Thursday, 17 January 2013

Archaeology, Open Access, and Aaron Swartz

Interesting article:
Eric Kansa, 'Archaeology, Open Access, and the Passing of Aaron Swartz', Sun 13 Jan 2013
Of course, many would say this is utopian and not financially sustainable, and that the only way to finance high-quality publication in archaeology is through pay walls and the commoditization of our discipline’s intellectual property. But commoditization has its costs. We have a model for totally privatized and commoditized archaeology that is “financially sustainable” in that it does not require any input of public or philanthropic funding. It’s called the antiquities trade. And it is ugly and destructive. It’s time we also start seeing the ugliness in the current dissemination status quo, where the information outputs of archaeology become privatized, commoditized, intellectual property. This status quo carries the baggage of a legally oppressive system of copyright control, surveillance, and draconian punishments. 
From among the many posts on the Swartz case: Ian Millhiser, 'Aaron Swartz Faced A More Severe Prison Term Than Killers, Slave Dealers And Bank Robbers', Jan 14, 2013 at 9:00 am


Cultural Property Observer said...

Looks like Kansa also is damning his own archaeological colleagues that glam onto others' JSTOR access. That is technically criminal isn't it? Perhaps, archaeologists should be looking in the mirror before calling others criminals....

Paul Barford said...

I suppose the issue is whether the same archaeologists that do this or that (like use JSTOR without proper authorisation, or drive red Ford Fiestas) are the same ones that you allege "call others criminals". I think to make your point, you'd need proof that these two groups are identical. Or are you just sniping again?

Cultural Property Observer said...

Well, Kansa suggests this illicit practice is widespread, though I suspect no one readily admits it. In any event, isn't it then worse logic to suggest that looters and collectors are identical?

Paul Barford said...

How "widespread" it is I would not know, I work in Poland and get it through the library.

I think you are confusing metaphor with a statement of fact.

They are though part of the continuum of the commercialisation of decontextualised archaeological artefacts.

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