After the tragic death of Aaron Swartz, whom I consider a freedom fighter of the digital society, the media reported stories all around the world. Today’s Indian Express (http://www.indianexpress.com/news/in-swartz-s-wake/1062880/0) carried an editorial piece on the subject. The article ends with the following statements:
“It cannot be given away for free, as Swartz would have wanted, since the development of learning is expensive. But business models could be created to widen access while remaining fiscally prudent. ”
The editor is either utterly ignorant of the open access as a way out, or deliberately does not want to bring to the notice of the readers of the alternatives. The editor says “it cannot be given away for free”, but we ask, why not. They all must be given away for free. Scientific communications are not to be owned by anyone other than the citizens, since they have already paid for the development of learning in the form of tax. Looking for an alternate business model or more liberal business model misses the whole point. The scientist’s have foolishly given away their copyright to the Journal publishers. For this act of passing the copyright, no compensation was given to the author or the institution the author was affiliated to. The work was not commissioned or financially supported by the publishers, but mostly by the tax payers money almost anywhere in the world. Why should the citizens pay again for the work they have funded? This is the question to be answered.