December 2, 2020

Eric Hellman on Privacy, Research Journals, and User Tracking

A tip of the infoDOCKET cap to Eric Hellman for his new post about the use of user tracking tools by the publishers of 20 top research journals.

Hellman writes:

I used Ghostery to count the number of trackers present on the web page for an article in each journal. Each of these trackers gets a feed of each user’s browsing behavior. I looked at the trackers to see if user browsing behavior was being sent to advertising networks. I also determined whether the journal supported secure connections. Based on these results, I assigned a letter grade for each journal.

Read the Complete Post and the Grades (Not Very Good) Assigned to Each Publication

Note from Gary Price: Founder/Editor of infoDOCKET:

On a related note…

I was recently taking a look at the PubMed.gov version of PubMed, the massive database of medical and related research that’s provided by the National Library of Medicine.to learn about tracking and encryption being or not being used with this important research tool from the National Library of Medicine. Like Eric, I also used Ghostery to research. 

The good news is that unlike many other library web sites and databases PubMed.gov does not utilize any tracking tools (including Google Analytics) on their home/interface page or results pages. 

The not so good news is that PubMed.gov does not use encryption  when sending  data (search queries) over the Internet. So, as we’ve pointed out before, what a user types and searches be easily seen by anyone using any number of tool. Moreover, this data is associated with the specific computer or device conducting the search.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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