Harvard University Privacy Tools Project

The Privacy Tools Project is a broad effort to advance a multidisciplinary understanding of data privacy issues and build computational, statistical, legal, and policy tools to help address these issues in a variety of contexts. It is a collaborative effort between Harvard’s Center for Research on Computation and Society, Institute for Quantitative Social ScienceBerkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and Data Privacy Lab, and MIT Libraries’ Program on Information Science.

Our work is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the US Bureau of the Census, and Google. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of our funders….”

Greek and Latin Unleashed: Harvard Library’s Contribution to the Digital Humanities | Harvard Library

“The Open Greek and Latin Project (OGL) is an international collaboration working to bring free access to all source texts written in Classical Greek or Latin from antiquity to c. 600 CE, including manuscripts, papyri, epigraphs, ostraca (broken pieces of ceramic material used as ballots) and more.

In 2016, the Harvard Library and the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies joined forces with Mount Allison University and the University of Virginia to help the OGL implement a proof of concept of the project, focusing on the first thousand years of Greek texts. Funding for the First Thousand Years of Greek component of the OGL came from the Harvard Library through a grant from the Arcadia Foundation and the generous support of the Center for Hellenic Studies. The OGL is led by Professor Gregory Crane, the Humboldt Professor of Computer Science at the University of Leipzig and Professor of Classics at Tufts University and Editor-in-Chief of the Perseus Project. All partners in the project are providing staff and technical support.

This funding is helping the OGL complete the digitization of Greek texts and create an easy-to-use but functionally rich user interface. This will allow researchers to access, search, download, modify, and redistribute textual data to explore new forms in areas such as born-digital annotation, reading practices, audiences for Greek and Latin, and avenues of research. While the design of the website is under development, scholars are accessing and using the texts from GitHub, the software development platform. …”

Copyright and the Harvard Open Access Mandate by Eric Priest :: SSRN

Abstract:  Open access proponents argue that scholars are far more likely to make their articles freely available online if they are required to do so by their university or funding institution. Therefore, if the open access movement is to achieve anything close to its goal of seeing all scholarly articles freely available online, mandates will likely play a significant role. In 2008, the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted a policy that purports not only to require scholars to deposit their works in open access repositories, but also to grant the university nonexclusive copyright licenses to archive and publicly distribute all faculty-produced scholarly articles. A number of other American universities have since adopted similar policies. The principal aim of this Article is to analyze the legal effect of these Harvard-style open access “permission” mandates.


By invoking copyright law terminology in permission mandates, schools might intend that they have the legal effect of transferring nonexclusive rights to the school, thereby clarifying and fortifying the school’s rights to reproduce and publicly disseminate faculty works. However, the legal effect of these mandates is uncertain for several reasons. First, it is unsettled whether scholars or their university employers are the authors and initial owners of scholarly articles under U.S. copyright law’s work-made-for-hire rules, which vest authorship and copyright ownership in the employer for works created by employees within the scope of employment. Second, the mandates are broad university policies that purport to grant the university nonexclusive copyright licenses in every scholarly article unless a faculty member affirmatively opts out on a per-article basis. Are the policies specific enough to provide the essential terms of the grant? Furthermore, can the mere adoption of a school policy, without some additional affirmative act by the author, effectuate such a grant without unduly encroaching upon the author’s autonomy interests? Lastly, even if the policies effectuate nonexclusive license grants, will the licenses survive after the author transfers copyright ownership to a journal publisher as per common practice? Section 205(e) of the Copyright Act provides that a prior nonexclusive license evidenced in a writing signed by the right holder prevails over a subsequent conflicting transfer of copyright ownership, so the answer appears to turn on whether permission mandates satisfy the requirements of § 205(e).


This Article argues that permission mandates can create legally enforceable, durable nonexclusive licenses. First, it argues that although there are important justifications, including academic freedom concerns, for recognizing the controversial “teacher exception” to the work for hire rules for scholarly articles, such an exception may be unnecessary because a strong argument also exists that much scholarship is produced outside the scope of employment for work for hire purposes. Second, it argues that permission mandates provide sufficient evidence of the grantor’s intent and the rights granted to create effective nonexclusive licenses. Third, permission mandates satisfy the requirements of § 205(e) and establish the license’s priority over the subsequent transfer of copyright ownership largely because they fulfill the underlying purposes of § 205(e) by providing sufficient evidence and notice of the license to potential copyright transferees (typically academic publishers). In reaching these conclusions, this Article emphasizes that Courts should consider the uniformity costs (social costs resulting from applying uniform rules and granting uniform entitlements across diverse conditions) that arise from applying to scholarly articles copyright rules developed to address proprietary models of information production. Applying the relevant copyright rules in a manner sensitive to the nonmarket nature of scholarly production is the most effective way to reduce these social costs, and reinforces the conclusion that mandate licenses are enforceable.


