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For my PhD (finance) I need access to a scientific database. The problem is that my university unfortunately does not offer this database in its library. Another university (in the same city even) does provide access to the database via WRDS.

Would it be ethical for me to e-mail the datasupport of the other university to see if they can send me the data? Or are there other options that I could explore?

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    Have you talked with your friendly local research librarian?
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 25, 2023 at 12:29
  • Some libraries usually have an agreement with one another to share resources. For example, I once requested an old book from the University of Florida's library, and had it sent all the way to Australia. Feb 27, 2023 at 1:45

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It is difficult to imagine how asking could be unethical except, perhaps, in a situation where you knew beforehand that whatever you were asking the other party to do was a criminal offense.

Many database licenses that I have seen permit the license holder (e.g., a library or institution) to grant database access only to enrolled students, or to academic staff, or graduate students, or some other specified group. Sometimes, database licenses allow access to persons who live in a particular locality ... and there are some that allow access to people who already have some other sort of qualifying characteristic (such as being enrolled at a government-funded university). So go ahead. Ask. The recipient of your request can always refuse.

You might also consider contacting the database creator to find out whether there are any options for access that they can suggest.

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It is probably against the rules of using the database for the other university to send you the data.

Look at the rules and find out, ask the data support department or library of the other university to see if they have any ideas (but make it clear you are not asking them to break any rules), contact the original provider of the database, or talk to your adviser.

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    Also worth talking to a librarian at OP's own institution to see if there's an equivalent of inter-library loan that would apply to this dataset. Feb 25, 2023 at 12:28
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    Or they can get a visitor arrangement to use it on site. Most universities are pretty flexible since none can afford all databases.
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 25, 2023 at 13:17
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Nothing stops you from requesting access (per CrimsonDark's answer), but they probably won't be able to grant you access, because it would violate their license.

What you can and should do is ask your librarian for help. They can request access from the other library via an interlibrary loan. This in all likelihood will cost money, but your library will have the budget to pay for it (i.e. you don't have to pay anything yourself). See top-rated answer here.

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