[Edling] Making Lists and the Dangerous Politics of Academia (was RE: ORCiD)

Francis Hult francis.hult at englund.lu.se
Wed Oct 25 06:45:02 EDT 2017

As a reverberation of the potential consequences of making lists of academics, this recent story about tracking scholars teaching about Brexit is both intriguing and alarming:



From: Francis Hult
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 22:03
To: Wheeler, Helen; The Educational Linguistics List
Subject: Re: ORCiD

Dear Helen,

Since Mary Jane copied the Edling List on this exchange, I would like to add to her remarks and consolidate a number of concerns about ORCID.

First and foremost, we as researchers must have a choice about whether or not we are listed in a global registry of scholars.  The flurry of e-mails that have come from Taylor & Francis include notices about some journals for which ORCID is planned to be required (e.g., International Multilingual Research Journal; International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism; Language, Culture and Curriculum; Innovation in Language Teaching and Learning) and journals for which ORCID is planned to be optional but strongly encouraged (e.g., Pedagogies; Critical Inquiry in Language Studies; Language & Education; Journal of Language Identity & Education).  The journal editors with whom I have been in contacted indicated that they were not consulted about this initiative or about making ORCID required or optional.  Further troubling is that several editors who independently responded to me, said that they felt that they had no authority with which to have input on this issue with Taylor & Francis.  The optics of this are not good.  It appears as though a major corporation (Informa via Taylor & Francis) is strong-arming researchers into a global registry of scholars where, as you say, "many publishers (including us [Taylor & Francis]) have invested heavily in the organization."

There are a number of reasons to be concerned about ORCID:

Commodification of intellectual work.  As Mary Jane points out, this has only become a bigger issue with the advent of technologies to monitor scholarship.  There can be no doubt that ORCID will contribute further to such monitoring and commodification.  It is fully transparent when one looks at the list of ORCID partners (https://orcid.org/members), which include:

Academic Analytics
"Academic Analytics is a full-service provider of business intelligence solutions for higher education leaders, providing comprehensive faculty scholarly productivity data and custom solutions to facilitate monitoring, assessment and improvement at all levels of the university."

Altmetric LLP
"Altmetric tracks the impact of scholarly works online, on behalf of publishers, institutions and funders. We track thousands of papers a day and organize them by journal, subject and publisher."

Clarivate Analytics
"Clarivate Analytics, formerly the IP & Science Business of Thomson Reuters, accelerates the pace of innovation by providing trusted insights and analytics to customers around the world, enabling them to discover, protect and commercialize new ideas, faster."

Digital Measures
"Digital Measures focuses exclusively on web-based data management and reporting for universities. More than 250,000 faculty members at 60% of the largest 500 universities in the United States trust Activity Insight (TM), the industry standard faculty activity reporting solution."

"Capture activities, outputs and outcomes using a structured and consistent set of common outcomes between funders. Track pathways to impact using a common portal."

These are companies that are in the business of data mining, tracking, and monitoring individuals.  Their work goes far and beyond the simple disambiguation of researchers with similar or identical names.  They are on the cutting edge of commodifying academic outputs and the reduction of intellectual work to metrics.  It is not unreasonable to be concerned about an entity like ORCID that serves as a nexus point between publishers that profit from scholarly production and entities that profit from the monitoring of such production.  It is disconcerting, to say the least, that ORCID is being framed mainly as a benefit to researchers when it is its partners who will profit from its use.

Potential oppression and misuse.  ORCID facilitates easy tracking of scholars and their research.  A global registry of scholars that gives each researcher a personal identification number is potentially dangerous.  Such identifiers can easily be used by oppressive regimes to identify researchers who do work that is socially or politically threatening.  It does not take much imagination, for instance, to consider how ultra-nationalist political parties in Europe could come into greater power and then misuse a registry like ORCID to target researchers who write about plurilingualism and multiculturalism.  The unique personal identification numbers of ORCID can also be combined with other databases.  How might the Russian government potentially use ORCID in combination with travel and immigration databases to restrict the mobility of scholars who write about LGBTQ issues (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Russia)?  How might the Chinese government use it to restrict the mobility of scholars who work on Uyghur issues (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/03/world/asia/xinjiang-seethes-under-chinese-crackdown.html?_r=0)?  Recent sociopolitical issues in places like Hungary, Poland, and Turkey suggest other possibilities.  While existing tools (like LLBA or Google Scholar) exist to seek out research, none of these amount to a global registry of scholars like ORCID aims to be by providing unique personal identification numbers that facilitate personal electronic tracking.

