Open Syllabus Analytics: A New Service from Open Syllabus

“This informational webinar will be used to introduce viewers to Open Syllabus Analytics. Open Syllabus Analytics (OSA) is a massive archive of the main activity of higher education: teaching. It provides top-down views of syllabi across thousands of schools to help faculty, staff, and publishers improve student outcomes. The service is flexible and effective across multiple use cases, including library collection development, tracking OER adoption, curriculum aid for teachers and graduate students, and more.”

 

 

Book Talk: Data Cartels Tickets, Wed, Nov 30, 2022 at 10:00 AM | Eventbrite

“In our digital world, data is power. Information hoarding businesses reign supreme, using intimidation, aggression, and force to maintain influence and control. Sarah Lamdan brings us into the unregulated underworld of these “data cartels”, demonstrating how the entities mining, commodifying, and selling our data and informational resources perpetuate social inequalities and threaten the democratic sharing of knowledge….”

“Superior identification index – Quantifying the capability of academic journals to recognize good research

Abstract:  In this paper we present “superior identification index” (SII), a metric to quantify the capability of academic journals to recognize top papers restricted by specific time window and study field. Intuitively, SII is the percentage of papers from a journal in the top p% papers in the field. SII provides flexible framework to make trade-offs on journal quality and quantity, as p rises it puts more weight on quantity and less weight on quality. Concerns on the p selection are discussed, and extended metrics of SII, including superior identification efficiency (SIE) and paper rank percentile (PRP), were proposed to sketch other dimensions of journal performance. Based on bibliometric data from ecological field, we find that as p increases, the correlation between SIE and JIF first rises then drops, indicating that JIF might most likely reflect “how well a journal identifies the top 26~34% papers in the field”. Hopefully, the new proposed SII metric and its extensions could promote the quality awareness and provide flexible tools for research evaluation.

‘All your data are belong to us’: the weaponisation of library usage data and what we can do about it | UKSG

By Caroline Ball – Academic Librarian, University of Derby, #ebookSOS campaigner
Twitter: @heroicendeavour, Mastodon: @heroicendeavour@mas.to

and Anthony Sinnott, Access and Procurement Development Manager, University of York; Twitter: @librarianth

What do 850 football players and their performance data have in common with academic libraries and online resources? More than you’d think! The connecting factor is data, how it is collected, used and for what purposes.

‘Project Red Card’ is demanding compensation for the use of footballers’ performance data by betting companies, video game manufacturers, scouts and others, arguing that players should have more control over how their personal data is collected and particularly how it is monetized and commercialised.

Similarly, libraries’ online resources, whether a single ebook or vast databases, are producing enormous amounts of data, utilised by librarians to assist us in our vital functions: assessing usage and value, determining demand and relevance.

But are we the only ones using this data generated by our users? What other uses is this data being put to? We know for certain that vendors have access to more data than they provide to us via COUNTER statistics etc, but we have no way of knowing how much, what types, or what is done with it.

Witness the recent controversy generated by Wiley’s removal of 1,379 e-books from Academic Complete. Publishers like Wiley determine high use by accessing statistics generated by our end-users via the various e-book platforms through which they access the content. This in itself is indicative of our end-user/library data being provided to third parties without our knowledge or consent, particularly concerning given our licences are with vendors and not publishers. We are also not privy to what data-sharing agreements exist between vendors and publishers. Should we allow library usage data to be weaponized against us in this fashion? What recourse do we have to push back against this practice of ‘data extractivism’, to either withhold this data from publishers and vendors or prohibit them from using it for their own commercial gain?

 

 

The Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative | LIBER Quarterly: The Journal of the Association of European Research Libraries

Abstract:  In the current era of worldwide competition in higher education, universities are caught up in market processes that encourage compliance with the measurement systems applied by world university rankings. Despite questions about the rankings’ methodologies and data sources, universities continue to adopt assessment and evaluation practices that require academic researchers to publish in sources indexed by the major commercial bibliographic databases used by world rankings. Building on a critique of the limited bibliometric measures and underlying assumptions of rankings, the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative interdisciplinary research project aggregates and analyses scholarly research data including open access output from multiple open sources for more than 20,000 institutions worldwide. To understand who is creating knowledge and how diversity is enacted through the transmission of knowledge we analyse workforce demographic data. In this article, we discuss the project’s rationale, methodologies and examples of data analysis that can enable universities to make independent assessments, ask questions about rankings, and contribute to open knowledge-making and sharing.  Expanding on our presentation to the LIBER Online 2021 Conference, we discuss collaboration with academic libraries and other scholarly communication stakeholders to develop and extend the open knowledge project.

