points us to an article by Martin Rowe about the difficulty of accessing and sharing information and research published by the IEEE
, which he finds to be a bit of a travesty, since the IEEE should be in the business of promoting technical knowledge. He describes how he found an interesting paper that he wanted to share with his readership, but that the IEEE forbids just reposting their content (a restriction he's fine with). Instead, though, he hoped that the author of the paper would post it publicly (rather than behind the IEEE's paywall) and let him link to it. The author agreed, but since the author wasn't a member of the IEEE, he didn't have a copy of the full paper (this part seems a bit odd -- you would think at some point the author would have a copy of his own paper). So Martin agreed to download a copy for the author of his own paper -- but the IEEE stamps it with Martin's name and says that it can't be used by anyone else.
Of course, you can see what the IEEE is thinking. It wants to hoard the information in order to build up its membership ranks, fearing that if it made that information available, people would be less interested in becoming an IEEE member. I would argue that's rather short-sighted, and there are plenty of other ways the IEEE could make membership more valuable (member-only gathering, access to other members online, discounts on events/publications/etc.) while still making the papers it publishes free. In fact, by freeing up the content, and highlighting those other benefits, it could even make membership more valuable.