Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

The Sci-Mate is a service by researchers, for researchers. We therefore understand many of the concerns of researchers and hope that these policies address these concerns. Nevertheless, these policies remain open to community discussion and amendment, particularly during beta testing (currently). Discussions about this policy can be initiated and contributed to in The-Forum and alternative policy drafts prepared within the Feedback-Wiki. During beta-testing (at least throughout 2009), all member submitted content in Registration, Add Items, and in Wiki Articles in which the member is the Article Editor, may be deleted from our servers permanently upon request (unless the community is legally instructed to do otherwise).

The Sci-Mate will not sell or share personal information, such as email addresses, with third parties. Information submitted to the site is treated according to the conditions specified in this document, the user's agreement and as defined during submission processes.

All original content or novel compilations of previously published material are by default subject to an immediate claim of copyright on behalf of the author. Such rights provide the author with control over the use and distribution of the material within and outside of the Sci-Mate.  This allows authors to prepare material within the Wiki for subsequent publication in other media.  As a condition of use, contributors grant the Sci-Mate an unrestricted license to display and use content, and Article Editors in particular the right to promote the publication of collaborative writing.  Licenses can be granted to site users through this policy (see below), Creative Commons, GNU, or any other form of recognisable usage license.

Information submitted to the site is initially done under the assumption of pre-published format- ie. that it is not peer-reviewed information. This format assumes that material may change over time and should not be considered factual or ascribed to authors, as if it were their actual opinion or based on peer-reviewed evidence.

Contirbutions of information shall be assumed to grant the Sci-Mate an unrestricted users license, and unless otherwise stated (with alternative license agreement) shall grant other users a license to use information in any way that does not interfere with the owner's professional or commercial interests. Any notification associated with content, either license or stated restriction of usage must be respected by all users of the service (members or not).

Submitting Information and Data to the Sci-Mate

Simply visiting the Sci-Mate does not expose your identity publicly (see private logging below). However, most contributions and site-interactions are attributed to members, who may be recognized by their username or full name, and may include reference to their representative organization. If you are concerned about privacy, a pseudonym can be used, but only where cause can be demonstrated.

Information and data submitted to the site should be clearly identifiable as either hypothesis (requiring no evidence), general knowledge (requiring no reference or claim to authorship), previously published (requiring reference or citation to original publication), or original material (requiring the author to support any claim made with evidence).

All significant collections of information or original information contributed to public areas of the site remain the intellectual property (IP) of the submitting party. International laws covering trademarks, copyright and other forms of IP protection are automatically claimed to legally protect the ownership of contributions.  It is up to the member contributing information to decide if their contribution is sufficiently significant or original to claim copyright and thereafter to protect such claims. Records of submissions, however, shall be made available to support such instances.

As the owners of such property, authors may define their own license for the use of their IP, otherwise, under the site's terms and conditions, other users shall be granted permission to reproduce, quote, or refer to content submitted to the Sci-Mate where at least one of the following conditions apply:

1. When explicit permission is granted by the author.
2. Information is openly published by the same author in another form that negates the aforementioned IP protection issues.
3. Where re-distribution in no way assumes or relies on the validity of information; or, interferes with the author's professional or commercial activities- as determined ultimately and solely by any single owner or part-owner of such IP.

Content submitted to the Sci-Mate assumes to grant the Sci-Mate an unrestricted license to use and display information.  The Sci-Mate will respect the privacy and permissions defined as content is submitted, and will endeavour to protect unauthorized access to personal and sensitive information. Information submitted for unrestricted display, may under these terms be used by the Sci-Mate for the promotion of specific ideas and the service in general. The site does not intend to use content in a way that will adversely affect the interests of authors, and will openly discuss and consider any such claims by authors.

The Sci-Mate shall in certain cases provide notices of member activity and specific content to a member's employer or nominated controlling interests of shared IP.

Members submitting information and/or data to the Wiki-Mate grant the Article Editor a further license to manage such information in the context of the Article towards any expressed intention or purpose of the Article (for example, publication). Attributes of Articles, such as Licenses, Editors, sub-Editors, Article Type and Article Intentions, are subject to change, and it is the author's responsibility to remain informed of all changes affecting the distribution of their IP.

