Following on from the #DHUCCtwessay last week, We have been tasked to probe further into the concept of openness abd argue the points raised in our tweets on the subject.

My own tweet focused on openness in society, which carries over to the digital aspect of openness.

One could argue that the term itself is quite broad and vague as it can apply to quite a lot of subjective matter. In relation to the digital aspect, openness is something that needs to be re-incorporated into the structures of the web already in place. Since the early 2000’s (after the Dot Com Bubble) there has been a big push from large corporations to monetize the web wherever possible, a practice that has lead to the highly profitable web 2.0 we have today. This however, has lead to the openness of the web being diminished to a point where even the simplest bits of information on the web has been sectioned off and a price tag has been placed on it.

This poses a huge problem, as the web was not built for this intent, a subject which Arlene posted about

This post was related to the Medical profession, and how all our learning and understanding of the human anatomy and treatment has had a paywall thrown up in front of it, a very high paywall that only a privilged few can pass through and gain it’s knowledge. This was a topic that was the very core to Aaron Swartz’ manifesto, where he laid out the inherent need to end this monetization of our scientific, cultural and historical artifacts.

As a lot of our historical artifacts have been created by people who are long gone, why is their work still being sold with a hefty price tag? the publishers don’t own their work, but still manage to get away with charging for their work. Some of the work was never meant to be monetized and sold but these publishers, record companies etc, are still turning profits from work that was always meant to be free.

Another trend that has popped up is that free information is hard to find, this is deliberate, and designed so that the user has no choice but to pay for the material. Companies are basically asking you to pay for the convenience. which just defeats the exercise of publishing for free.

Laoise’s post also piqued my interest as academically, a lot of work done by academics, not necesarily for profit has been taken by publishers and a price tag has been applied to it. this practice is absolutley criminal and should not be allowed under any law, unless the academic who wrote it agrees to have it monetized. This relates back to Arlene’s point that paywalling is a complete detriment to the way we learn, grow and operate as a society.

In order for us to move forward as a productive, all-inclusive society, we need to take back what was meant for everyone’s enjoyment.

Until this happens, we’re all still in the dark.


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