[ASC-list] FW: Restriction of Knowledge

JCribb jcribb at work.netspeed.com.au
Sun Jan 29 22:17:37 UTC 2012


Niall -

 

Elsevier are the main actors, sure, but there are many publishing houses who
assert exclusivity over the outcomes of research which not they, but the
public, has paid for. Try downloading any major scientific paper, funded by
the Australian taxpayer, off any major scientific publication and see if you
can do it for free. They wish to charge you for something you, as a member
of the public, already own.

 

There is a broader principle at stake. Before the internet came along it was
also practically impossible to have access to the law in any country (ie
even read legal acts and judgements) without first hiring a lawyer.  This
was the issue which Bentham objected to in the C18th. To govern people with
laws to which they are denied free access is a simple infringement of human
rights.

 

I argue that Bentham's reasoning applies equally to publicly-funded science.


 

Historically, both the Royal Society and Academie Francaise were established
with the specific ideal of freely sharing scientific knowledge among
humanity for the general good - ie for science communication. 

 

In the recent century this ideal has been polluted and encroached on by
various middlemen (including academic publishers and IP lawyers) who have
asserted a right to ownership or control over this public good, and a right
to tax the public for access to it, for their own private profit. This
amounts to a restraint of trade on human knowledge.

 

As most scientific journals have very small circulations and charge very
high fees, they constitute a hindrance to the widespread dissemination of
publicly-funded scientific knowledge in the age of the internet - knowledge
that is vitally needed for human society in dealing with issues such as
disease, climate change, poverty, safety, loss of biodiversity,
contamination, hunger and so on. 

 

Since knowledge, more than any other thing, defines the prosperity and state
of progress of society, it follows that the more obstacles, levies and
rip-offs you place upon it, the less effectively it will be disseminated and
used. This is injurious to society and against its best interest.

 

In essence, it is simply a case of private greed v public good. I don't
expect your average academic publisher to agree to this, but it is not in
their financial interests to do so, is it? It is the modern academic
publishing model which is sick - not the actual publication of science.

 

Best wishes

 

Julian

 

 

Julian Cribb FTSE

Julian Cribb & Associates

ph +61 (0)2 6242 8770 or 0418 639 245

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/jca.html

 

If you EAT, you should follow: http://twitter.com/#!/ComingFamine

 

From: Niall Byrne [mailto:niall at scienceinpublic.com.au] 
Sent: Sunday, 29 January 2012 9:36 AM
To: 'ASC list ASC'
Cc: JCribb
Subject: RE: [ASC-list] Restriction of Knowledge

 

Julian, 

 

Could you clarify.when you say 'larger privately owned academic publishing
houses' who do you mean. 

 

>From a quick search I think you primarily mean Elsevier. They seem to be the
main academic supporters of the US bills designed to stop PubMed. They seem
to support SOPA. And their behaviour seems to be appalling and runs all the
way to the fake medical journals they published in Australia a few years
ago. 

 

I think Nature McMillan and Science are not supporting Elsevier's position. 

 

Incidentally New Scientist is owned by an Elsevier subsidiary. 

 

(Declaration of interest - we're doing some work for Nature right now). 

 

Niall

 

________

 

Niall Byrne

 

Creative Director

Science in Public

82 Hudsons Road, Spotswood  Vic  3015

PO Box 2076 Spotswood VIC 3015

03 9398 1416, 0417 131 977

 

 <mailto:niall at scienceinpublic.com.au> niall at scienceinpublic.com.au

Twitter scienceinpublic

Full contact details at  <http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/blog>
www.scienceinpublic.com.au/blog 

 

From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
[mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of JCribb
Sent: Friday, 27 January 2012 8:50 AM
To: 'ASC list ASC'
Subject: [ASC-list] Restriction of Knowledge

 

Colleagues -

 

Large privately-owned academic publishing houses are asserting control over
the world's new scientific knowledge in a disturbing way - this is knowledge
which all of us, as taxpayers, have helped pay for and which belongs by
right to the citizens of the world and of individual countries that funded
it.

 

Worldwide a number of brave scientists an academics are taking a stand
against this new form of intellectual piracy, knowledge restriction and
exclusion. As science communicators we should be concerned about any trends
to lock up, restrict, limit or control the free flow of publicly-funded
science to the public.

 

Details of the growing protest can be found here:
http://thecostofknowledge.com/

 

Feel free to share this address with your colleagues in science and science
communication.

 

Julian

 

Julian Cribb FTSE

Julian Cribb & Associates

ph +61 (0)2 6242 8770 or 0418 639 245

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/jca.html

 

If you EAT, you should follow: http://twitter.com/#!/ComingFamine

 

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