onsdag 10 juni 2009

Pirate Party of Science

The success of the Pirate Party in the recent Swedish EU-elections, in particular among young voters, gives a boost to the idea that in a free society, information must be freely available to all citizens, just as air and the right to express an opinion are free. 

In our new information society, information can be freely available to everybody, because the cost is small. File-sharing costs nothing.

But we are far from this free society of free citizens with free access to information, and the most flagrant violation is represented by scientific publishing: Scientific journals run by big commercial publishing companies such a Springer, own the copyrights of scientific articles and charge readers including the authors of the articles.

The traditional role of a publishing company was to print and distribute information on paper, for which a charge could be motivated. Today scientific journals appear on-line at zero cost and a charge can no longer be motivated, since the scientists writing the articles typically are financed by public money; results of public investments should remain public. 

In a free society, free citizens must have free access to research results, without paying Springer. A Pirate Party of Science should be formed.


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