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 #003:[march issue] 

> science commons
building a free flow of knowledge



The free flow of knowledge can be found in the Internet. A new model for scientific production, publishing and access emerge in the new environment of the networked society. But the shared on-line environment, "like our physical environment, constitutes a global commons, with similar imperatives for stewardship and preservation." And, in this terrain, the choice we face, and science in particular, is not between progress and the status quo, it is between progress and a new Dark Ages. Information should be kept free.

[table of contents]:

> the global commons
> for the benefit of scientific progress, education and the public good
> information should be kept free


> [ references +related context + grafik ]


budapest open access initiative, computer professionals for social responsibility, free software, gnu general public license, gpl, intellectual property, lawrence lessig, linux, open access, open source, public domain, public library of science, eric raymond, richard stallman, scientific publishing


march 15, 2002


> press release


>the global commons

"The steady march of information technology plays an ever-increasing role in shaping, preserving, enlarging, and uniting humanity's overall scientific and cultural heritage. With the growth of the Internet, an ever-increasing portion of all human art and learning is available at the speed of light, worldwide. The shared on-line environment, like our physical environment, constitutes a global commons, with similar imperatives for stewardship and preservation." >from *Nurturing the cybercommons. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility annual conference*, october 19-21, 2001.

"In The Future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig explains how the Internet revolution has produced a counterrevolution of devastating power and effect. The explosion of innovation we have seen in the environment of the Internet was not conjured from some new, previously unimagined technological magic; instead, it came from an ideal as old as the nation. Creativity flourished there because the Internet protected an innovation commons. The Internet's very design built a neutral platform upon which the widest range of creators could experiment. The legal architecture surrounding it protected this free space so that culture and information -the ideas of our era- could flow freely and inspire an unprecedented breadth of expression. But this structural design is changing both legally and technically... The choice Lawrence Lessig presents is not between progress and the status quo. It is between progress and a new Dark Ages, in which our capacity to create is confined by an architecture of control and a society more perfectly monitored and filtered than any before in history. Important avenues of thought and free expression will increasingly be closed off. The door to a future of ideas is being shut just as technology makes an extraordinary future possible." >from *The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World*


>for the benefit of scientific progress,
education and the public good

A new model for scientific production, publishing and access are emerging in the new environment of the networked society, in the free culture that flourish in this commons built by the Internet. This developments preserve the public domain of knowledge "for the benefit of scientific progress, education and the public good." In this trend we can found recent initiatives such as the Public Library of Science, the Petition to Public Funding Agencies: Support Open Source Software or the Budapest Open Access Initiative.

The Public Library of Science is a grassroots initiative by scientists. "The Public Library of Science is a non-profit organization of scientists committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature freely accessible to scientists and to the public around the world, for the benefit of scientific progress, education and the public good. We are working for the establishment of international online public libraries of science that will archive and distribute the complete contents of published scientific articles, and foster the development of new ways to search, interlink and integrate the information that is currently partitioned into millions of separate reports and segregated into thousands of different journals, each with its own restrictions on access."

Since their published open letter to support the establishment of an international online public library on medicine and the life sciences, more than 29,630 scientists from 175 countries have signed it. "To encourage the publishers of our journals to support this endeavor, we pledge that, beginning in September, 2001, we will publish in, edit or review for, and personally subscribe to, only those scholarly and scientific journals that have agreed to grant unrestricted free distribution rights to any and all original research reports that they have published, through PubMed Central and similar online public resources, within 6 months of their initial publication date." Now some journals adopted the policies they advocate, "however, the resistance this initiative has met from most of the scientific publishers has made it clear that if we really want to change the publication of scientific research, we must do the publishing ourselves. It is now time for us to work together to create the journals we have called for." So they will launch early next year new scientific journals that will publish peer-reviewed scientific research reports online with no restrictions on access or distribution. Articles published by the forthcoming journals will be released under terms of a new *Public Library of Science Open Access License*, analogous to the way in which open source software is produced. The costs of peer review, editorial oversight and publication will be recovered primarily by charges to authors (approximately $300 per published article; costs will be subsidized for authors who can not afford these charges.)" >from *The Public Library of Science site*

"Software funded by publically-funded research should be released under Open Source or Free Software licenses. This will benefit the public by promoting both the pace and progress of science by encouraging open and verifiable peer-reviewed research and the reuse of previously reviewed software. Software plays a large and growing role in scientific research. Modern science uses software to simulate complex systems, collect data, and to analyze the results of experiments. We feel that public distribution and critical examination of software source code are critical to the progress of science. We believe that researchers supported by publically-funded grant agencies should be required, as a condition on funding, to publish any source code under an Open Source or a Free Software license. Such licensing is the software equivalent of peer-reviewed publication of research results. The first obvious benefit of mandatory software source release is a speedup of software development. The longer-term benefit is that the software can be studied and reviewed in the same way as the other parts of scientific research." >from *Petition to Public Funding Agencies: Support Open Source Software*, september 24, 2001.

