RSS, Academics, Knowledge, and Aaron Swartz

Boston Wiki Meetup

I finished my MA in Public Relations about three years ago and ever since I have looked for ways of making my dissertation available, while at the same time trying to get something back for what in essence was the best and worst of 2009.

Today I found out the story about Aaron Swartz. The man who helped create RSS (one of the pillars for a free flow of information) ended his life a few days ago. You can read the details on his friend’s blog and the news article on Gizmodo.

As a result, academics have been Tweeting PDF’s of journal articles in memory of Aaron, and there is a website gathering the whole archive that is coming out as a result, PDF Tribute.

The whole thing is sad and makes me doubt if the current academic system isn’t broken, at least in regards to the way academic journals like JSTOR work. (Not that they had anything to do with Aaron’s death, JSTOR was clear that they would not continue legal action.)

So I am joining the PDF Tribute cause and making my dissertation publicly available under a creative commons license. Not because of Aaron’s death or the circumstances surrounding it. Mostly, because reading about the whole thing made me realize that keeping knowledge behind paywalls or any other filter won’t do us any good.

On my next post you will be able to download the whole boring thing, in the meantime please feel free to share what’s on your mind.

What's on your mind?

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