Lastly, the Article considers whether the opt-out nature of permission mandates offends notions of authorial autonomy in copyright. It compares permission mandates with another high profile opt-out licensing regime: the proposed Google Books settlement agreement, which the court rejected partly because of authorial autonomy concerns. Authorial autonomy is far less of a concern for scholarly articles than for the books at issue in the Google Books case, however, due to the nonmarket nature of scholarly article production coupled with academic community norms. Accordingly, it does not substantially interfere with authors’ autonomy interests to find that the opt-out structure of permission mandates creates valid nonexclusive licenses in universities.

Correcting the record on the Harvard OA license

“Yesterday at the Scholarly Kitchen, Karin Wulf and Simon Newman posted some objections to the UK Scholarly Communications License, which is based on the Harvard OA license.


In the process they characterized the Harvard OA license and OA policies, sometimes correctly and sometimes incorrectly.

I posted a comment which is still undergoing moderation. I’m posting a copy here in case my comment is rejected, abridged, or delayed. …”

Missing the Target: The UK Scholarly Communications License – The Scholarly Kitchen

“There are any number of issues to be addressed in the premises of the UK Scholarly Communications License, among them the longstanding and keen interest of higher education in acquiring intellectual property rights to the work of their researchers. But we want to focus here on some of the implications for our discipline, history, as illustrative. History research is published in journals, but it is very much a book discipline. The publishing systems for each are themselves distinctive. History journals are mostly published by non-profit organizations, often university presses, and require intensive editorial work. Because the formulation of text in argument is the primary research output, derivative use is not as applicable or desirable as it might be for other fields. That is, we produce essays with interpretive arguments, not data or experimental findings. Additionally, institutional publication of scholarly articles raises all kinds of issues related to intellectual property and third-party rights. Scholars across the arts and humanities regularly cite or use in their articles third-party sources (including privately and institutionally owned manuscripts and printed works, poetry, literature music, art etc.). It is extremely unlikely that the rights holders of such materials will abandon their third-party rights and allow libraries to publish their materials. The result will be an administrative burden for libraries and academics, and create potential legal problems too. Historical organizations have devised a variety of ways to increase the reach of these outputs. And for these reasons and more, historians have strongly advocated for flexible approaches to Open Access. Many convenings have resulted in the development of Green OA to recognize the diversity of needs and practices of disciplines and fields, primarily but not only in HSS.”

Scholarly Communications Model Policy and Licence: Publishers’ Association Concerns together with UK-SCL Steering Group Responses

“The proposed policy is based on the Harvard model which has been in use since 2008 and has been adopted by over 60 institutions worldwide, including  Ivy League universities whose publishing outputs eclipse the numbers published in total in the UK. Under the Harvard model policy, waivers are  requested for less than 5% of articles. We are at a loss to understand why,  therefore, the estimate is so high for UK authors and why UK authors might  be treated differently to their counterparts in existing ‘Harvard policy’ institutions.”


Thoreau’s 200th birthday brings gift for botanists | Harvard Gazette

“In honor of Thoreau’s 200th birthday, on July 12, hundreds of new images of his specimens, along with the data associated with them, will be posted online, part of a larger effort to digitize and open to the public the 5.5 million dried plant specimens in the Herbaria’s collection.

“I think it’s fair to say that the data that live inside these cabinets has been dark for far too long,” Davis said. “My vision for the collections is that we make everything online and accessible to the world.”

That larger effort has meant adopting a new “open-access digitization policy,” available on the Office for Scholarly Communication website, that puts most of the images — excepting those whose copyright is held by other institutions or individuals — in the public domain….

“The Herbaria is the first Harvard museum to adopt an open-access policy for its digitization projects,” said Peter Suber, director of the Office for Scholarly Communication. “Lifting restrictions from the bulk of its digital reproductions will bring this unique botanical collection to a global audience, and advance the Herbaria’s mission of research and education.” …”

Harvard Library Publishes Report on Converting Subscription Journals to Open Access | Harvard Library

“The Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC) is pleased to announce the release of a comprehensive literature review on strategies for converting subscription journals to open access.

In the spring of 2015, the OSC commissioned the research from David Solomon, Mikael Laakso, and Bo-Christer Björk, who completed it in the spring of 2016. We posted a preliminary draft online for a four month public-comment period, and asked a distinguished panel of 20 colleagues to add their own comments. 

The authors identified 15 journal-flipping scenarios: 10 that depend on article processing charges (APCs) and 5 that dispense with APCs. For each one they give examples, evidence, and their assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. The examples come from all scholarly niches by academic field, regions of the world, and economic strata….

This comprehensive review of diverse approaches is the report’s strength. Not every flip was a success, and not all the flips that were successful using one scenario would have been successful with a different scenario. But there were successes under every scenario and in every scholarly niche. Journals that picked a scenario that fit their circumstances were able preserve or enhance their readership, submissions, quality, and financial sustainability….”

LexisNexis Announces Acquisition of Ravel Law

“Finally, Ravel Law’s access to the Harvard case law content and PDF images of original case opinions will enrich the already expansive case law collection available from LexisNexis. LexisNexis is committed to continuing Ravel Law’s open access to this historical collection, giving the American public, and anyone with an internet connection, access to this vital collection of legal information….”