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“The Lifeblood of Science”

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The paradigm has shifted so completely that I am now highly annoyed if written material is not available online as opposed to being thrilled and delighted when something IS available online. IS is now the norm – the rest of you are fools. Among the last bastions of important material not available online are the scientific journals. But that is changing now also, according to the NY Times:

    A group of prominent scientists is mounting an electronic challenge to the leading scientific journals, accusing them of holding back the progress of science by restricting online access to their articles so they can reap higher profits.

    Supported by a $9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the scientists say that this week they will announce the creation of two peer-reviewed online journals on biology and medicine, with the goal of cornering the best scientific papers and immediately depositing them in the public domain.

    By providing a highly visible alternative to what they view as an outmoded system of distributing information, the founders hope science itself will be transformed. The two journals are the first of what they envision as a vast electronic library in which no one has to pay dues or seek permission to read, copy or use the collective product of the world’s academic research.

    “The written record is the lifeblood of science,” said Dr. Harold E. Varmus, a Nobel laureate in medicine who is serving as the chairman of the new nonprofit publisher. “Our ability to build on the old to discover the new is all based on the way we disseminate our results.”

This “freedom of information” issue is raging across the intellectual property spectrum now. Based upon what I have seen, I’d say there is no question that information will continue to get “more free” for the foreseeable future after considerable tightening over the last hundred years.

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