[A2k] Open Access Advocate's Arrest Inspires Release Of Thousands of Scientific Journals Online

Arif Jinha arif at stratongina.net
Wed Aug 10 15:08:14 PDT 2011


I think the younger generation will find the pay for digital content 
publishing model for scholarship absurd.  There are some ethical qualms 
about arts (music, movies etc.) downloading out of respect for the artists, 
but as a poor musician myself I believe that among my colleagues everyone 
gets also understand that we are enriched in our craft because of 
availability of culture, and it filters to us one way or another because of 
the web, and without 'illegal' upload/download, it wouldn't really do that. 
I don't download music myself but use Grooveshark all the time.

I use we, but I'm only guessing about whether my comments are shared by 
other young people, probably most of them haven't given it any thought, but 
I think this is how they might respond if they did.

When it comes to downloading, its mostly about music, games, tv, movies.  We 
feel bad about the artists, not the corporations because they are monoliths 
of outdated bureaucracy and adminstration doing things that are unnecessary 
and people can do more readily on their own for free, it seems like a 
'make-work' project to me, excused by society because it 'makes money' and 
'creates jobs' even though it contains so much pointless activity.  I would 
say though that my own producer who I've been friends with for 20 years 
disagrees with me not so much for his own business, but he says that people 
not buying music threatens the quality of music publishing not just for 
commercial music but to that which he loves, jazz and classical, and he says 
the very top level kind of production is suffering.  But he is more into 
haute culture and I am a bit of gypsy.  So, we are all more conflicted when 
it comes to arts because we get that production requires inputs.

For scholarship, everyone knows that even though an article is peer-reviewed 
and published, it could turn out to be rubbish in the end, and that when 
something is in Wikipedia, most of the time it's correct, though your buddy 
may have gone in and changed it for a practical joke.

So, we know we have to sift through lots of material which is written that 
awful, boring style of academia forced upon us for our own writing, and we 
still have to be critical of any information regardless of its peer-reviewed 
status, but we want serious work at the same time that has been reviewed. 
If academic publishing continues to exist in a kind of internet backwater 
behind price barriers and remaining stuffy and outmoded, I think that very 
intelligent young people will engage much more in dialectic learning, 
networking with other smart people to develop their knowledge, sharing 
knowledge without the paternalism of academia.  They won't even have to 
worry about APA style (thank God).  That is probably where I'm headed myself 
as soon as I can get the hell out of my MA.

The kids will find out that the peer-reviewers are not paid and all the 
publishers are doing is perhaps filtering (which we might say, hey don't do 
that for us thank you, maybe we wanted to see that article you blocked from 
publication), and copy-editing (thank you for dotting the i's and crossing 
the t's, but I can't really tell the difference between the post-print and 
the publisher's pdf), and they are paying people to sell the stuff and 
manage the money.  So really, all the money for the parts we don't care for, 
I don't think we'll buy into that, if we are aware and probably we'll want 
to be when it comes down to parting with our own money.   I don't think we'd 
regard publishers in scholarship as doing that much for the dollar.  Much 
less than in the arts.

When the kids figure out that the authors don't get paid either and donate 
by principle, that haven't it blocked from you goes against their interests, 
then having to pay for it makes no sense.  Particularly when arbitrarily 
there is another article sitting next whose author decided to archive (more 
virtuously than the one who didn't), which is of the same value as the one 
costing tons of money, and its free.  No other consumer product behaves so 
strangely in a market.

Students have little money and pay a lot for tuition and textbooks, and it 
seems stupid that publishers can get rich of a captured, forced market of 
poor students (and their parents).  Free digital content makes total sense 
to the digital generation, most of whom are quite comfortable with Pirate 
Bay and so on.  The only concern is compensating creators, which doesn't 
apply to scholarship.  We see that all kinds of the best stuff on the net is 
free, and we know about open source, I never purchased Word in the last 5 
years, all Open Office and so on.

If people had money, freedom would be a different matter.  But no one I hang 
out with has much cash, so at least we are not excluded completely from 
culture.  I don't have a TV/cable subscription and I need the internet to 
work, so I don't watch a lot of TV and movies, but get them from free sites. 
Can't afford to rent a video, can't afford to buy cable. Once I'm done 
school after a few years, they'll cut my access to the university's 
subsciptions, but I won't have a problem getting the articles anyway. 
That's how it goes, boils down to money and freedom.

So, when I see that finally someone is pirating scholarship I think to 
myself - what took you so long, it's about time, lol!


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Claude Almansi" <claude.almansi at gmail.com>
To: <stirland at gmail.com>; <a2k at lists.keionline.org>
Sent: Monday, August 01, 2011 8:55 AM
Subject: Re: [A2k] Open Access Advocate's Arrest Inspires Release Of 
Thousands of Scientific Journals Online

> Hi All,
> Re:
> On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 11:27 PM, Sarah Lai Stirland
> <sarah at sarahstirland.com> wrote:
>> Hi guys -- thought you'd be interested in this story I did:
>> Open Access Advocate's Arrest Inspires Release Of Thousands of
>> Scientific Journals Online
>> http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/07/open-access-advocates-arrest-inspires-release-of-thousands-of-scientific-journals-online.php
>> I'd love to hear the listserv community's reaction to the events in this 
>> story.
> Thanks to all who sent comments so far. The Chronicle of Higher
> Education published yesterday  "Rogue Downloader's Arrest Could Mark
> Crossroads for Open-Access Movement"
> <http://chronicle.com/article/Rogue-Downloaders-Arrest/128439/> by
> David Glenn. who makes an interesting connection between Lawrence
> Lessig's "The Architecture of Access to Knowledge" lectures last
> April, and Swartz' massive download of JSTOR article.
> Having attended Lessig's lecture at CERN (and captioned it in
> <http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/videos/jD5TB2eebD5d/>), I was
> wondering about that possible connection too - in the sense that
> Swartz' action seems to be inspired by the same principles, even if
> his method differs widely from Lessig's.
> Best
> Claude
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