This article explores some of the issues surrounding data mining in the UK's higher education institutions (HEIs). Data mining is understood as the computational analysis of data contained in a text or data set in order to extract new knowledge from it. There are two main ways in which HEIs are involved with data mining: in the process of conducting research, and as producers of data. As consumers, HEIs may have restrictions on the manner in which they can conduct research given the fact that it is likely that content will be protected by intellectual property rights. As producers, HEIs are faced with increasing pressure to make publicly-funded research available to the public through institutional repositories and other similar open access schemes, but some of these do not set out reuse policies for data. The article concludes that if more research was made available with adequate licensing strategies, then the question of whether data mining research is legal would be moot.