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Text and data mining (TDM) research involves the process of collecting vast amounts of digitized material and using software to analyze and extract information from such information. TDM is a crucial first step to addressing some of the world’s greatest scientific and societal challenges. But, as we show in this article, a patchwork of copyright laws across jurisdictions limits where and how TDM research can occur. We discuss how the World Intellectual Property Organization and legislatures around the world can promote harmonization of copyright exceptions for various research uses. Addressing research uses, including for TDM, in copyright reform can help address harmful disparities in our global research system.