In this highly recommended interview by David Weinberger, open access advocate Peter Suber offers a pithy explanation of how open access means more than simply making scholarly communications freely available online:
Open access is not the end, it’s the means…to enhanced forms of research.
By making vast swaths of publications freely available online, we make it easier for us to design systems for text mining, meaning extraction, and automated classification and abstracting.
Definitely check out the full interview, which can be found in episode #2 (“Free Knowledge”) of the Library Lab podcast.
At lunchtime today, I just started reading Bound by Law? Tales from the Public Domain, a fantastic comic book by Keith Aoki, James Boyle, and Jennifer Jenkins. I haven’t finished it yet, but I already know that the next time I teach my 3-credit course, Information Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities, I’m going to have my students read it. It’s a great way to introduce folks to some rather thorny questions and legal concepts. By looking at the headaches that documentary filmmakers have to contend with as they decide what can and can’t make the cut in their films, the authors of Bound by Law? illustrate quickly and clearly the way that copyright law has increasingly become a burden on artistic expression.
The book’s publisher, Duke University Press, has thoughtfully made the full-text of the book freely online in various formats. If you want to grab the PDF for the book, you can do so below.