If a member claims authorship and copyright of original material submitted to the Wiki-Mate, but is then removed from the list of authors by the article's editor (for whatever reason), they may then legitimately request to have their contribution (or a derivitive of the original submission) also removed from the article.  Until the material is removed, or it is show that the author has no claim to copyright (for example, prior existing knowledge), no publication of the material can be considered. Editors must allow at least 20 working days between any change to author status and publication.

Correspondence, data and information shall not be used or displayed by the Sci-Mate outside of the terms defined by authors. The Sci-Mate does not intend to store such files beyond the terms defined by users (eg, when deleted), and thereby takes no responsibility for storage or records of such material.

Cookies

The Sci-Mate will set a temporary session cookie (PHPSESSID) whenever you visit the site. If you do not intend to ever log in, you may deny this cookie, but you cannot log in without it. It will be deleted when you close your browser session.

More cookies may be set when you log in, to avoid typing in your user name (or optionally password) on your next visit. These last up to 30 days. You may clear these cookies after use if you are using a public machine and don't wish to expose your username to future users of the machine. (If so, clear the browser cache as well.)
Passwords
Many aspects of the Sci-Mate community interactions depend on the reputation and respect that a member builds up through a history of valued contributions. Protecting your user identity is essential to effective use of this service. All users are encouraged to select strong passwords, commit them to memory (or encrypted format) and to never share them. No one should knowingly expose the password of another user to public release either directly or indirectly.

Email

You must provide your employer supplied email address during Registration, which is an essential requirement for communication with and through the Sci-Mate.

Email Submissions

Email submissions (including inquiries) to the Sci-Mate may be published, distributed or discussed openly (including names and email addresses) unless clearly identified as being confidential. While staff attempt to address all issues, no guarantee is made to reply to all correspondence. As a community site, most administrative attention is focused on popular issues raised within the Feedback-Wiki and discussions in The-Forum.

Removal of Member Accounts

Membership accounts are automatically suspended following a 6 month period of inactivity. Reactivation requires members to reactivate their accounts through email confirmation.

Data Storage and Protection

While the Sci-Mate makes significant efforts to protect member's information, it can make no guarantee against unauthorized access to any information you provide on servers connected to the internet. Furthermore, while we take great care in storing data, we can also not guarantee the permanent and incorruptibility of such data. Important files should be stored locally, as well as on Sci-Mate servers.

Activities on the Sci-Mate, even those within private or user-defined restricted areas, may be recorded as part of measurements of a member's reputation and feedback. In most cases, such reporting can be done so as not to reveal details of the actions of a member to other members. While this is the intention of the software, no absolute guarantee can be made to conceal the activity of a member in all instances on the site.

The Sci-Mate reserves the right to record and use (internally and externally) non-user identifiable data for the purposes of research.

Deletion of Content

Removing text from the Sci-Mate does not permanently delete it. Generally, even within Wikis, anyone can look at a previous version and see what was there. If an article is "deleted", members can still see what was deleted. Only material submitted within Private groups or communication directly between members (not involving third parties including the Sci-Mate) can be assumed to be deleted. Information can be permanently deleted by site-adminsitrators, but except during beta-testing, there is no guarantee this will happen except in response to legal action.

Member Validation Checks

The Sci-Mate reserves the right to use any information available to validate the status of members or the legitimacy of member-supplied content.

Release of Data from Page Logs

It is the policy of the Sci-Mate that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs, or through records in the database via a CheckUser feature, may be released by the system administrators or users with CheckUser access, in the following situations:

1. In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement
2. With permission of the affected user
3. To the director of the Sci-Mate, his/her legal counsel, or his/her designee, when necessary for investigation of abuse complaints.
4. Where the information pertains to page views generated by a spider or bot and its dissemination is necessary to illustrate or resolve technical issues.
5. Where the user has been vandalizing articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to assist in the targeting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers
6. Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of the Sci-Mate, its users or the public.

The Sci-Mate policy does not permit public distribution of such information under any circumstances, except as described above.

