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“Project 4β” Shares Expertise with Birmingham City University

Gabija Birgile

2024-04-052 min read

The synergy between corporate expertise and academic research can accelerate innovation, enhance practical learning, and drive technological advancements. We understand the responsibility of sharing our industry expertise with academia and future experts. Such interactions as guest lectures or workshops can introduce students to real-world scenarios and current challenges faced by the web intelligence collection industry that textbooks alone cannot provide. 

We’re pleased to share that Oxylabs has recently collaborated with the Birmingham School of Media of Birmingham City University and Paul Bradshaw, Course Leader of MA in Data Journalism and Data Journalist in the BBC Shared Data Unit. This collaboration is part of our pro bono initiative “Project 4β,” through which we support researchers, academia, and organizations working towards public good with free access to Oxylabs solutions and expertise. 

Through this collaboration, we delivered two guest lectures to MA in Data Journalism students of the Birmingham School of Media and data journalists of BBC Shared Data Unit and BBC England Data Unit.


Scraping is especially important in journalism as it allows reporters to hold power to account in different ways, and identify potential issues in society — but the technical abilities required to create scrapers don’t exist in all newsrooms. 

Paul Bradshaw, Course Leader of MA in Data Journalism and Data Journalist in the BBC Shared Data Unit

Web Scraping for Data Journalists

Data collection tools are essential for data journalists, allowing them to gather crucial information for insightful reporting efficiently. Web scraping technology can facilitate the automated extraction of large amounts of publicly available information from the web, providing a rich and up-to-date dataset for in-depth analysis and reporting. 

The first presentation was provided by Oxylabs Product Owner Aleksandras Šulženko, where he introduced the attendees to Oxylabs web scraping solutions, including WEB Scraper API, SERP Scraper API, and E-commerce Scraper APIs, did a demo of the solutions and explained their application possibilities in collecting real-time publicly available data. The presentation was followed by a Q&A session.

Ethical Web Scraping

Understanding the legal matters surrounding web scraping is essential, as the practice often navigates complex legal territories, including copyright laws, terms of service agreements, and data privacy regulations. Knowledge of these laws helps ensure data journalists and researchers comply with legal standards, avoiding potential lawsuits or ethical violations. Furthermore, being aware of the legal framework protects the credibility and integrity of their work, as ethical compliance is crucial for maintaining public trust and professional reputation in the field of journalism and research.

To help students better understand the complex subject of ethical web scraping, Oxylabs Legal Counsel Nerijus Šveistys shared a presentation, “Oops, I scraped. Should I hire a lawyer?”. 

In the session, Nerijus covered the most important market regulations and its key elements, addressed significant questions concerning data ownership and the sensitivity of personal data, and highlighted key legal cases related to the web scraping industry.

Later, the students delved into recent developments in the field and were introduced with a scraping heat map designed to assess risk, ethical web scraping practices, and values of Oxylabs.

My students’ and colleagues’ sessions with Oxylabs not only helped them understand the technical challenges that Oxylabs tackles as a platform, but also the range of overlapping legal and ethical frameworks that journalists need to consider when scraping.

Paul Bradshaw, Course Leader of MA in Data Journalism and Data Journalist in the BBC Shared Data Unit 

Partner with “4β” 

We are always open to new partnerships in which Oxylabs web intelligence collection solutions and expertise could help solve critical research questions and missions. Our commitment is to provide our pro bono partners with the tools and insights necessary for significant advancements and research discoveries in various fields. To learn more, visit “Project 4β” or contact us via

About the author

Gabija Birgile

Senior PR Manager

Gabija Birgile is a Senior PR Manager at Oxylabs. After working in a PR agency and juggling various projects for quite some time, she wanted to try a role in the tech industry. Making a positive impact with her work was always on top of her mind, so managing "Project 4β" pro bono partnerships now definitely does the job. If you have a project in mind, drop her a message at

All information on Oxylabs Blog is provided on an "as is" basis and for informational purposes only. We make no representation and disclaim all liability with respect to your use of any information contained on Oxylabs Blog or any third-party websites that may be linked therein. Before engaging in scraping activities of any kind you should consult your legal advisors and carefully read the particular website's terms of service or receive a scraping license.

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