On academic privilege

From Aaron Swartz’s Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto:

“Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal—there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s already being done: we can fight back.

Those with access to these resources—students, librarians, scientists—you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not—indeed, morally, you cannot—keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world.”

One student’s pledge to publish open access

This is brave. I fully support this:

Source: What I Must Do

I have come to the conclusion that my knowledge should and will be accessible. Therefore, I will only publish openly.

  • I will only publish in open access journals.
  • I will only review for open access publications.
  • I will only sign book and chapter contracts that share copies of the text online (whether licensed through Creative Commons or made available in some other, free form).
  • I will only attend conferences that make any related publications accessible for free.
  • I will also only contribute to open-access publications that do not charge authors for publishing. […]

Change begins when we as a community move forward together. However, absolute change can only come about with absolute decisions.

Thinking more broadly about scholarship

Dan Cohen on Wired, “To Make Open Access Work, We Need to Do More Than Liberate Journal Articles“:

“We need a sensible shift towards an acceptable form of post-publication, rather than traditional pre-publication peer review. This is especially true given the growing numbers of digital genres and options for scholarly publishing directly to the web — multimedia scholarly sites, sophisticated digital collections, vast online paper repositories, long-form academic blogs, and the like.”