:
Elizabeth Miles
The Lisbon Council
T: +32 2 647 95 75 
The Lisbon Council is a Brussels-based think tank and policy network committed to making a positive contribution by engaging political leaders and the public at large in a constructive exchange about the economic and social challenges of the 21st century.
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