24 July 2009

Reply to "Wanna Buy My Brief?"

Simple Justice Blog has stumbled upon something that we scientists have suffered for many a long year, which he describes in, "Wanna Buy My Brief?"

The author's beef is that we're having to pay for our own work. Lets have a quote,

"Lexis and Westlaw charge, and charge well, for their services. Should they be entitled to charge me for access to your brief, while you gain nothing from it?

They provide the medium, but you (and I) provide the content. We don't play on Lexis because we enjoy the interface; we use it to search for content. But this content isn't theirs to sell. The same is true, when you think about it, of the cases and statutes. Those belong to the courts, and to the people, yet they sell it as if it was their very own. How does this sit with you?

To people in the scientific community, particularly chemistry, this will all sound very familiar.

The vast majority of scientific research is funded either by governments or charities. The researchers publish their work but the copyright ends up with the publishers.

How come? Did it ever belong to the researchers in the first place?

The manner in which scientific research is published goes against the grain of the ideas of Oldenburg; so much so as to suggest contempt born of greed.

It's pathetic that we allow this to happen.

It's tragic that the situation is getting worse. Under our watch, Lorenzo would never get his oil simply because his parents a) wouldn't be able to get into the library; and, b) they wouldn't be able to afford the literature search and to download the papers.

ps tried to post on the original blog but couldn't get past his spam traps.

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