The publishing giant Elsevier and University College London said on Wednesday morning that they were joining to create a Big Data Institute “to explore innovative ways to apply new technologies and analytics to scholarly content and data.”
The new institute will have access to Elsevier’s vast trove of scholarly research and public data, which the British newspaper The Independent estimates at some 200 terabytes’ worth. Elsevier said the new partnership would also benefit from the publisher’s purchase this year of Mendeley, a London-based service that lets researchers organize references and PDFs.
But the deal could worry researchers committed to the free exchange of information, given that Elsevier was most recently in the news for sending out thousands of copyright-infringement notices to the open-access website Academia.edu.
“Our aim is to help scientists do better research and do it faster,” said Elsevier’s chief executive, Ron Mobed, in a statement. “This is a significant investment by Elsevier in UK science in an area where we have outstanding expertise, and in collaboration with a world-leading institution.” The Independent said the company was investing more than £10-million, or $16.4-million, in the collaboration.