What happens to the data that people share with us as part of the UK Open Textbooks project? There are several different methods by which we collect data and share it within our project team. Since this is an international project that spans different regulatory structures for data protection what happens with that data can be a little more complicated than you might think. Obviously there is no way to completely eliminate the potential risk of data loss and/or theft, but we believe we have taken every reasonable step to minimise risk and comply with the relevant regulations.
Here’s what happens to the different types of data we collect:
You may have noticed that we have a survey you can take. When you complete our survey to share contact details this data is first stored with SurveyMonkey. You can read about their storage procedures and policies here. Once we download the data it is stored in accordance with our institutional policies – e.g. you can read the data protection policies for The Open University here. This data will be shared throughout the project research team and results reported on this blog but personal details but will not be used or shared outside the project.
If you’ve taken part in one of our workshops for university staff you will probably have noticed someone there taking notes and writing down interesting things as they are being said. These notes are usually blogged on this website but nothing is shared that could easily be used to identify anyone. Since this site is openly licensed this means that others are free to re-use any of this content. If at some point we would like to identify anyone (e.g. as the source of a quote) we will contact you before doing this (unless you’ve already provided consent in advance).
While at various conferences around the UK we have been running an exhibition stand on behalf of Open Stax. We invite people to complete a short card which shares their contact details with Open Stax so that they can be contacted with information about new releases and other possible follow up actions. This information will also be made available to the UK project team so we can get in touch with you if we need to.
Joining our mailing list is the easiest way to stay in touch with the project. We use MailChimp to manage our email subscription list. You can read about their data protection policies here.
If you’d like to delve a little deeper into these issues please consult our blogpost on the ethical dimensions of the UK Open Textbooks project.