Page log data may be used without user-identification labels by the Sci-Mate or other parties, eg for research and analysis.
Publishing

The Sci-Mate aims to help researchers distribute their information, not only on the site, but through publications that reach beyond the Sci-Mate community. As the site develops, it intends to develop features to assist this process.

The site will assist the community develop high quality academic publications and streamlining submission and review processes. Without disturbing this process, the Sci-Mate will use the license granted by users to explore and create additional opportunities to re-publish site information. Where such opportunities can be commercially developed, authors of significant content shall be invited to engage in development (and to share in any commercial benefits generated).
Separate to all other uses of information submitted to the site, the Sci-Mate reserves the right to re-publish information, or details of such information, for promotional purposes in other media.

Obtaining Information and Data from the Sci-Mate

Content submitted to Sci-Mate is done so freely and under no obligation by research scientists. It should, therefore, never be used to damage the interests of those who have taken the time to do so. Users are advised to carefully consider how they intend to use site content, and how this may impact upon the owner of such property.

Member-submitted information on the site remains the property of the submitting party, and protected by international copyright laws of ownership. It is entirely up to the owners of copyright to define licenses for how others may then use information. Such licenses should be clearly displayed at the end of the article, and should be assumed to cover all content of the article. If no license is defined, under the terms and conditions of the site, users may use content for commercial or non-commercial purposes providing this does not interfer with the professional or commercial interests of owners, as determined by owners pre-emptively or retrospectively (Sci-Mate Content License). Users should, therefore, be very careful when openly and widely using content under this form of user license, and consider contacting owners before doing so for a more secure form of permission. Information on the site should be assumed to be pre-published data and should not, therefore, be represented or purported to be valid factual scientific results, data or information. In many cases, site information is subject to change and re-interpretation. Site content should not, therefore, be quoted or referenced as fact without explicit permission from the author. Users wishing to cite information from the site as factual may only do so after contacting the author or article editor directly, and then citing information as a personal communication, 'pre-published on Sci-Mate'. If material is cited without confirmation, it should contain a reference to the author(s), Title, Sci-Mate and the precise time and date (URL if electronically published), along with a disclaimer that such information is 'not published and may not be factual or represent the actual views of the author(s).'

Under the terms and conditions of site usage, authors and other controlers / owners of copyright may decide at any time to enforce their copyright, which may be applied retrospectively if commercial or professional interests have been infringed (in the case of Sci-Mate Content License). Once indicated (in association with site content), all prior or established usage of content must be immediately stopped, removed and/or discontinued.

If no license is defined, users should assume that if site-content is commercially available from another source (eg, academic publication), users are automatically prohibited from copying and re-distributing the same or similar content from the Sci-Mate.

Information that is re-distributed in academic or other literature without appropriate recognition of original authorship represents a clear infringement of commercial and professional interests. Authors can expect the site to cooperate in exposing all cases of academic plagiarism.

Users found in breach of the service's terms and conditions may under no circumstances use any site content.

Private logging

Every time you visit a web page, you send a lot of information to the web server. Most web servers routinely maintain access logs with a portion of this information, which can be used to get an overall picture of what pages are popular, what other sites link to this one, and what web browsers people are using.

These logs are used to produce the site statistics pages and shall be used within the Sci-Mate fro research, analysis and to provide relevant content to users. The raw log data is not made public or sold to third parties.

Here's a sample of what's logged for one page view:

64.164.82.142 - - [21/Oct/2003:02:03:19 +0000]

"GET /wiki/draft_privacy_policy HTTP/1.1" 200 18084

"http://www.sci-mate.com/wiki/visualbasic:dontgo"

"Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/85.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/85.5"

Log data may be examined by developers in the course of solving technical problems and in tracking down badly-behaved web spiders that overwhelm the site. IP addresses of users, derived either from those logs or from records in the database are frequently used to correlate usernames and network addresses of edits in investigating abuse of the site, including the suspected use of malicious "sockpuppets" (duplicate accounts), vandalism, harassment of other users, or disruption of the site.

In cases of service abuse or breach of user agreement, the Sci-Mate reserves the right to use data logs in any way (including the open release of such information) to prevent ongoing abuse and to protect the wider community.