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

Fraser Taylor FraserTaylor at Cunet.Carleton.Ca
Thu May 28 13:54:18 EDT 2020

There are  examples of Private companies  using Indigenous knowledge of the medical properties of plants for their own commercial advantage and copywriting or patenting that knowledge without the knowledge or consent of the communities involved .

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From: CODATA-international <codata-international-bounces at lists.codata.org> on behalf of Hans Pfeiffenberger <hp at hans-pfeiffenberger.de>
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2020 1:28:03 PM
To: codata-international at lists.codata.org <codata-international at lists.codata.org>
Subject: Re: [CODATA-international] Brown (2020) Big Secret in the Academy (article) on Open Access and lack thereof

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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 fast!


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From: CODATA-international <codata-international-bounces at lists.codata.org><mailto:codata-international-bounces at lists.codata.org> on behalf of Mercury Fox <ceds at email.arizona.edu><mailto:ceds at email.arizona.edu>
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:31:28 AM
Cc: CODATA International <codata-international at lists.codata.org><mailto:codata-international at lists.codata.org>
Subject: Re: [CODATA-international] Brown (2020) Big Secret in the Academy (article) on Open Access and lack thereof

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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
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

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:

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

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