Information security.  All electronic systems are vulnerable.  While ORCID is ostensibly about creating unique individual identifiers, we know very little about the potential risks from fraudulent use.  Even major government identification systems, like the US social security number, are vulnerable to fraud.

In addition, a global registry of scholars would not be an unattractive target for hacking.  Any variety of personal information can be used as a starting point (http://www.bitrebels.com/technology/easy-hackers-get-information/).  How might the information in the ORCID registry potentially be used for identity theft or phishing?  One way in which people choose to manage security is to limit the number of electronic registries and databases into which they enter personal information.

Unintended consequences.  In addition to the risks based on what we currently know about ORCID and its partners, there are questions to consider that suggest possible unintended consequences.  Who will the future partners be?  How will they make use of unique personal identification numbers for all published researchers in the world?  What is the potential to monetize the registry?  How do ORCID's partners profit from our personal information?  What is the potential for ORCID to fall under the hands of new leadership and management?  For example, could the registry be transferred from non-profit stewardship to management by a for-profit entity?  How might ORCID numbers be used to monitor our intellectual networks?  How will the registry contribute to the further commodification of our work?  Will it facilitate the next generation of "h-index" that will measure researchers using more robust influence metrics like we currently see for social media such as Klout (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klout) or Kred (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kred_Influence_Measurement)?

Dignity.  Not all of us as researchers wish to be, like inmates in a prison, known by a number.  Not all of us wish to be included in a global registry of scholars.  In the European Data Protection Supervisor's (2015) paper entitled Towards a New Digital Ethics (https://edps.europa.eu/sites/edp/files/publication/15-09-11_data_ethics_en.pdf), it reads "the dignity of the human person is not only a fundamental right in itself but also is a foundation for subsequent freedoms and rights, including the rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data. Violations of dignity may include objectification, where a person is treated as a tool serving someone else's purposes" (p. 12).

In all, there may be benefits to using ORCID but there are also risks.  Researchers must be able to decide for themselves, of their own free will, whether or not they will join the global registry of scholars.  They must do so with informed consent, including weighing the risks and benefits for themselves.  When Taylor & Francis presents us with the ultimatum of complying with ORCID registry or being excluded from participation in many of our field's major journals, it is not much of a free choice.  We should not be put in the position between staying true to our ethical and moral values and being excluded from the intellectual exchange afforded by these journals.  ORCID should be an option for authors and reviewers who want to use it, not be a requirement.

Yours sincerely,

Francis Hult

Francis M. Hult, PhD
Associate Professor
Centre for Languages and Literature
Lund University

Web: http://www.sol.lu.se/en/person/FrancisHult<https://webmail.lu.se/owa/redir.aspx?SURL=EpnktrfB15IHPeIrBHQoeWbPqDJ0e0hlxBDhQUiAxeAZw3-Cx0LTCGgAdAB0AHAAOgAvAC8AdwB3AHcALgBzAG8AbAAuAGwAdQAuAHMAZQAvAGUAbgAvAHAAZQByAHMAbwBuAC8ARgByAGEAbgBjAGkAcwBIAHUAbAB0AA..&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.sol.lu.se%2fen%2fperson%2fFrancisHult>

Editor, Educational Linguistics book series

Co-editor, Contributions to the Sociology of Language book series

From: Edling <edling-bounces at bunner.geol.lu.se> on behalf of Curry, MJ <mjcurry at Warner.Rochester.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 14:57
To: Wheeler, Helen
Cc: Educational List
Subject: Re: [Edling] ORCiD

Dear Helen,

Not only I but all of my colleagues have been inundated with this inane notification. It was a total waste of time to be informed of something that will be happening in the future. Please let me explain my objections and those of many of my colleagues.

