Aaron Swartz and his “Open Access to Information” Agenda

Gaudham is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

The death of Aaron Swartz is not another IITian throwing away his life for stupid reasons. If Aaron has to be indicted with 35 years of imprisonment and $1 million in penalty for downloading millions of scholarly files, what to say of YouTube (NASDAQ: GOOG) which is using millions of user (search) data to provide recommendations - I feel it is more monitoring than a service – Invasion of privacy.  Well, let me screw the guys who are against the Open Access to Information agenda. For the Investors, my points are worth thinking.

Open Access to Information (OAI) ensures the right to be educated of information which is now behind pay walls. To be frank, these pay walls had hindered the emergence of entrepreneurs from scientific background for decades now.  In Emerging economies, Scientists from biological and chemical sciences work in labs affiliated for specific purposes, and to be brutally honest scientist don’t work on their ideas till they reach their mid 30s. It simply means without PhD and 10 years of experience in a reputed lab, you are not supposed to dream. In a country like India, research is not the easiest choice to do where bureaucrats have an edge over scientists in funding issues. The empowerment of OAI will cut costs and promote independent researchers to grow, and in turn the economies stand to benefit of new ventures, nothing more nothing less. With OAI, I am one hundred percent sure that there will be increase in patents and copyrights from private laboratories. The definition of Patents and Copyrights will change over time with the empowerment of OAI; the research fraternity across different science streams will be the sole beneficiary of their efforts and not publishers.

With OAI, Samsung research team (LON: BC94) can literally compare their research data for free with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) (If Published by Apple Inc.) but cannot exploit Apple data for their commercial benefit. In turn, this will help Samsung and Apple to compete for better technologies for retaining their market share.  There is a thin line of difference between the existing framework and OAI interest - it is one word, “Access” to information for free. Lowering Education and research cost is the main priority of OAI.

OAI also has the power to kill monopolies which are never a good symbol of healthy economy.  OAI will bring down publishers, after all someone has to lose for the common good of the free market. Again OAI is not against publishers who can simply remodel their operations based on open access and derive revenues from advertisers instead of eating major chunk of money from a struggling laboratory in the name of subscription.  With open publishing models gaining popularity (though costly now), prices will rapidly come down when the market stabilizes.

Some remarkable achievements the nations can look forward by empowering OAI

  1. Unifying economies is the best measure to bring down volatilities in growth rates; Open Access to Information serves its purpose in unifying economies.
  2. By OAI, the Authenticity of data will improve as scientific researches are mostly efforts of collaboration.
  3. Increase in Financial activities as a result of increase in businesses – Opportunities for mergers, Acquisition, and innovation will improve beyond measurable scope.
  4. By empowering OAI, the operations of research labs will be more cost effective.

Thanks to Swartz who gave me the courage to put these things in words for the readers.


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