OPEN DATA, GREY DATA, AND STEWARDSHIP: UNIVERSITIES AT THE PRIVACY FRONTIER

Abstract:  As universities recognize the inherent value in the data they collect and hold, they encounter unforeseen challenges in stewarding those data in ways that balance accountability, transparency, and protection of privacy, academic freedom, and intellectual property. Two parallel developments in academic data collection are converging: (1) open access requirements, whereby researchers must provide access to their data as a condition of obtaining grant funding or publishing results in journals; and (2) the vast accumulation of “grey data” about individuals in their daily activities of research, teaching, learning, services, and administration. The boundaries between research and grey data are blurring, making it more difficult to assess the risks and responsibilities associated with any data collection. Many sets of data, both research and grey, fall outside privacy regulations such as HIPAA, FERPA, and PII. Universities are exploiting these data for research, learning analytics, faculty evaluation, strategic decisions, and other sensitive matters. Commercial entities are besieging universities with requests for access to data or for partnerships to mine them. The privacy frontier facing research universities spans open access practices, uses and misuses of data, public records requests, cyber risk, and curating data for privacy protection. This Article explores the competing values inherent in data stewardship and makes recommendations for practice by drawing on the pioneering work of the University of California in privacy and information security, data governance, and cyber risk.

Exempting Harvard’s Librarian-Scholars from the Work-for-Hire Doctrine | Harvard Library

“Just as we [at Harvard Library] support open access to scholarship by Harvard faculty, we support open access to scholarship by Harvard librarians and library staff. In keeping with this commitment, the Library announces two initiatives: a new voluntary Individual Open-Access License and a new work-for-hire exception for library staff who publish scholarship….

As of this announcement, Harvard Library states that it does not consider works written by librarians or library staff to be “works for hire” under copyright law when the works are:

•    scholarly articles
•    written principally on non-work time; and
•    written outside the scope of employment….

Harvard Exempts Its Librarian-Scholars From the Work-For-Hire Doctrine | Harvard Library

“Starting now, works of scholarship by Harvard librarians and library staff will be exempt from the work-for-hire doctrine. That means that library staff will hold copyright in their scholarly works, just as Harvard faculty hold the copyright in theirs. Previously, this privilege was limited to faculty, and the new policy puts library staff and faculty on a par in this respect. 

“I’m proud of the high-quality scholarship published by Harvard librarians,” said Sarah E. Thomas, Vice President for the Harvard Library and University Librarian; Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “Now, for the first time at Harvard, librarians will own the copyright to their research and can make their work freely available to all.” …”

Why Do We Digitize? The Case for Slow Digitization – Archive Journal

“But this advocacy for digitization has discouraged the development of critical and reflective discussions on the way in which digitization is undertaken. There is a risk that digitization programs, by focusing on making “treasures” more widely available, will reinforce existing cultural stereotypes and canonicities. The criteria used to select manuscripts for digitization and the way they are presented online are very poorly articulated and require wider discussion and debate.

 

Since the advent of Google Books, many librarians and curators have been anxious to maximize digital coverage of their collections as quickly as possible. However, by seeking to rapidly digitize large numbers of books, manuscripts, and archives, archivists, librarians, and scholars may sacrifice many of the benefits that digital technologies offer for the exploration of manuscripts and books as textual artifacts. Too often, digitization is treated as a form of color microfilm, thereby offering distorted views of the manuscript and making it appear to be a simpler and more stable object than it really is. Digitization provides a constantly expanding toolbox for probing and analyzing manuscripts that goes beyond simple color imaging. Like archaeological artifacts, manuscripts should be explored gradually, using a variety of technical aids and methods, building a multifaceted digital archive of the manuscript….”

The insoluble problems of books: What does Altmetric.com have to offer?

