Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Swartz’

I’m not the right person to comment on Aaron Swartz’s death. Plenty of others who are better informed than I have done so already. A few of the more insightful articles I’ve read are:

Lawrence Lessig: “Prosecutor as Bully”

Glenn Greenwald: “The inspiring heroism of Aaron Swartz”

Alex Stamos: “Aaron Swartz Died Innocent”

What I do want to do is reprint Swartz’s “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” in its entirety and invite some discussion about how academic publishing works and how those who participate in this type of publishing view the prosecution against Swartz (especially in light of pushes for increasingly open access).

My general take is pretty in line with Aaron’s: traditional academic publishing is a dinosaur living on borrowed time that young scholars are pretty much forced to feed. If you don’t publish in respected, old-timey, usually paywall-protected journals, you are reducing your already slim hope of a tenure-track job. The publishers’ commoditization of your work does nothing to compensate you; it merely stands on tradition that you work for pennies while they make a good sum of money off of you and others like you (which you actually indirectly fund, at least as a grad student, through journal subscriptions at the campus libraries paid for by your tuition). Meanwhile, you get backpatted for being such a successful author as to publish in one of these prestigious journals and add that line to your CV. It is a shit system, but, at least for young scholars, there’s very little one can do about it. You aren’t in a position of power at all. And the pushback for flouting the system (what MIT and the prosecutor did to Swartz) reinforces the reality that we aren’t all going to they aren’t about to let us publicly rebel and just toss everything out there for the public to find (though a lot of people have over the years have been doing just this).

Anyway, the text of the manifesto is below the cut. And thank you for everything, Aaron.

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