"An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and knowledge. The new technology is the internet. The public good they make possible is the world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds... Open access to peer-reviewed journal literature is the goal. Self-archiving and a new generation of open-access alternative journals are the ways to attain this goal... The Open Society Institute, the foundation network founded by philanthropist George Soros, is committed to providing initial help and funding to realize this goal [ with a $3m grant ] ... We invite governments, universities, libraries, journal editors, publishers, foundations, learned societies, professional associations, and individual scholars who share our vision to join us in the task of removing the barriers to open access and building a future in which research and education in every part of the world are that much more free to flourish." >from *Budapest Open Access Initiative*, february 14, 2002


>information should be kept free

The free software (refers to freedom, not price) and open source are initiatives of the hacker culture of the Internet to support independent peer review and rapid evolutionary selection of software. "In summary, open source software/free software programs are programs whose licenses permit users the freedom to run the program for any purpose, to modify the program, and to redistribute the original or modified program (without requiring payment to someone else or restricting who the program can be given to)." >from *Open Source Software / Free Software References* by David Wheeler.

The original license is *GNU General Public License* (or GPL) based on copyleft (beyond copyright). "We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software. Also, for each author's protection and ours, we want to make certain that everyone understands that there is no warranty for this free software." Stallman, founder of free software movement, encouraged programmers to keep software in the public domain by using copyleft and the General Public License.

"Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of under which the open-source software must comply with the following criteria:
1. Free Redistribution. The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale...
2. Source Code...
3. Derived Works. The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software...
4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code...an open-source license must guarantee that source be readily available, but may require that it be distributed as pristine base sources plus patches...
5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups...
6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor... The major intention of this clause is to prohibit license traps that prevent open source from being used commercially. We want commercial users to join our community, not feel excluded from it...
7. Distribution of License...
8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product...
9. The License Must Not Restrict Other Software...".
*The Open Source Definition*, version 1.9.

Eric Raymond's Open Source Initiative said that the term 'open source' is 'a marketing program for free software' (and recommends using the term 'open source' instead). "Open Source campaign... a sustained effort to argue for 'free software' on pragmatic grounds of reliability, cost, and strategic business risk... It has almost completely turned around the negative image that 'free software' had outside the hacker community." >from *OSI Launch Announcement*, november 22, 1998.

"The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing. We in the open source community have learned that this rapid evolutionary process produces better software than the traditional closed model, in which only a very few programmers can see the source and everybody else must blindly use an opaque block of bits. Open Source Initiative exists to make this case to the commercial world." >from *Open Source Initiative site*.

At the origins of all the grassroots movement is the Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985 by Richard Stallman, "dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software." >from *Free Software Foundation site*.

Stallman take part in the debate about a new model for scientific publishing. "The modern technology for scientific publishing, however, is the World Wide Web. What rules would best ensure the maximum dissemination of scientific articles, and knowledge on the Web? Articles should be distributed in non-proprietary formats, with open access for all. And everyone should have the right to 'mirror' articles; that is, to republish them verbatim with proper attribution... The US Constitution says that copyright exists 'to promote the progress of science.' When copyright impedes the progress of science, science must push copyright out of the way." >from *Science Must Push Copyright Aside by Richard Stallman*


Nurturing the cybercommons
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

annual conference. october 19-21, 2001

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World
by Lawrence Lessig

Public Library of Science Open Access License

The Public Library of Science

Petition to Public Funding Agencies: Support Open Source Software
september 24, 2001

Budapest Open Access Initiative
february 14, 2002

Open Source Software / Free Software References
by David Wheeler

GNU General Public License

Richard Stallman

The Open Source Definition
version 1.9

Eric Raymond

Open Source Iniative Launch Announcement
november 22, 1998

Open Source Initiative

Free Software Foundation

Science Must Push Copyright Aside
by Richard Stallman. june 20, 2001


Declaration on science and the use of scientific knowledge
july 1, 1999


>related context

scince commons street signs + knowledge flow

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