We are currently in an era where knowledge production is increasingly commodified, primarily for the benefit of corporations such as yours. Individual researchers have very little monetary reward for our intellectual work, as has been well documented. We do reviews for free (I wish I could say it was on my university’s time, but the reality is otherwise) and we spend weeks if not longer writing papers that are also not compensated.

It makes no sense to track reviewers and many of us are objecting to the increasing ‘audit’ culture in academic knowledge production, where practically every effort we make is quantified and monitored.

I disagree that the email suggests journals are ‘encouraging’ reviewers to use ORDiD. The email clearly states that it will be required. And T&F journal editors don’t seem to have had any say. According to Carol Taylor, editor of Gender and Education:

"As Editors we had very little input into this process, and it was very much a corporate level decision that Taylor & Francis journals are going to be using ORCID. I personally don't have a problem with it and can even see some advantages but I can also see that it further extends the panoptic gaze of neoliberal power over researchers' psyche. I'm sorry to hear you won't be reviewing for us any longer. We value all the work that you've done for us as a reviewer over the years. If at any point you want to reconsider, we'd love to have you back with us."

I hope you will take this feedback and other comments you’ve received and moderate your policy. Otherwise your journals may be likely to suffer an even more severe shortage of reviewers.

All the best,

Mary Jane Curry, PhD
Associate Professor
Warner Graduate School of Education
University of Rochester
474 LeChase Hall, 585.273.5934

Co-chair, UR Faculty Senate, 2016-17, 2017-18
Director, Warner Writing Support Services
Associate Editor, Brief Research Reports, TESOL Quarterly

From: "Wheeler, Helen" <Helen.Wheeler at tandf.co.uk<mailto:Helen.Wheeler at tandf.co.uk>>
Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 6:27 AM
To: M J Curry <mjcurry at warner.rochester.edu<mailto:mjcurry at warner.rochester.edu>>
Subject: RE: ORCiD

Dear Mary Jane Curry,

Many thanks for your messages.

First of all, please do accept my sincere apologies that you have been inundated with messages regarding journals that will shortly be looking to encourage those associated with it to make use of ORCiD. Unfortunately as every journal has its own independently managed database of contacts, there was no way to co-ordinate these communications despite all best efforts to do so.

In terms of the journals you regularly work with (Educational Action Research, Language & Education, Teaching Education, Gender and Education and Asia Pacific Journal of Education) none of these titles will be requiring ORCiD IDs from their authors or reviewers, they are simply encouraging their networks to use the system should it be appropriate to do so.

I would certainly be interested to hear why you do not feel ORCiD is a useful service, as many publishers (including us) have invested heavily in the organization.

Again, please do accept my apologies for the inconvenience these mailings have caused you.

With best wishes,

Helen Wheeler – Managing Editor, Education Journals
Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
4 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN, UK.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7017 6377
Web: www.tandfonline.com<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.tandfonline.com_&d=DwMGaQ&c=kbmfwr1Yojg42sGEpaQh5ofMHBeTl9EI2eaqQZhHbOU&r=_rMj7-Pgoc9IWqUnTVAZ6aLZ1r8V9PaRLjSW-DQVx4E&m=rQ1LHE_vmYVguTojlf1szsHaumZxTvRz_qDGrv8lbaQ&s=BZ-vTfbCFZkK527x58A16wCXgTMC8CsUBWeg7XLMddI&e=>
e-mail: helen.wheeler at tandf.co.uk<mailto:helen.wheeler at tandf.co.uk>

Taylor & Francis is a trading name of Informa UK Limited,
registered in England under no. 1072954

From: Curry, Mary Jane [mailto:mjcurry at Warner.Rochester.edu]
Sent: 26 May 2017 16:45
To: Wheeler, Helen <Helen.Wheeler at tandf.co.uk<mailto:Helen.Wheeler at tandf.co.uk>>
Subject: Re: Educational Action Research and ORCiD

I will no longer be reviewing for journals that require me to use ORCid.
And these absurd emails previewing the request to use ORCiD are a massive
waste of time!

