With our browser extension journal articles are at the tip of your fingers. Most journals will have a DOI on the page and the browser extension uses this data to find the best access available to you. While we do inject on the page and read the page for DOI’s none of the information is stored on our side. We do not know what pages you visit or what search terms you put into a journal website. If you grab a PDF we do put than in your library but otherwise, the extension “is blind” to your search history and only analyzes data in real-time.
You open your browser and start on your new tab page. The extension looks at the URL notices the URL does not exist and stops looking at the page. You click your bookmark for a saved search and navigate to https://www.nature.com/search?q=Elephant+Shark. The extension reads the website and recognizes nature.com. It starts checking the page for DOI’s and notices there are several on this page. It starts sending DOI’s to our backend checker 10 at a time. This checks to see if the DOI is in your library, if you have a PDF attached and if not what kind of access you would need to get the PDF. Getting back all this information the extension starts injecting our ReadCube buttons onto the page.
Why does the Extension need access to view webpage content and history:
When you install ReadCube Papers for the first time, you’ll receive the following message: “ReadCube Papers can read, modify, and transmit content from all web pages. This could include sensitive information like passwords, phone numbers and credit cards.” The exact permission text is different depending on which browser you are using, but the intent is the same and is controlled by the browser itself. Some browsers allow for some granularity in the permissions (like Firefox), whereas Safari takes an all or nothing approach, requiring permissions to be given to everything, even if the extension is highly specialized like ours.
In all cases, we can’t customize the text to reflect exactly what our extensions does, so we put together this article to help clarify/alleviate any concerns.
Why does ReadCube Papers need to read and change content on the websites you visit?
The extension uses this data to give you seamless access to articles. For the magic to happen the extension looks at your information in the following ways:
• See every page you open. If ReadCube Papers can’t see the page, it can’t do anything. This means that ReadCube Papers knows the URL (Internet address) of the pages you visit when you have ReadCube Papers running.
• See all the data on the page to find any DOI’s nestled in with the other page data.
Please know that even though the ReadCube Papers extension can see all these elements of a web page, it does so with user privacy in mind. The extension does not record your browsing history, capture your passwords or bank account numbers, or secretly change data you submit on a web form. It is important to remember that the warning from the browser is attempting to address all the possible ways an extension may interact with content on a web page.
Am I safe to enter credit card details while using the extension?
Yes! For example, if you are buying an item from a retail publisher they most likely don’t have DOI’s on their page and so the extension doesn’t try and grab any content from the page. If you are entering your credit card on nature.com we do not collect your credit card either. Remember we are looking for DOI’s which start with “10.” No credit card will have these starting numbers or a period so we will never grab this data by accident or on purpose.
Is ReadCube Papers the only extension that requires these permissions?
Nope! In fact, most extensions require this set of permissions as they are doing certain things to the page. Some examples include:
- Adblock Plus
- Ghostery Lite
- Tab Lister & many more