Prevalence of Medical Journal Websites That Deny Access to Users Who Block Browser Cookies | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network
peter.suber's bookmarks 2021-03-31
Abstract: Medical journal publishers have recently taken steps to improve public access to research findings.1,2 While these changes have been credited with promoting patient empowerment,3,4 accessing research related to particular health conditions may carry privacy risks for patients. For-profit companies use website tracking tools to capture information about individuals based on their online activity. These tools raise privacy concerns when they are used on health-related websites where users’ browsing behavior may reveal sensitive information.5,6
One step patients can take to protect their privacy when accessing research findings is to adjust their browser settings to block cookies, the data stored on a user’s computer that may be used to identify and track users across multiple websites. However, websites may deny access to users who block cookies, forcing users to choose between accepting privacy risks or foregoing access to content. If medical journal websites employ such practices, it may undermine efforts to improve public access to research findings. We investigated medical journal websites to assess the prevalence of and factors associated with access denial to users blocking browser cookies.