There are many datasets released on the internet. Authors of many of these datasets state that the datasets are strictly for academic usage and not for commercial purposes. Although some datasets are released for both academic and commercial use, many of them are restricted from commercial use.

If someone uses many of these academic datasets to train a model and then offers this trained model as a REST-API based Cloud service to earn a profit, then what is the way to find out that he or she used academic datasets to train the model? Many people might be already using academic datasets to earn a profit?

Similarly, If I collected data from many of my friends and family and published it for the academic research community and did not allow license for commercial purposes, then someone might use this data to build products and sell it commercially? How can we find that my dataset was used unethically? My friends and family might not give their data as they won't like someone to earn a profit from their data?

2 Answers 2


One approach would be to use a record search engine to identify those records that could match your own records.
In addition, in my opinion, it would be a good idea to include identifier data records in your own publicated data records, which could make it easier to identify your own data in case of doubt.

Starting points for the search could be:
European Data Journalism
European Dataportal
EU Open Data Portal
Google Dataset Search


One indirect solution might be to take the DOI of the dataset and to search (e.g. in LENS) whether patents cited the dataset. (However, I am aware that this might be too narrow of an approach.)

For instance, here is a search for datasets that contain the term "Genes", sorted by the number of patents that cite the datasets.

As you see in this screenshot, these three datasets were cited by a total number of 6 patents; you could then click on the Citing Patents-field to see the respective patents.

LENS search results of patents citing datasets

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