This week, one major publisher—the Nature family of journals—launched an effort to make things easier for off-campus readers. It became the first to offer a consistent, streamlined method of access, through a standard button displayed prominently atop articles in its 150 journals. And more publishers, including Springer Nature, Nature’s parent, are expected to roll out the feature over the next year through an international consortium.
But the project has raised concerns among some university librarians. They say it could ultimately allow publishers to obtain personally identifiable data about researchers without their knowledge, and are keeping a close idea on how it evolves.
“I think we have learned that with respect to technologies [that collect data], we might need to trust but verify rather than just trust,” says Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe of the University Library at the University of Illinois in Champaign.