Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Open access" calls for some "do ask do tell" -style of thinking

So, continuing yesterday’s discussion, I have to ask myself, what would I be “selling” with my new “doaskdotell” branded sites?

The short answer is “history”.  Today’s “millennials” really don’t grasp what things were like a few decades ago, when “moral compass” subsumed unchosen obligations to “community” as well as today’s narrower idea of personal responsibility (and sometimes political correctness).

But, no, I can’t “fix” your life.  I’m not playing motivational speaker.  I don’t have the clout to reserve hotel ballrooms for $2000 a person weekend seminars.

I admit that a lot of what I present is rooted in my own narrative.  I don’t have the command of the tremendous database of voter, corporate, and politician behaviors, often developed by groups like Pew Research, and often presented well on those yellow cardstacks where “Vox explains”.
Can I narrow my focus, if I join up with other groups?  Yes, I can offer something in specific areas like filial responsibility, energy security, social cohesion, and some emerging problems like open access.

This last area comports well with a discussion on just how we get our information, whether knowledge can be totally “democratized” and left to individual control. There is, throughout history, a tendency for many cultures to think that news information should be acquired and then transmitted in a hierarchy, along the lines of (patriarchal) family, church, or political authority. That’s understandable when you consider that typically people to have to work together in cohesive groups (“unit cohesion”) to get things done.  (I remember back in the 1980s, the whole thing about “getting out the vote” at the Dallas Gay Allliance.)

I think back to those times my father squawked, “You read …” about something that turned out to be socially disruptive (including “latent homosexuality”, smoking, fats) but that eventually would be proven “right”.  But being “right” isn’t the same thing as “staying alive” (whether you’re John Travolta, or Gregory Smith’s Everwood character Ephram).

Obviously, in the research journal world, knowledge of some things remains a privilege for those who moved up the ranks and can afford it.

This also comports with the right to transmit knowledge, without the approval of others in a hierarchy. Should the publication and distribution activity have to pay its own way?  This is tied to the open access question.

Along these lines, consider this Electronic Frontier Foundation piece (by Jeremy Malcolm) on “copyright creep” (largely in Europe right now).

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