[CODATA-international] Brown (2020) Big Secret in the Academy (article) on Open Access and lack thereof

Hans Pfeiffenberger hp at hans-pfeiffenberger.de
Thu May 28 13:28:03 EDT 2020

Am 28.05.20 um 16:28 schrieb Fraser Taylor:
> The protection of Indigenous knowledge is very important and this is 
> covered in Article Six. The reality however is that the issues 
> covered by the article are so broad that anyone wishing to keep 
> their data private can do so. This was an uneasy compromise but the 
> general thrust to keep data open is clear.

The phrase "there are legitimate reasons to restrict access to and 
reuse of data, including interests of national security, law 
enforcement, privacy, confidentiality, intellectual property" has been 
part of every declaration on open data of the last decade I am aware 
of, which has been (formally) endorsed by major institutions. At least 
in the case of those I was involved in, I happen to know that without 
it there would have been no endorsement.

The only part of that phrase I am truly comfortable with is the word 
"legitimate": Exactly because the clause is so broad and vague, and, 
in the better declarations, it is bracketed by the principle "as open 
as possible, as closed as necessary" and the requirement of "express 
justification" (in each case), each case of not disclosing data can be 
subjected to scrutiny and the onus is on the person, institution or 
country holding it back.

Falk made us aware of an interesting article. While it it does not 
fully justify the claim in the title that "Most Research Is Secret" 
(that may just be true in the US) - it unrolls the unfortunate 
consequences of research compromised by secrecy. This article and its 
topic of health physics provide a very clear rationale why, in this 
case, there was no legitimacy to keeping research results secret.

It would perhaps be good to assemble a collection of case studies - 
such as this one, but also ones that underpin valid, legitimate 
reasons *for* restrictions  - to help guide the ethically and 
scientifically sound evaluation of the justifications of restrictions. 
(Of course, such studies would need to be subject to, preferably open, 
peer review and/or other quality control, to avoid being misled by 
narrative based on false claims.)

For example, which detrimental things happen when Indigenous knowledge 
is made openly available?
I somehow remember a case in the UK, where the tobacco industry tried 
to use a "freedom of information" act to get at data from a study on 
how juveniles acquired the addiction to smoking - and anyone can guess 
how they would have used it. Scientific rules might have said that 
data should best be open to scrutiny - but ethics clearly says: Not so 


> Get Outlook for iOS <https://aka.ms/o0ukef>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* CODATA-international 
> <codata-international-bounces at lists.codata.org> on behalf of Mercury 
> Fox <ceds at email.arizona.edu>
> *Sent:* Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:31:28 AM
> *Cc:* CODATA International <codata-international at lists.codata.org>
> *Subject:* Re: [CODATA-international] Brown (2020) Big Secret in the 
> Academy (article) on Open Access and lack thereof
> [External Email]
> The Beijing Declaration on Research Data 
> <https://zenodo.org/record/3552330#.Xs-tt9rQhEY> has a prescription 
> for closed research data in article 6, although I see that the final 
> version removed the recommendation for data management plans include 
> an embargo expiration date.
> On Wed, May 27, 2020 at 5:31 PM Falk Huettmann 
> <fhuettmann at alaska.edu <mailto:fhuettmann at alaska.edu>> wrote:
>     Dear Kind Colleagues,
>     as most people on this listerserver and in agencies promote the
>     news that we are all moving towards Open Access, and that things
>     get better that way and more transparent, or even more
>     trustworthy,
>     I would like to share with you below a recent article by the
>     esteemed American Association of
>     University Professors (AAUP), titled
>     The Big Secret in the Academy Is That Most Research Is Secret:
>     The dangerous rift between open and classified research, Spring 2020
>     By Kate Brown
>     https://www.aaup.org/article/big-secret-academy-most-research-secret#.Xs7TDERKhhE
>     It deals with Chernobyl as a case study but has many wider
>     implications and statements within on data access issues and the
>     sciences, globally.
>     It mirrors what I know and see, and what I have expressed last
>     years.
>     It also reminds of such type of works (see facts and details
>     within, specifically data and digital society issues) like:
>     https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/533258/how-will-capitalism-end-by-wolfgang-streeck/
>     https://www.amazon.com/Against-Everything-Essays-Mark-Greif-ebook/dp/B019B6WTZW
>     https://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Wars-Battlefield-Jeremy-Scahill/dp/156858671X
>     The best way to proceed here, in a good way, is to fully
>     acknowledge the status quo,
>     and then improve on it dramatically for betterment.
>     I lack those acknowledgements though and actions even, or a
>     valid vision, beyond just arbitrary piecemeal with many loop
>     holes and ineffciencies.
>     That's my view.
>     Thanks, please keep me posted on this topic.
>     Very best regards
>        Falk Huettmann  PhD, Professor
>          University of Alaska Fairbanks
>     _______________________________________________
>     CODATA-international mailing list
>     CODATA-international at lists.codata.org
>     <mailto:CODATA-international at lists.codata.org>
>     http://lists.codata.org/mailman/listinfo/codata-international_lists.codata.org
> -- 
> *Merc Fox
> *Director, CODATA Center of Excellence in Data for Society at the 
> University of Arizona
> Data7 + iSchool + NNI + CDSDS
> Tucson AZ ♦Washington DC
> (520) 261-4997
> https://ceds.arizona.edu
> https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0726-7301
> Tucson and the University of Arizona are located on Tohono O'odham 
> Nation homelands  and the lands of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.
> This email contains links to content or websites. Always be cautious 
> when clicking on external links or attachments. If in doubt, please 
> forward suspicious emails to phishing at carleton.ca.
> -----End of Disclaimer-----
> _______________________________________________
> CODATA-international mailing list
> CODATA-international at lists.codata.org
> http://lists.codata.org/mailman/listinfo/codata-international_lists.codata.org

Hans Pfeiffenberger
Consultant, scientific data infrastructures & policies

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.codata.org/pipermail/codata-international_lists.codata.org/attachments/20200528/978bacad/attachment.html>

More information about the CODATA-international mailing list