Mary Jane Curry, PhD
Associate Professor
Warner Graduate School of Education
University of Rochester
474 LeChase Hall, 585.273.5934

Co-chair, UR Faculty Senate, 2016-17, 2017-18
Director, Warner Writing Support Services
Associate Editor, Brief Research Reports, TESOL Quarterly

On 5/26/17, 9:35 AM,
"onbehalfof+helen.wheeler+tandf.co.uk at manuscriptcentral.com on behalf of
Educational Action Research<mailto:onbehalfof+helen.wheeler+tandf.co.uk at manuscriptcentral.com%20on%20behalf%20of%0bEducational%20Action%20Research>"
<onbehalfof+helen.wheeler+tandf.co.uk at manuscriptcentral.com<mailto:onbehalfof+helen.wheeler+tandf.co.uk at manuscriptcentral.com>> wrote:

>Dear Professor Mary Jane Curry,
>We are pleased to announce that from Wednesday, 14th June Educational
>Action Research will be participating in an exciting initiative designed
>to increase the use and uptake of ORCiD
>C23QrC6kQdaEb7jNcWO4IfSnAE1SHkwD6Oc&e= ).
>As you may already know, ORCiD is a freely available digital identifier
>service that directly links a researcher to their work, ensuring an
>individual and their publication/research activities can be easily
>distinguished and identified by anyone anywhere in the world.
>To facilitate this initiative, we will be strongly encouraging all users
>of the journal¹s ScholarOne Manuscripts peer-review system to add their
>ORCiD ID to their account information over the next few weeks in
>preparation of the initiative¹s launch in June.
>If you do not already have an ORCiD you can easily and quickly register
>for one here;
>_Pi2YsdixGFYXgJCW-e3iqAc8db9S2oSVmb9ULB3jU&e= .
>When adding your ORCiD ID to your ScholarOne account, it would be useful
>if you could please review all your other registered account details;
>affiliation, preferred contact information, keywords indicating your
>areas of expertise, etc., to ensure we have the most up-to-date and
>accurate information for you on file.
>For more information on the benefits of ORCiD, please see below.
>Educational Action Research and Routledge thank you in advance for your
>assistance in this matter.
>With best wishes
>Educational Action Research Editorial Office
>Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
>What is ORCiD?
>ORCiD is non-profit organisation dedicated to solving the long-standing
>name ambiguity problem in scholarly communication. Once registered with
>ORCiD, an individual has signed up to a freely available digital
>identifier service that directly links a researcher to their work,
>ensuring that individuals and their publication/research activities can
>be easily distinguished and identified by anyone anywhere in the world.
>ORCiD is increasingly being used by those who recognise the fundamental
>need for researchers to be accurately and easily identified and, through
>integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant
>submission, ORCiD is rapidly becoming a required piece of identifying
>information in many familiar situations within the academic environment.
>To view more in depth information on ORCiD, its mission, values, and
>policies, please visit the following URL;
>23QrC6kQdaEb7jNcWO4IfSnAE1SHkwD6Oc&e= .
>To support the ORCiD initiative, and to follow the lead set by The Royal
>Society, IGU, eLife, PLOS, and IEEE titles in 2016, Routledge, Taylor &
>Francis Group is launching an initiative on Wednesday, 14th June in which
>a number of educational research journals will require ORCiD IDs from all
>The benefits of increasing ORCiD uptake include:
>€ Increased transparency for authors; helping authors (and the community)
>identify their published research, grant applications and other
>€ Reflecting regional naming conventions; increasingly important for
>authors from regions such as Asia and Latin America, and responds to the
>needs of the international research community.
>€ Saving time; ORCiD auto-completes an author¹s name, affiliation and
>other routine information in ScholarOne Manuscripts and Editorial Manager
>in a consistent format. This helps prevent errors, subtle variations in
>names (e.g. Oxford University, University of Oxford), and ultimately
>saves time.
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