Millions of research papers in Europe, previously behind journal paywalls, may soon become open for text and data mining, thanks to new legislation which will receive final approval in January.

Academic researchers can rejoice. But if you’re a startup, getting access to this new trove will be a little more difficult.

Eanna Kelly filed this report in Science Business:

The new legislation, which faces a final vote next January, applies to the use of text and data mining in scientific research, but gives member states the right to open up use of the technology to companies and individuals.

For EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas the vote set down “balanced and research-friendly rules.”

“Julia Reda, an MEP of Germany’s Pirate party, wanted the rights to be broader. Restricting free access to text and data mining to scientists carrying out basic research undermines the ability of universities to commercialize their findings and would, “have a chilling effect on discoveries in the public interest,” she said.

“Text and data mining turbocharges research by enabling scientists to simultaneously scour hundreds and thousands of articles. The problem is that the material researchers want to mine is tightly controlled by journal publishers in Europe, which own the copyright, and which currently require users to have licenses to mine their databases.“

Start-ups which rely on access to large amounts of data were disappointed not to be among the immediate beneficiaries of the new data mining regime. Use of data mining in Europe is significantly lower than in the US and Asia, most probably due to current licensing hurdles.”