18 October 2007

Of Open Source, Open Access and Donald Knuth

I often witter on about open access, assuming people know what I'm talking about. But if you'd like a little historical background, try this, which explains why people interested in open source should also be interested in open access:

Like all things that has to do with the Internet, the computer scientists are ahead of the curve in the flight from the old model of scientific publishing.

In probably one of the biggest shocks of the scientific publishing world, in 2003, the entire editorial board of the prestigious Journal of Algorithms resigned en masse. They subsequently re-formed as the editorial board of a new journal with the similar-sounding name of ACM Transactions of Algorithms.

In a sharply worded letter, the co-founder of the journal (and legendary computer scientist) Donald Knuth, explained the reasons for the mass defection. The reason being that Elsevier had been gouging the subscribers of the Journal of Algorithms for years. It had reached the point where the only defense was to bail ship.

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