by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
free, harvard, research


Harvard Faculty Agrees To Free Up Its Research

from the about-time dept

While MIT has received plenty of attention over the years for its effort to free up all course materials a potentially equally as interesting move happened at Harvard yesterday, where Arts & Sciences faculty agreed to free up their research. For many years, there's been a push by some to change the process for publishing research. Typically, academic research would appear in journals that were incredibly expensive, potentially limiting the access to that research, even if the research was publicly funded. However, what this group of Harvard faculty have now done is agree that any research they publish will also be available for free online. As mentioned recently, in an age where everyone is so focused on intellectual property, it suddenly makes things like teaching and learning appear to be mighty similar to what others call theft or infringement. It's nice to see some universities starting to push back on that.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    cozmo, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 12:01pm

    Friendlier Harvard

    Lately the institute has been trying to become more flexible and friendly to the commons. Complementary article- Th e freeing up of information resources is surely gonna raise some IP issues. Overall, it will be good for the community.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    dorpus, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 1:20pm

    Increases spam

    Will professors not get bombarded with email from amateur second-guessers taking cheapshots at their research? As it is, physics professors are bombarded with spam from crackpots claiming to have discovered the "theory of anti-gravity" or whatever. If medical research or social science research is opened to the masses, we can expect the same phenomena to follow suit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Josh, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Increases spam

    I don't think that this would happen. Besides, professors probably already get emails, phone calls, etc. from crackpots and their research. One of my professors had to stop going to a local cafe because of some guy there trying to talk about his "theories". I don't think making any professor research more readily available will change that any.

    One the whole, I think this is great. Getting a hold of quality research or course material (for whatever purposes) can be expensive, and needlessly difficult sometimes. Opening things up (like has begun to do) should help people get information they're looking for. After all, most academic research won't really help or hurt the "average" person any (it's usually pretty specific, narrow and technical, which makes it hard sometimes to get any practical usage out of it), so making it available for those who really do have an interest in the topics would be highly beneficial, speaking as a current grad student.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Iron Chef, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 2:04pm

    Good Start for the non e-Enabled...

    I think this is a step in the right direction, because this will accelerate information dissemenation and the peer review process.

    However, it's not where the real cost savings are. I think that would be in the textbook arena- where once a book is published, and proceeds through the required approvals at the educational facility, the content and research within the textbook could be up to 5 years old.

    However, this accelerated enhancement of productivity helps the school and professors to adapt and understand the power of mass collaboration and hopefully, as a customer, pursuade the textbook publishers to consider this new model

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    dorpus, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Increases spam

    If the papers become more available, then propaganda groups will quote the papers out of context to "prove" their agenda. The media will jump all over the "findings", bringing unwanted attention and false accusations against the professors. And as often happens, even if the professors explain themselves clearly, the media will splice up the footage to put words in the professor's mouth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Jesse, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 2:52pm

    I find it interesting that if someone does research they can't sell it to more than one journal. This is accepted in the scientific community, but why is this right? Some people argue that you shouldn't get credit for your research more than once, but isn't that what the journals do when they sell copies to more than one individual? Do lots of work to make one journal, copy it and sell it...interesting how it's business in one context and plagiarism in the other.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Sven, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Increases spam

    Look anyone who publishes research could potentially spliced by the media, who do you makes the anouncements that the research has been completed. Almost all of the research is available for free to ANYBODY from a City/University/College library, as long as they have a subscription to the Pulishing journal. much does it cost to join a library, oh yeah ITS FREE. Its been free for years...even DUMB people with crackpot claims have figured this out. How do you think they have been accessing that information. What this recent activity does is make one step easier to access that research.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    dorpus, Feb 13th, 2008 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Increases spam

    Still, only the dedicated crackpots and propagandists could do this until now. When the papers are just a mouse click away, every bottom-scraper will be able to employ the same tactics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    nipseyrussell, Feb 14th, 2008 @ 10:19am

    this sounds great. i'm not familiar with the journal industry, but will this be easy? by which i mean that when you get published in a journal is it standard that you reserve the right to, say, publish the material free on the web too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2008 @ 7:06am


    Just to clarify: researchers donĀ“t sell their work to journals. They submit it for free.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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