06 May 2006

After Open Access

A truly fascinating piece by Clifford Lynch explores what might be possible once we have total open access to scholarly writings, and can apply computation to this mass of raw data in an unfettered way. As he points out:

The opportunities are truly stunning. They point towards entirely new ways to think about the scholarly literature (and the underlying evidence that supports scholarship) as an active, computationally enabled representation of knowledge that lives, grows and interacts with its contributors rather than as a passive archive or record. They suggest ways in which information technology can accelerate the rate of scientific discovery and the growth of scholarship. It would be a disgrace if we allowed the inertia of historic scholarly publishing practices and the intellectual property arrangements that underlie these patterns to foreclose such opportunities. Open access offers an important simplification and reduction of the barriers if its development is shaped in a way that is responsive to these opportunities, although it is certainly not a panacea in its current form.

(Via Open Access News).

Update: Don's miss this splendid interview with Lynch: I wish I were half as articulate....

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