Information access; Aaron Swartz accused. - blog by iamwombat


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Information access; Aaron Swartz accused.
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Posted 20-Jul-2011 at 09:16 PM (21:16) by iamwombat
Updated 21-Jul-2011 at 07:37 AM (07:37) by iamwombat

Aaron Swartz, founder and director of a liberal online organization called Demand Progress was arrested last week for downloading information from JSTOR. JSTOR is a search engine archival system generally used by academics and students to access and retrieve peer reviewed journal articles for research purposes. Many many articles in the JSTOR system cost money to retrieve, quite a bit of money in some instances. I paid over 160.00 for two related articles totaling 320 pages on a research project I was assigned in college. Out of that 320 pages I paraphrased and cited a total of 65 words. That was an undergraduate project, doctoral level papers often cost the student thousands in retrieval fees for similar usage amounts. This means to become educated costs money, yeah I get that too, I still have 14.000.00 in student loans. Point is: Knowledge is locked up, expensive to access and many rules pertaining to distribution apply to it that prevent it from becoming common knowledge. Is this fair and equitable? Intellectual property is protected in any case by authorship and proper citation of sources, just try submitting a plagiarized paper these days, software exists that will catch it in a few minutes. at this time the facts are not clear in the case against Aaron Swartz; did he disseminate material without permission and did he fail to cite the source? I'm waiting to see before supporting his cause in the charges against him. I posted all this because it is a subject near and dear to me; that we have open access to information, knowledge and the current teachings and theories regarding science in all its fields. I'm posting this to raise awareness of the lock-down of knowledge, to suppress contemporary thought within the scientific community and the academic/student communities. Without more details I am not signing the following petition, but am following the event and hoping to sign it once more facts are available. Please read and think for yourself on the argument raised.
The Demand Progress petition link:
A good article describing what transpired that caused the arrest of Aaron Swartz: (Note: in the article link from Ocala, below, a statement is made that once the access fee is paid to JSTOR, all users have free access, thats true, free access to search, not to download and or read the actual journal articles, that in many cases costs extra) If the allegations are correct, Aaron downloaded 4.3 million journal articles, by hacking, which is criminal conduct.

Some time ago, a discussion ensued here on the Hub about making science more available and appealing to the general public. Gurdur followed that discussion with many links and blogs regarding current scientific studies running a gamut of subjects to perk our interest. It seems it is difficult to get people who are not studying a subject or earning a degree related to a science to pay any attention to the scientific community and the ongoing research conducted in the name of science. That's sad news to me. How happy I was to see that three girls won top prizes in the recent Google science fair (see Gurdurs blog, stranger in an even stranger land).
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  1. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    I tweeted this:

    Information access; Aaron Swartz accused -- blog post from IAmWombat (NOT Gurdur). #JSTOR #Swartz

    Forgive the "NOT Gurdur" part, please; just making sure people don't get confused (we both wear hats, and you deserve the credit, seriously. Time to make you better known).
    Posted 21-Jul-2011 at 01:02 AM (01:02) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  2. Old Comment
    ajw's Avatar
    I stumbled this. Got to like the guy, he also wrote for python.
    Posted 13-Aug-2011 at 01:10 AM (01:10) by ajw ajw is offline
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