Home > Uncategorized > Open access, JSTORE, 35 years in prison, and a suicide

Open access, JSTORE, 35 years in prison, and a suicide

It is very sad news that Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist, committed suicide at the age of 26 in his apartment in New York. Swarts co-wrote RSS at the age of 14 and fought devotedly in his entire career for the freedom of information over the Internet. In 2011, he was charged with “illegally” downloading academic articles from JSTORE (in order to distribute them freely on P2P networks). In couple of weeks he was to go on trial, facing potential penalties of up to 35 years in prison and $ 1 million in fines.

I believe this tragic story concerns every one of us in the academia. It reminds us that in an age in which information technologies allow unlimited distribution of scholarly research at a negligible cost, the academic community should think more deeply and seriously about the possibility of open access publishing. Even though the number of open access journals is increasing in both natural and social sciences, the problem of “prestige” creates a disincentive for many scholars to send their articles to these newly founded open access journals. The only way to surpass this bottleneck is to submit articles to these journals and to play an active role in the proliferation of open access publishing. Especially established scholars in their respective fields could do a lot to “move prestige to open access” and so to open up the way for younger academics to follow their lead.

Thank you,
Serhat Kologlugil

Assist. Prof.
Department of Economics
Isik University
Mesrutiyet Koyu, Universite Sok. No:2
Sile 34980, Istanbul Turkey

  1. January 14, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Reblogged this on Sparse Thoughts of a Gloomy European Economist and commented:
    This is my first reblog, but I think it is an important issue…

  2. rhodora abano
    January 14, 2013 at 11:36 am

    my simple mind thinks whatever are academics studying/theorizing for. i’d like to think it’s for the greater good? then share! open access!

  3. sergio
    January 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Although, it may be not possible to provide completely free access, because efforts to providing database should be rewarded, use of Internet resources may provide real alternative to price system. This system is similar to donations – user decide how much he/she values resource.

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