Non-profit Projects
Non-Profit Projects

Besides the commercial services, I also do non-profit projects without commercial intentions, including publication projects.

Current non-profit Projects

Data Capitalism and Surveillance Capitalism in Science

Commercial stakeholders in the information business are increasingly developing operating systems with highly integrated apps that scientists use in every phase of their daily work and that provide en passant data about this work. These data, in turn, are processed by the commercial actors and transformed into other products, which are now offered to the science administration as recruitment and research planning tools. The structure and marketing of both the tools for scientists and the controlling instruments for management show features that are widely known from electronic environments (Dependence through Convenience, Vendor Lock-in), but also features that simultaneously show elements of the central planned economy and (albeit at first glance incompatible with it) a strong competitive connotation. The publications and lectures on this topic also discuss the possible consequences of such data-driven science control for individual researchers and for science as a social enterprise.


Ulrich Herb (2019). Paralysis by analysis. ResearchProfessional. 10.10.2019. [paywalled]

Ulrich Herb (2019). Steering science through Output Indicators & Data Capitalism. Proceedings of the 23rd Congress of the European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition (ESVCN 2019), Turin/ Italy, 17-20 September 2019.

Ulrich Herb (2018). Zucht oder Libido Sciendi? Eine Dystopie der Wissenschaftssteuerung. Laborjournal. Sommer 2018.

Ulrich Herb (2018). Zwangsehen und Bastarde. Wohin steuert Big Data die Wissenschaft? Information – Wissenschaft & Praxis, 69(2-3), 81–88. DOI:10.1515/iwp-2018-0021 Open Access unter:


Steering science through Output Indicators & Data Capitalism. Proceedings of the 23rd Congress of the European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition (ESVCN 2019), Turin, 20.09.2019.

Uniform universities? Output Indicators, Data Capitalism and Steering of Science
Department for Information Systems, Universität Münster, 04.06.2019

Uniforme Universitäten? Output-Indikatoren, Wissenschaftssteuerung und die Konstruktion des Erfolges
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 29.01.2019

See also: Blog posting on this topic

Open Initiatives: An Update

In 2012 I published the anthology Open Initiatives: Offenheit in der digitalen Welt und Wissenschaft. A new version of the volume is planned for 2020. This will shed light on the extent to which hopes in or scepticism towards the initiatives around Open Knowledge have come true.

Planned non-profit Projects

Revenues for scientists from scientific publications

Also planned for 2020 is a survey on revenues from scientific publications earned by scientists. It is generally assumed that authors (with the exception of a few areas such as law or administration) do not generate income from scientific publications. However, editors sometimes receive financial or non-financial income (the latter e.g. as free access to journals or databases). Some reviewers also receive non-financial compensation, e.g. in the form of a voucher for publication fees from Open Access publishers.

Past non-profit Projects

Open Divide: Critical Studies on Open Access

The anthology Open Divide: Criticals Studies on Open Access, edited with Joachim Schöpfel, takes a critical look at the promises of Open Access. The first part of the publication is devoted to questions relating to the concept of openness in Open Access, its instrumentalisation for neoliberal scientific concepts and its transformation into a knowledge regime. The second half reflects the role of Open Access in the global South, which is portrayed quite critically by authors from the South, and is considered to have a post-colonial effects. So it is no coincidence that the authors, coming from the global South, predominantly did not publish their contributions to Open Divide in Open Access. A list of all contributions to Open Access including links to existing Open Access versions is available here.

Open Initiatives: Offenheit in der digitalen Welt und Wissenschaft

The book Open Initiatives: Openness in the Digital World and Science was published in 2012. It deals with the unfolding initiatives that demand and promote transparency, open and as simple as possible access to information, for example in science and administration. The demands range from Free Access to information to Open Access analogous to the principles of the Open Source Community. Some initiatives and phenomena focus more on transparency than on openness, such as the whistleblower platform Wikileaks, while others (e.g. Open Government or Open Access to Research Data) combine the demands for transparency and openness or try to provide non-proprietary information (such as the geodata project OpenStreetMap or the Open Metrics concepts in the scientific context).
Twelve authors from Open Data projects and from the fields of Open Access, Open Science, Journalism and Law describe and analyse these and other Open Initiatives, discuss their commonalities and limitations, and discuss radical concepts of openness such as WikiLeaks and Anonymous.
The entire volume is available in Open Access at

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