Abstract Purpose: Analyze the capabilities, functionalities and appropriateness of Altmetric.com as a data source for the bibliometric analysis of books in comparison to PlumX. Methodology: We perform an exploratory analysis on the metrics the Altmetric Explorer for Institutions platform offers for books. We use two distinct datasets of books. On the one hand, we analyze the Book Collection included in Altmetric.com. On the other, we use Clarivate’s Master Book List, to analyze Altmetric.com’s capabilities to download and merge data with external databases. Finally, we compare our findings with those obtained in a previous study performed in PlumX. Findings: Altmetric.com combines and orderly tracks a set of data sources combined by DOI identifiers to retrieve metadata from books, being Google Books its main provider. It also retrieves information from commercial publishers and from some Open Access initiatives, including those led by university libraries such as Harvard Library. We find issues with linkages between records and mentions or ISBN discrepancies. Furthermore, we find that automatic bots affect greatly Wikipedia mentions to books. Our comparison with PlumX suggests that none of these tools provide a complete picture of the social attention generated by books and are rather complementary than comparable tools. Practical implications: This study targets different audiences which can benefit from our findings. First, bibliometricians and researchers who seek for alternative sources to develop bibliometric analyses of books, with a special focus on the Social Sciences and Humanities fields. Second, librarians and research managers who are the main clients to which these tools are directed. Third, Altmetric.com itself as well as other altmetric providers who might get a better understanding of the limitations users encounter and improve this promising tool. Originality/value: This is the first study to analyze Altmetric.com’s functionalities and capabilities for providing metric data for books and to compare results from this platform, with those obtained via PlumX.

Impact of Social Sciences – Flipping a journal to open access will boost its citation performance – but to what degree varies by publisher, field and rank

“Many observers have drawn the logical conclusion that the increased exposure and visibility afforded by open access leads to improved citation performance of open access journals. Yang Li, Chaojiang Wu, Erjia Yan and Kai Li report on research examining the perceived open access advantage, paying particular attention to journals which have “flipped” to open access from a subscription model. Findings reveal that the estimated overall effect of open access is positive, with significant improvements to journals’ citation metrics. However, the degree to which a journal may improve varies according to its research field, publisher and quality profile….”

‘Don’t close the definition of “open” for books’ | Research Information

Open access began about 20 years ago – with the formal definition, justifying O and A capitalisations, being largely settled by 2003. Since then this definition of open access has been most successfully applied to journal articles.

Now books are getting focused attention. Some research funders, particularly in Europe but elsewhere too, are determined to radically increase the pace at which open access grows. Research they fund that is published as books may in many cases need to become open access. However, current approaches to open access for journals cannot work for books at a large scale.

If we apply open access to books in the way it is applied to journals, we will fail. If the failure is simply that books do not become more ‘open’, that would be one thing. But it is possible that academic researchers will find themselves required to publish books in ways that will be unsustainable for academic publishers. For Cambridge University Press, where I work, if our books earned only a few percentage points less revenue than they do now, our books programme would become loss-making. Academic books are a vital part of many researchers’ lives and careers. We must not put them at risk….

A definition of ‘open’ for books will therefore need to focus on content being freely readable while relaxing the requirements for allowing re-distribution and re-use. …”

Open Access Week: CUP moves four journals to gold OA | Research Information

“Cambridge University Press is moving four more of its journals from a traditional subscription model to gold open access in  what it describes as ‘a further demonstration of its commitment to the development of a sustainable, more open future for academic publishing’….”

eLife backs Plaudit for open sharing of research recommendations | For the press | eLife

eLife, in collaboration with software engineer Vincent Tunru from Flockademic and the Center for Open Science (COS), is supporting the development of Plaudit – a mechanism for academics to share their research recommendations openly with readers.

Stemming from a concept refined at the eLife Innovation Sprint 2018 by a team of publishers, technologists and researchers, Plaudit aims to provide an easy way to recognise the value of scholarly content, regardless of where it is published. The tool has three main benefits for users: those who recommend research objects lend their authority to the endorsement, the authors of the objects benefit from the endorsement, and readers gain insight into the objects’ potential value….”