Preprint Open Access

The Reading of Others

Siems, Renke

In recent years, the major science publishers have evolved away from publishing content providers to data analytics businesses. As platform companies, they generate high margins and use this capital to buy up alternative offers emerging from the science community and to expand into other business areas. The goal is to make themselves indispensable in all central processes of the research life cycle, so that we should see this as a vendor lock-in, just as it is known from the information sector. To this end, publishers have equipped their platforms with tools for comprehensive user tracking. At the same time, they are trying to bring access authentication under their control in order to ensure personalized access to each user. Some publishers or their parent corporations also intertwine with the security industry and (semi-)government actors in opaque data deals that also bring university networks into view. This essay attempts to analyze this development and outline the consequences.

This text is a machine-based translation of the journal article »Das Lesen der Anderen« in order to provide easier access for non-German speaking interested parties, also the german language quotes were therefore transferred. Consider this version a »post-print derivative« and please refer to the original in case of references or citations: Siems, R. (2022). Das Lesen der Anderen: Die Auswirkungen von User Tracking auf Bibliotheken. O-Bib. Das Offene Bibliotheksjournal / Herausgeber VDB, 9(1), 1–25.

There have been requested "corrections" to this article by OCLC. This has been declined by both the editors of the journal "o-bib", where "Das Lesen der Anderen" first was published, and by me as the author. You will find our comments as well as the letter of OCLC here (in german):

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