Author : Kristin A Briney
Data handling in library learning analytics plays a pivotal role in protecting patron privacy, yet the landscape of data management by librarians is poorly understood.
This critical review examines data-handling practices from 54 learning analytics studies in academic libraries and compares them against the NISO Consensus Principles on User’s Digital Privacy in Library, Publisher, and Software-Provider Systems and data management best practices.
A number of the published research projects demonstrate inadequate data protection practices including incomplete anonymization, prolonged data retention, collection of a broad scope of sensitive information, lack of informed consent, and sharing of patron-identified information.
As with researchers more generally, libraries should improve their data management practices. No studies aligned with the NISO Principles in all evaluated areas, but several studies provide specific exemplars of good practice.
Libraries can better protect patron privacy by improving data management practices in learning analytics research.
URL : Data Management Practices in Academic Library Learning Analytics: A Critical Review
DOI : https://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2268
Accurate data is vital to enlightened research and policymaking, particularly publicly available data that are redacted to protect the identity of individuals.
Legal academics, however, are campaigning against data anonymization as a means to protect privacy, contending that wealth of information available on the Internet enables malfeasors to reverse-engineer the data and identify individuals within them.
Privacy scholars advocate for new legal restrictions on the collection and dissemination of research data. This Article challenges the dominant wisdom, arguing that properly de-identified data is not only safe, but of extraordinary social utility.
It makes three core claims. First, legal scholars have misinterpreted the relevant literature from computer science and statistics, and thus have significantly overstated the futility of anonymizing data. Second, the available evidence demonstrates that the risks from anonymized data are theoretical – they rarely, if ever, materialize. Finally, anonymized data is crucial to beneficial social research, and constitutes a public resource – a commons – under threat of depletion.
The Article concludes with a radical proposal: since current privacy policies overtax valuable research without reducing any realistic risks, law should provide a safe harbor for the dissemination of research data.”
URL : http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1789749