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I was reading "Your Guide to Publishing Open Access with Elsevier" (URL: https://www.elsevier.com/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/181433/openaccessbooklet_May.pdf (mirror)) and saw this table on page 6:

Table describing permissions granted by various licences

Why does the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license in this Elsevier only allow "Text & data min[ing]" for private use only and not for distribution? I understand one cannot make commercial use of it but does the ND (NoDerivatives) clause forbid the distribution of any form of text or data mining based on papers with such a license?

ND (NoDerivatives) is described by creativecommons.org as follows:

If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.

It's not obvious to me that the output of a text mining or data mining program necessarily qualifies as a derivative.

  • 4
    Either way, that's a misrepresentation of the license. "Non-commercial" means CC BY-NC, not NC-ND. Not that you'd expect them to get it right, though. – E.P. Apr 18 '17 at 8:39
  • @E.P. yes I hope the authors don't get misled by this when submitting to some Elsevier journals. ND has nothing to do with NC. – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 18 '17 at 14:00
  • Other problems with this table: translations are not allowed with "ND" (as mentioned by Anonymous Mathematician), and I think "Reuse portions […] in other works" is also not allowed with "ND" (except, of course, to the extent that is allowed by law). Question on Open Source SE: Can I leave out parts of a CC BY-ND licensed work when distributing it? – unor Apr 18 '17 at 20:01
  • @unor: The 4.0 license used here allows one to "reproduce and Share the Licensed Material, in whole or in part", which seems to allow quoting just a portion (but not of course reusing it in any way that would require modifications). By contrast, the 3.0 license from the Open Source SE question does not seem to allow this. – Anonymous Mathematician Apr 20 '17 at 17:22
  • @AnonymousMathematician: Wow, didn’t know that they changed this for 4.0 -- thanks for the notice! – unor Apr 20 '17 at 17:36
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According to the Guide to Mining CC-Licensed Material (mirror), the answer may depend on what you produce with the text/data mining. If you run some calculations and then write a paper describing what you learned, then that paper would not be a derivative work. If you produce a data set based on the mining, then that data set might be considered an adaptation of the original work. The guide does not propose a test for distinguishing between these possibilities. If it matters to you, I expect you would need to consult a lawyer.

Incidentally, I wouldn't take Elsevier's table too seriously. For example, it suggests that the CC BY-NC-ND license allows distributing a translation (since it doesn't have a "not for distribution" note there). However, that just isn't true: the license (mirror) explicitly lists translations as being adapted material that cannot be shared.

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