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Open Source

Open Access to scientific knowledge – an imperative?

Scientific knowledge is a public good. In order to be used in a optimal way for further knowledge production or application, it is argued, scientific knowledge needs to be freely accessible. Yet, the current system of scientific knowledge dissemination with peer-review journals at the centre stage exhibits significant barriers in monetary terms and regarding institutional affiliation. Web 2.0 technologies promise to ease these constraints and to get closer to the ideal of free communication in the scientific community. They support the nearly universal and quick distribution, storage and debate of research finding while further offering new possibilities for the collective generation of new knowledge. Read on…

Can “Science 2.0” learn from the open-source movement?

Can “Science 2.0” learn from developments of the “Web 2.0” regarding Intellectual Property rights, in particular the “open-source movement”?

The diagnosis that intellectual property rights may conflict with norms traditionally associated with science, i.e. the so-called “Mertonian norms”, isn’t new to “science 2.0”, but has already been recognized for “science 1.0”.

In short the argument goes like this: IP rights, with their possibility to exclude others from intellectual content and to license this content for money, give a financial incentive to create new knowledge. Science, in the Mertonian ideal at least, only needs reputation as an incentive. But not only do the incentives clash, but IP rights, through their exclusion effects, stand in direct opposition to some of Merton’s norms, most importantly to what he calls “communalism”. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, we have to accept – for now at least – that there is financial pressure on scientists to capitalize their research. Read on…

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