 

The Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative | LIBER Quarterly: The Journal of the Association of European Research Libraries

Abstract:  In the current era of worldwide competition in higher education, universities are caught up in market processes that encourage compliance with the measurement systems applied by world university rankings. Despite questions about the rankings’ methodologies and data sources, universities continue to adopt assessment and evaluation practices that require academic researchers to publish in sources indexed by the major commercial bibliographic databases used by world rankings. Building on a critique of the limited bibliometric measures and underlying assumptions of rankings, the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative interdisciplinary research project aggregates and analyses scholarly research data including open access output from multiple open sources for more than 20,000 institutions worldwide. To understand who is creating knowledge and how diversity is enacted through the transmission of knowledge we analyse workforce demographic data. In this article, we discuss the project’s rationale, methodologies and examples of data analysis that can enable universities to make independent assessments, ask questions about rankings, and contribute to open knowledge-making and sharing.  Expanding on our presentation to the LIBER Online 2021 Conference, we discuss collaboration with academic libraries and other scholarly communication stakeholders to develop and extend the open knowledge project.

 

The Quiet Invasion of ‘Big Information’ | WIRED

This story is adapted from Data Cartels: The Companies That Control and Monopolize Our Information, by Sarah Lamdan.

 

When people worry about their data privacy, they usually focus on the Big Five tech companies: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. Legislators have brought Facebook’s CEO to the capitol to testify about the ways the company uses personal data. The FTC has sued Google for violating laws meant to protect children’s privacy. Each of the tech companies is followed by a bevy of reporters eager to investigate how it uses technology to surveil us. But when Congress got close to passing data privacy legislation, it wasn’t the Big Five that led the most urgent effort to prevent the law from passing, it was a company called RELX.

You might not be familiar with RELX, but it knows all about you. Reed Elsevier LexisNexis (RELX) is a Frankensteinian amalgam of publishers and data brokers, stitched together into a single information giant. There is one other company that compares to RELX—Thomson Reuters, which is also an amalgamation of hundreds of smaller publishers and data services. Together, the two companies have amassed thousands of academic publications and business profiles, millions of data dossiers containing our personal information, and the entire corpus of US law. These companies are a culmination of the kind of information market consolidation that’s happening across media industries, from music and newspapers to book publishing. However, RELX and Thomson Reuters are uniquely creepy as media companies that don’t just publish content but also sell our personal data.

 

Data Cartels: The Companies That Control and Monopolize Our Information – Sarah Lamdan

“In our digital world, data is power. Information hoarding businesses reign supreme, using intimidation, aggression, and force to maintain influence and control. Sarah Lamdan brings us into the unregulated underworld of these “data cartels”, demonstrating how the entities mining, commodifying, and selling our data and informational resources perpetuate social inequalities and threaten the democratic sharing of knowledge.

 

 

 

“Just a few companies dominate most of our critical informational resources. Often self-identifying as “data analytics” or “business solutions” operations, they supply the digital lifeblood that flows through the circulatory system of the internet. With their control over data, they can prevent the free flow of information, masterfully exploiting outdated information and privacy laws and curating online information in a way that amplifies digital racism and targets marginalized communities. They can also distribute private information to predatory entities. Alarmingly, everything they’re doing is perfectly legal.

 

 

 

In this book, Lamdan contends that privatization and tech exceptionalism have prevented us from creating effective legal regulation. This in turn has allowed oversized information oligopolies to coalesce. In addition to specific legal and market-based solutions, Lamdan calls for treating information like a public good and creating digital infrastructure that supports our democratic ideals….”

