Monday, 14 January 2013

Open Access... it isn't Academic anymore

Eric Kansa, Who you meet this week in his intro chapter in Archaeology 2.0, posted some comments following the news that Aaron Schwartz killed himself before facing legal actions against him for trying to provide open access to JSTOR's holdings of almost 5 million articles. Schwartz had been charged with criminal hacking, for, essentially, trying to make open and accessible scholarly research, most of which over 7 to 10 years old, and, in some cases, extending back several decades.

Eric's blog can be found here: Digging Digitally Jan 13, 2013, and Doug's Archaeology riffed off of Eric's post briefly, adding his personal experience talking about this at the recently wrapped up Society for Historical Archaeology meetings in the UK.

I mention this cuz Eric's thoughts weave this back to archaeology, and the issue of accessing archaeological data and research. A common theme we will be tripping over throughout the course is issues of accessibility, privileged access, and the differences between academic scholarship in archaeology, and everyone else (from consultants, museum folks, students, publics, Descendant groups and so on) who also wants access to archaeological information.

Aaron Schwartz's suicide is a tragic moment, but one of those that weave into and make far more in your face the issue of knowledge access. So, while we will explicitly be exploring open access later on in the course, don't be surprised, and don't hesitate to bring it up, as we discuss all other topics. It is kinda a central current to trying to answer "what is" a digital archaeology, and why does it matter?

Cheers,

Neal

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