Text: Kaisa Järvelä

FSD Archives First Newspaper Articles Used as Data Sources

In January 2015, Finnish copyright society Kopiosto and the FSD signed a licence agreement that allows the data archive to archive and reuse material collected by researchers for their own research but created by others. This agreement applies to digital or digitalised newspaper and magazine material as well as photographs. The FSD pays a small charge per year for the licence.

FSD's Development Manager Arja Kuula-Luumi, have the first copyright-protected materials been archived?

—Archiving could, in principal, have started as early as January this year, but we expect to receive the first two datasets of this kind sometime towards the end of the year. In both cases the copyright-protected material consists of newspaper articles.

—One dataset includes articles for and against various nutritional recommendations. The researcher welcomed the possibility to archive the data, as this type of material is popular in further research conducted in the United States and Canada.

How does the agreement benefit research and researchers?

—Carefully collected data entities can now be archived for reuse by other researchers.

—And due to the accessibility of data, research results are also easier to verify. The requirement that research results can be verified is one of the fundamentals of science, but in practice often impossible to realise if the original data are difficult to access.

—The National Library is obligated to archive all newspaper articles, but here, too, reusers have been forced to search for and store all articles already searched for and stored by the original data collector.

What does a researcher need to take into account when archiving copyright-protected material?

—Our Data Management Guidelines provide instructions on the necessary steps before the material is submitted to the FSD.

—As a general rule, researchers themselves must save the articles in digital format. Regarding online articles, it is important to save the articles as soon as possible for archiving as most online magazines don't have open access archives.

—In addition, reference information should be precise and uniform, and recorded in both the electronic copy of the article and the list of articles submitted to the FSD. This list is needed because the FSD is required to send Kopiosto regular reports on archived copyright-protected material.

And what about reusers of copyright-protected material? Is there anything in particular they should consider?

—Copyright-protected material can't, in principle, be published. You can, however, cite the material to the extent required by your research.

—In practice, this means that a short article can be published, in its entirety even, if your work clearly analyses the text as a whole.

What kind of data had been impossible to archive before the agreement with Kopiosto?

—Most commonly data containing newspaper articles, such as interviews or questionnaires with articles as supporting material. Before the agreement, this type of data had to be archived without the copyright-protected parts.

—One example is an extensive newspaper article dataset on membership negotiations between Finland and the EU, and the media's take on them prior to the talks. The data included every article published on the subject in the major Finnish newspapers. I'm sure such a carefully assembled and extensive collection of articles on attitudes towards the EU would be very interesting in the current political climate.

Is the archiving of copyright-protected materials as strictly prohibited in other countries?

—Restrictions vary from country to country. In some, there are restrictions in place that limit the author's right to their work so that it is freely available for research and is archivable as part of research data. Finland has not implemented this kind of restriction, even though the EU's Copyright Directive would allow it.

—The issue of implementing the restriction has been discussed for so long, and so far without success that I’m very happy about the FSD's own agreement with Kopiosto.

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