Monday, August 15, 2005

Open Source convergence with open access

John Willinsky at the University of British Columbia has an interesting article in First Monday, on open source software, open access to research and scholarship, and open science.

Are universities currently re–entering the world on the side of a greater openness among intellectual properties or are they getting in on a greater share of knowledge–based property rights? Up to this point, the universities have fostered open science, and advanced open source software, even if both originated off campus in large measure. With the more recent of these open initiatives — open access — it falls almost entirely to the universities and their faculty to take the lead. Universities "re–entering the world" with the intent to "serve the world" would do well to support faculty participation in open access archives and journals. Open access to research and scholarship would foster a global exchange of public goods. It would extend and sustain an open, alternative economy for intellectual properties. It would strengthen the links between open source software — which is vital to providing open access to research — and the university’s long–standing tradition of open science. Given the encroachments, not to mention the temptations, of the knowledge business, this is no time to take the commonwealth of learning for granted. It falls to the members of that commonwealth to recognize and support the current convergence of open initiatives that represent dedicated efforts to ensure the future of that learning.

This is no time to take the commonwealth of learning for granted. I like that.

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