Monday, February 6, 2012

The Cost of Knowledge

Boingboing gave us an incredible collection of posts last week and there follows some links to these ...

Our first is to The Cost of Knowledge - a website protesting against the publisher Elsevier's restrictive policies on access to academic scientific knowledge. I cannot freely access anything published in Elsevier's scientific journals but am forced to pay an arm and a leg for the knowledge contained therein.

The Cost of Knowledge declares

1. They charge exorbitantly high prices for subscriptions to individual journals. 

2. In the light of these high prices, the only realistic option for many libraries is to agree to buy very large "bundles", which will include many journals that those libraries do not actually want. Elsevier thus makes huge profits by exploiting the fact that some of their journals are essential. 

3. They support measures such as SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act, that aim to restrict the free exchange of information. 

...and has an online petition asking you to boycott Elsevier.

The Cost of Knowledge also pointed me to Polymath - "a collection of links to information, opinion, activism, and other issues concerning the practices of research journal publishers".

Which then pointed me to this campaign against the US Research Works Act  ... "A recently introduced bill, H.R. 3699, the Research Works Act, would seriously threaten public access to federally funded research.

The bill would not only restrict internet access to articles published in scholarly journals and books; it would also severely hamper Creative Commons content.

Why is Open Access so important? Internet access to federally funded research allows people with medical conditions to stay informed about new studies and innovations.

Access also helps professionals, including doctors, to continue their educations by keeping up to date on the research literature in their fields.

In developing nations, Open Access is especially important, as institutions often don't have the funding to provide health care professionals with scholarly literature through other means."

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