Report gauges potential risks to scholars and universities if publishers capture research and student data
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-05-01
"As their traditional print-based business models erode, major scholarly and textbook publishers are transitioning from being content providers to technology and data companies, too.
The stakes go far beyond the companies' own financial success: their collective platforms and tools -- the research databases owned by Elsevier and Clarivate, for example, or the data that Pearson and Cengage collect through their "inclusive access" programs and homework software -- could help them "influence, and perhaps exert control over, key university decisions, ranging from student assessment to research integrity to financial planning," says a new report commissioned by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, or SPARC.
The companies' successful capture of data about student and faculty behavior, research output, and institutional productivity, the authors warn, "could significantly reduce institutions' and scholars' rights to their data and related intellectual property." ...
As befits a document that SPARC officials portray as more objective landscape analysis than advocacy framework (SPARC officials say they plan to release a strategic "road map" in the coming weeks to help institutions and scholars respond to the market), the report offers little in the way of recommendations.
It suggests, however, that colleges and universities consider some "risk mitigation" strategies such as writing into contracts with publishers that the institutions (rather than the companies) own data produced by their digital tools and that colleges refuse to sign contracts that contain nondisclosure agreements...."