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About us Policy and strategy A Roadmap to Data Autonomy

New blog on Data Autonomy: Overpaid bankers? Think again. Scientific publishers top the charts

31 augustus 2023

Authors: Lukas Linsi, Léonie de Jonge, David Cheruiyot and Niels Bieleveld.

In which sector do the highest-paid Dutch CEOs work? The banking industry? Tech industry? No, it's scientific publishers. This is what we found during our research about executive compensation practices in the Netherlands between 2017-2020. The figures come from companies' annual reports.

Besides the mind boggling profit margins, there are other reasons to question the current academic publishing system. First and foremost, universities are becoming increasingly dependent on commercial publishers, which has the potential to undermine academic freedom. Following in the footsteps of large tech companies such as Facebook, Amazon, or Google, scientific publishers have further expanded their business models towards data analytics. As part of that strategy, they have gained control over large parts of the research infrastructure of universities by acquiring companies that play crucial roles in various parts of the research cycle. The outsourcing of the research infrastructure to commercial parties carries significant risks that include concerns about privacy, data protection and data autonomy, as well as financial risks.
While there is some debate at Dutch universities about privacy concerns with regards to Google, similar discussions about publishers remain scarce. More generally, there is little push-back from the academic community against ‘vender lock-in’ practices of scientific publishers. This needs to change.

Roadmap to Data Autonomy

The CIT has started the discussion to investigate the possibilities of how the University of Groningen can gain more autonomy over its data in the future. Together with various representatives from across the University, we are working on a roadmap to promote data autonomy and a strategy that will enable the UG to respect, protect and promote academic freedom in the digital age.

Laatst gewijzigd:05 september 2023 15:22

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