Open Editors: A dataset of scholarly journals’ editorial board positions | Research Evaluation | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  Editormetrics analyses the role of editors of academic journals and their impact on the scientific publication system. Such analyses would best rely on open, structured, and machine-readable data about editors and editorial boards, which still remains rare. To address this shortcoming, the project Open Editors collects data about academic journal editors on a large scale and structures them into a single dataset. It does so by scraping the websites of 7,352 journals from 26 publishers (including predatory ones), thereby structuring publicly available information (names, affiliations, editorial roles, ORCID etc.) about 594,580 researchers. The dataset shows that journals and publishers are immensely heterogeneous in terms of editorial board sizes, regional diversity, and editorial role labels. All codes and data are made available at Zenodo, while the result is browsable at a dedicated website (https://openeditors.ooir.org). This dataset carries implications for both practical purposes of research evaluation and for meta-scientific investigations into the landscape of scholarly publications, and allows for critical inquiries regarding the representation of diversity and inclusivity across academia.

 

Promoting Open Science through bibliometrics | LIBER Quarterly: The Journal of the Association of European Research Libraries

Abstract:  In order to assess the progress of Open Science in France, the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation published the French Open Science Monitor in 2019. Even if this tool has a bias, for only the publications with a DOI can be considered, thus promoting article-dominant research communities, its indicators are trustworthy and reliable. The University of Lorraine was the very first institution to reuse the National Monitor in order to create a new version at the scale of one university in 2020. Since its release, the Lorraine Open Science Monitor has been reused by many other institutions. In 2022, the French Open Science Monitor further evolved, enabling new insights on open science. The Lorraine Open Science Monitor has also evolved since it began. This paper details how the initial code for the Lorraine Open Science Monitor was developed and disseminated. It then outlines plans for development in the next few years.

 

Analyzing repositories of OER using web analytics and accessibility tools | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Open Educational Resources (OER) provide learning opportunities for all. Usually, OER and links to OER are curated in Repositories of OER (ROER) for open access and use by anyone, including people with disabilities, at any place at any time. This study analyzes the reputation/ authoritativeness, usage, and accessibility of thirteen popular ROER for teaching and learning using three Web Analytics and five Web Accessibility tools. A high difference among the ROER was observed in almost every metric. Millions of users visit some of these ROER every month and on average stay 2–26 min per visit and view 1.1–8.5 pages per visit. Although in many ROER most of their visitors come from the country where the ROER hosting institute operates, other ROER (such as DOER, MIT OCW, and OpenLearn) have managed to attract visitors from all over the world. In some ROER, their visitors come directly to their website while in a few other ROER visitors are coming after visiting a search engine. Although most ROER are accessible by users with disabilities, the Web Accessibility tools revealed several errors in few ROER. In most ROER, less than one third of the traffic is coming from mobile devices although almost everyone has a mobile phone nowadays. Finally, the study makes suggestions to ROER administrators such as interconnecting their ROER, collaborating, exchanging good practices (such as Commons and MIT OCW), improving their website accessibility and mobile-optimized design, as well as promoting their ROER to libraries, educational institutes, and organizations.

 

From paywall builders to data tracking moguls or.. How the big publishers have put on a new super vilain costume. – The political economy of academic publications

“Elsevier is a felon, that is a given. This company epitomizes all the crimes, misdemeanors and petty theft that can be accomplished by a publisher. Its wikipedia page is so full of affairs, scandals and raunchy stories that it would be enough to read it to give a talk to an academic congress. And yet Elsevier still find new ways to extract value from academic communities, which both produces new profits and new critiques. This post is the story of the publisher becoming a data company….”

Elsevier’s Acquisition of Interfolio: Risks and Responses – SPARC: Community Owned Infrastructure | report JUN 29, 2022

“This analysis details the potential risks posed by Elsevier’s acquisition of Interfolio, what institutions should watch for, and proactive steps institutions can take to reduce the negative impacts of consolidation….”

Threats to Academic Freedom under the Guise of Open Access – Verfassungsblog

“Developments in the publishing system increasingly suggest that the access revolution is much less revolutionary than expected. Reports gradually bring to light the extent to which publishers started to use the data tracking tools developed by “pioneers” such as Google and Facebook (see e.g. this informative briefing paper under the umbrella of the DFG, the German Research Foundation). This development could not only be the final blow for the Open Access movement’s potential to more radically and structurally change the way knowledge is being disseminated in the digital age – namely with a less prominent role played by commercial publishers. It furthermore means a systematic threat to the autonomy of the science system and academic freedom in the digital age….”