Session 3

Session 3: [re]inventing the future: tools & services

Wednesday 6th July – 14.45-16.15

Chair: Liisi Lembinen, University of Tartu Library, Estonia

3.1 Research Integrity and The Future of Scholarly Communication: Internet Trackers and Algorithmic Persuasion, Tiberius Ignat, Scientific Knowledge Services, Germany, Paul Ayris, University College London, UK

This paper presents new perspectives about the influence of new technologies in scholarly communication. Different from other papers on the future of scholarly communication, it combines 2 pillars of Open Science: Future of Scholarly Communication and Research Integrity (Open Science EU, 2020).

The authors performed a study in 2021, together with researchers from UCL, Cambridge University, Czech Technical University of Prague and a private company that specialises in introducing new technologies at libraries and research organisations. It has been published in December 2021 in a journal with rigorous peer review. To guide us in less known areas of internet tracking, we recruited in our team an OSCP certified ethical hacker (white hat) specialized in network and web application penetration testing, system hacking, SAMM, SSDLC, threat analysis and exploitation.

The study (148 organisations) unveiled a concerning picture, especially in regards to the presence of trackers and persuasive algorithms on scholarly communication and offered a glance at the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in this field. At the date of our study, 60% of the webpages in our dataset (related to scholarly communication) offered no option to manage the internet cookies. Other websites were using dark patterns to convince the readers to accept all trackers. Along with the quantitative analysis, we conducted expert interviews, to understand the perception of those involved in the field towards such technologies

Our study identified a list of essential questions for our community, as well as a list of recommendations.

It is well known by now that in general, the wider digital content industry is heavily oriented towards building platforms that track users’ behaviour and seek to convince them to stay longer and come back sooner onto the platform. Authors are incentivised to publish more and to become champions of dissemination or influencers. This content industry is permeable to non-human contributors (algorithms that are able to generate content and reactions), anonymity and identity fraud. Is this something that we wish for scholarly communication?

It is therefore pertinent to discuss if early signs of such track and persuasion technologies are currently present in scholarly communication, which over the year tended to be influenced by the wider digital content industry.

The general aim of our study and our continuous effort is to determine a broader solution for building trust and infrastructure in scholarly communication. Early observations suggest that we can use the principles of open science to offer insights into this work going forward. The amount of data that needs to be collected and the need to involve different geographies suggests that for more robust research, citizen science could represent a viable solution. 

3.2 The Potential of Digital Scholarship Centers as a Technical and Innovative Catalyst for Machine Learning and Data Visualization across the Research Enterprise, Xuemao Wang, James Lee, University of Cincinnati, United States of America

Traditionally viewed as a service provider to the university, the library is commonly overlooked as a source of innovative research design and active research partnership. Even rarer is the perception of the library as a leader of digital initiatives on artificial intelligence and research innovation on campus. Through the development and implementation of an accessible machine learning platform that has been successfully leveraged by multiple disciplines across the university, the Digital Scholarship Center (DSC) within University of Cincinnati (UC) Libraries has begun to change that perception. With the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and in collaboration with faculty from multiple colleges across the university, the DSC has served as a productive research catalyst in leading transdisciplinary research teams, working collectively to address research questions through the joint creation of projects and by using cutting-edge machine learning techniques. By exposing researchers in colleges across the university to the concepts of machine learning and data visualization, and demonstrating the benefits they offer in analyzing large unstructured data sets and digital archives, as well as increasing the accessibility of their use, the DSC is establishing machine learning as part of the fabric of research endeavors at our institution while also solidifying the library’s position as intellectual partner and research catalyst. These activities have redefined the libraries’ relationship with our university’s academic mission. For example, the library has now been recognized as an active partner of university enterprise-wide Digital Future initiative, and through participation in our university’s Digital Transformation vision. This presentation will discuss the DSC’s inception, creation and development of our machine learning platform, past and active projects, with special focus on challenges over the COVID-19 pandemic, the evolution of the DSC’s position at the university and ambitions for its future. We will conclude by outlining the vision for our future development directions, which will expand our “model of models” machine learning technology by integrating datasets, cloud infrastructure, and machine learning tools in a more universal platform for use across multiple disciplines at institutions beyond our own. 

3.3 Supporting Sámi languages in digital services, Riitta Koikkalainen, Niko Partanen, National Library of Finland, Finland

Following the guidelines given in UNESCO’s proclamation of an International Decade of Indigenous Languages (IDIL 2022–2032), the National Library of Finland (NatLibFI) has launched a project to improve support for Northern Sámi in its digital services Finna, Finto and Kotoistus. The initiative will last two years, from 2022 to 2023. 
 
The project promotes access to resources in Northern Sámi while supporting the linguistic rights and equality of the Sámi languages. At the core of the project are the permanent national infrastructures maintained by NatLibFi: 1) the search service Finna, 2) the terminology and ontology service Finto, and 3) Kotoistus, a service promoting the use of ICT products and services in the native language of the user. The project will start with Northern Sámi, the most commonly spoken Sámi language in Finland and the one with the most resources available. 
 
As Finnish and Swedish are the official languages of Finland, digital infrastructures in NatLibFi are maintained mainly for these two languages. To serve international audiences, there is also support for English. Up until now, there has been no support for the three Sámi languages used in Finland despite their status as official regional languages. This ongoing initiative seeks to improve the situation, first with Northern Sámi, and hopefully in years to come, also with Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi. 
 
The overall aim of the project is to extend the national information services to cover the linguistic diversity that exists in Finland, as these services are also widely used in Sámi communities. Creating high-quality services in new languages is a demanding task, and in the context of indigenous, endangered and minority languages such as Sámi, may differ in many ways from similar work with widely supported official languages. This emphasizes the need for planning, collaboration and open discussion before and during the project with experts in the Sámi languages and cultures: the Sámi Parliament of Finland, the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida, the libraries in the Sámi area of Finland, the Giellagas Institute for Sámi Studies, the language authority Sámi Giellagáldu, and UiT – The Arctic University of Norway. 
 
The work will have wide-ranging cultural consequences. First, it will increase the support for an endangered language and thereby also the domains where the language can be used. Secondly, it also has implications for the users of these services in Finnish, Swedish and English, as the descriptions of the Sámi resources become more correct and clearly defined by the Sámi organizations themselves. All organizations, including museums, libraries and language communities, can use the results of the project to generate keywords or in their terminology work, also in the Sámi languages. 
 
In the future, the aforementioned services (Finna, Finto, Kotoistuspalvelu) will provide persistent support for the Sámi languages through relevant cooperation networks. The work we have initiated represents both a challenge and an opportunity, and wider communication about the tasks plays an essential role in itself. 

52nd LIBER Annual Conference