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 have to offer?

Abstract Purpose: Analyze the capabilities, functionalities and appropriateness of 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 On the other, we use Clarivate’s Master Book List, to analyze’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: 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, 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’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….”

Flipping journals or filling pockets? Publisher manipulation of OA policies | Unlocking Research

“As was predicted early 2013, by the Chairman of the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee: “Current UK open access policy risks incentivising publishers to introduce or increase embargo periods”. By September 2013, there was clear evidence this was happening.

Now, in the final year of the RCUK transition period, the situation is far, far worse….

Elsevier, Wiley and more recently Emerald are all examples of publishers that have at some point dictated different conditions for authors following open access mandates, but as of the date of this post do not discriminate authors on the basis of their funding.

This last technique to squeeze every penny out of government funds is possibly the most cynical and puts even more lie to the claims publishers make about the necessity for embargo periods. Either making an author’s accepted manuscript available in a repository causes the cancellation of journal subscriptions or it doesn’t. The funding behind the research described in the paper is irrelevant.

And yet we continue to comply and we continue to pay. The RCUK is morphing into UK Research and Innovation on 1 April 2018. This is the time to take serious stock of the policies that have lined the pockets of big academic publishing companies and change them to achieve the actual end goal which is the dissemination of research. Green over gold people.”


Biting the hand that feeds – the obfuscation of publishers | Unlocking Research

Let’s not pull any punches here. We are unimpressed. Late last week HEFCE published a blog: Are UK universities on track to meet open access requirements? In the blog HEFCE identified the key issues in meeting OA requirements as:

  • The complexity of the OA environment
  • Resource constraints
  • Cultural resistance to OA
  • Inadequate technical infrastructure.

Right. So the deliberate obstruction to Open Access by the academic publishing industry doesn’t factor at all?…”

Publishing models, assessment, and open science: Report and outcomes from a workshop held by the Global Young Academy


“D. “Open” science

? What should “open access” actually mean, and where does it go wrong?

? What steps should be taken immediately in order to make the voice of researchers heard?

? How “open” should science be? Why does “open science” work or not work?

? To what extent is “openness” in conflict with receiving deserved credit?

? Does “open” imply a mandate to communicate rather than just publish?

? Who owns science? What proprietary rights should be protected, and how does copyright go together with openness?

? How should we value the creation of research data?

? How do we break away from “quality” being associated with specific forms of output and context? (? quality assessment) …

 Given that most members of the public are unable to understand the research articles, “open access” constitutes no more than “open retrieval” for them, and they do not benefit directly…

Open Access, Social Justice, and the Moral Imperative: Why OA Publishing Matters to WGS

Abstract:  Students in the discipline of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies are uniquely positioned to critically engage with systems of power and apply academic theory to real world practice as a field that has a clear and implicit social justice angle to its scholarship. The Open Access movement can benefit from the critical theories used in WGS as a means of ensuring maximum inclusivity of the movement. Further, WGS students must acknowledge their privileged position within an academic institution and publish in ways that undermine the systems of power that lock up knowledge behind a toll in order to align their practices with the values of the discipline.


How open data can help the world better manage coral reefs

Climate change is a complex, worldwide problem that needs a global solution. One part of which is good monitoring systems, that operate at a large scale. Broad scale datasets from these systems are required to understand how vulnerable ecosystems like coral reefs are changing, and to separate that information from natural variation.

Often, however, scientists that collect coral reef monitoring data do so in isolation. They work on independent research projects, or for relatively small programmes with specific local agenda, and so don’t always make their data available to the scientific community. The pressure on academic researchers to be the first to publish their findings also disincentives data sharing. So there can be a conflict of interest between the motivations of an individual scientist and the larger advancement of science.

More practically, getting data ready to share is time consuming, particularly when there aren’t standardised monitoring procedures or a good data management infrastructure in place. In the absence of good management, data can simply be lost as people move on, taking lab books, data sheets and external hard drives with them.

But these barriers can be overcome. Through, for example, open access journals that publish scientifically valuable datasets. Peer-reviewed, citable datasets with standardised meta-data promotes sharing and reusability, while also recognising the researchers behind it….”