Is there any research/study/survey that tried to quantify how much money universities / academic research labs pay to access data sets?

For example, in the United States, many hospitals as well as health insurance companies charge universities to access patient data.

Another example: in natural language processing, many datasets (including some very commonly used datasets) are sold by the Linguistic Data Consortium.

I am mostly interested in the United States and the field of computer science.

  • While having been at Penn and used LDC data, I have no idea who pays the crazy fees they request. Presumably you are not interested in specific examples from the LDC or similar groups/data and want totals. Is that correct?
    – StrongBad
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 0:06
  • @StrongBad Total is better, but specific examples from the LDC or similar groups/data is better than nothing. FYI Why doesn't the Linguistic Data Consortium release its data sets free of charge? Not a fan. Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 0:08
  • 2
    I'm not sure this can really be answered, because it will depend entirely on the data. It ranges everywhere from "free" to "super expensive" to "not available at any price". You could try asking a resource librarian maybe, to find out what a particular school pays, but I'm skeptical that any answer you get would be representative.
    – Jeff
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 6:56
  • @Jeff that's ok as I mostly interested in totals, in which case the price diversity doesn't matter Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


I can not offer you research, but I can tell you that when I was touring the library at SFSU, the librarian said that they pay something over $200,000. for access to their complete list of journals and databases. I imagine it varies considerably from one to the other university.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .