Google Analytics’ Privacy Practices Challenged

April 21st, 2022 by  | Comments Off on Google Analytics’ Privacy Practices Challenged

April 14, 2022

Google Analytics’ privacy practices are being challenged, especially in European Union member countries, where they contravene the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and have been declared illegal in some countries.

For this reason, the PKP Technical Committee recommends not using Google Analytics so you do not end up tracking readers that are citizens of countries that enforce GDPR.

Tools like Google Analytics provide ways to measure, track, and analyze user activities on your OJS journal website. OJS provides other options that are GDPR compliant:

If you would still like more detailed information, you can find robust and relevant alternatives to Google Analytics, such as:

  • Matomo: Formerly called Piwik, Matomo is a feature-rich open-source measurement software that provides very detailed statistics of your website. Like OJS, Matomo is built over PHP and MySQL, and can be easily installed on your server or used as “Software as a Service”.
    PKP already provides a plugin to connect your OJS or OMP with Matomo, but you should note that in order to make this activity GDPR compliant, you must first configure Matomo properly.
  • Plausible: Plausible is a simple and lightweight open-source alternative tool for web analytics. Made and hosted in the EU, it is easy to install and doesn’t use cookies because is designed to be fully compliant with GDPR, CCPA and PECR “out of the box”.
    Like in the former case you can install it “on-premises” or use it as a SaaS.
    To make it run with PKP tools, you can use the “Custom Headers” plugin or integrate it into your theme.

Note that in both cases, privacy compliance would be achieved in the third-party application, not in OJS or OMP.

If you have questions about best practices in managing the personal data of your journal’s users or visitors, you can ask them in the PKP community forum.


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