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Archive for January, 2012

The Freedom of Knowledge

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

SOPA. When this blog finally becomes famous and thousands of people read it to see the beautiful insights I write about life and the evolution of it (Haha, yeah right) I hope that those four letters won’t mean anything to them; unless they’re part of the South Oregon Partisans Association, or the Society of Practical Aesthetics (If they exist, also, if your local organisation has SOPA as it’s acronym I’m sorry, please comment below, I want to know about it). Any who, SOPA the Stop Online Piracy Act is being debated, hopefully it won’t go through.

This is essentially the reason I’m now writing this blog. When I was in my first year of university, I learned that people wrote papers were charged to publish them in a journal and people would be charged if they wanted to read them. There is something fundamentally wrong with this in my opinion. Knowledge is free, ideas should be free, also, I can’t afford to publish my work, nor read the articles so from an entirely selfish perspective, I don’t like the system.

So, what to do about that? Well there are peer reviewed free journals which could be an option in the future; there is also the idea that I’m implementing now, probably not a new idea, but never mind. I want to publish my work online on this blog, or one similar, perhaps if this takes off, people could send articles and a true journal started on the blog could start up. I don’t know how successful it would be but the thought of having a free, open access, peer reviewed journal that anyone can look at is a wonderful concept to me. I don’t like the idea that you can’t learn something because you can’t afford the £200 a year subscription, or even the single article charges that some journals make for people who only want to learn a bit more about the world around them.

If people want to discuss the idea of a free online journal, this is an open forum for discussion, I’d like to hear other people’s thoughts on it, especially those of people who would can’t use the current system or think a better system could be built. I really do think it would be brilliant if these sorts of sites were set up in the future and it became the standard that you could find any article you wanted online for free. Anyone could learn whatever they wanted, regardless of financial problems.

There is a problem I foresee however, that of freedom of speech, I can see that since my main interests are population ecology and evolutionary biology, that there will be certain groups (creationists) who will want to post their ideas as scientifically valid, and so I think moderation of comments will become a necessity. Just to check that some people with ideas that are not scientifically valid understand exactly why their ideas aren’t scientifically valid.

I think the next few posts I make will be addressing the notion of science, philosophy of science and my current ideas on my dissertation and where I want to take my information. I might just be lazy and give a bunch of references for the interested reader, but I think it would be better that a brief overview of such references would be useful to get the foot in the door to some people’s brain’s before it’s slammed shut against reason.

I hope to use clips from shows and excerpts from books that people have written or produced and SOPA would not allow me to do this. As I understand it, even though I’m not American (Thankfully :P) and thus should not be subject to their laws, they still would not allow me that privilege.