I don't think it's such a bad idea to give them money to continue digitizing works that no one would have had access to otherwise. They provide full-text search of all of their documents and undoubtedly employ programmers and designers much like yourself.
I don't know much about JSTOR, but I know the IEEE (for example) can be a good bunch of sharks. In the past, they forced you to hand them your copyright for the privilege of publishing your work in their journals, and proceeded to go after you if you committed the cardinal sin of distributing your own papers through your research website. They also put your work behind a 30$ paywall without, of course, giving you a dime.
The data would be much better at the hands of an entity that keeps the data accessible and gives the authors a right to reproduce their works elsewhere. A startup which does this would be excellent.
You can try and a start a company that gives it all away for free, but you're not going to be given access to any documents or you'll be sued for releasing the ones you don't have rights to.
This is not as simple as "Just throw that stuff up on a Torrent and we're good to go".
As a scientist, that would pretty much solve my access problems, and help me do a better job.
God forbid. I hear they even pay their other employees.
>I don't know much about JSTOR, but I know the IEEE (for example) can be a good bunch of sharks. In the past, they forced you to hand them your copyright for the privilege of publishing your work in their journals, and proceeded to go after you if you committed the cardinal sin of distributing your own papers through your research website. They also put your work behind a 30$ paywall without, of course, giving you a dime.
I have yet to hear about a similar story with JSTOR, so I'm not sure how that's relevant.
All JStor does is get scholarly output from those who do hold the copyright or publishing rights (for which they pay these rightsholders), aggregate it on their own platform (which has a much better UI than most of their for-profit competiters), and then resell access to others. Their prices are largely determined by those set by the actual rights holders they have to pay for the content.
Whether or not JStor is doing enough to increase public access to scholarly content (I think nobody in the industry really is), they are doing _more_ than most of their peers in the industry, and are _far_ from the worst, the most greedy, or the most venal in the industry.
I'm not saying don't pirate JStor content, pirate whatever scholarly content you want as far as I'm concerned, no skin off my back.
But if you're looking for a target as the worst or the most evil or the most responsible for inequity in and high cost of access to scholarly output, you're looking in the wrong place if you're looking at JStor -- I'd look at the publishers (not aggregators) and for-profit ones rather than non-profit ones. Google "most profitable scholarly publishers" and see what companies you are led to by following links (it won't be JStor).
I would personally be ready to donate 100$ immediately.
And then there is the example of the Wikipedia Foundation that seems to do quite well (and could incorporate this effort bringing fund raising and software engineering power to the table)
Whining about $100,000 for such a trove of information is laughable.
Then you should have no problem paying the fee.
Fundraising for nonprofits is not like fundraising in SV. Nonprofits can easily spend 50% of their income on fundraising because it is damned expensive to convince people to donate.
I think its fair to donate some money to JSTOR. Even if its 1-10$ they can recover their losses & may be even profit for digitizing.
If they can open a small donation channel I would like to donate & thank them. Make knowledge easily accessible to all & we should encourage it.
Of course earning money by itself isn't an evil thing. The bigger problem is that JSTOR is part of a system which many people have come to feel is unjust-- a system whereby the public finances research which is then put behind paywalls.
It isn't just wild-eyed hackers who feel this way. Even Donalth Knuth has commented about how little value the academic journals really provide, and how much they charge.
It is the public who pays for this system. We pay because our taxes and tuition money subsidize the research that we're not allowed to see. The government should require publicly funded research to be made available on a site like arxiv.org. It is those guys who are really in favor of open access, not JSTOR. Throwing us a bone-- some 80-year old manuscripts which are in the public domain anyway-- shouldn't obscure that.
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2789709 (lots of comments)
> This archive contains 18,592 scientific publications totaling
> 33GiB, all from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
> and which should be available to everyone at no cost, but most
> have previously only been made available at high prices through
> paywall gatekeepers like JSTOR.
If it is thousands of students all doing a small part of the downloading, what could be done to stop it? The trick would be distributing the tasks, and collecting all the results.
This is all assuming there is no dead-man's switch, but since he went out on his own terms I assume that would be triggered already.
> to be distributed among current college students
proof of concept of the zotero/translation-server doing its job: https://github.com/kanzure/paperbot
I don't think Swartz's famous JSTOR collection has surfaced.
Ironically, due to the closed nature of their websites and the fact that the PDFs on my websites have since been indexed by various 3rd party research portals, they now far outrank the official (paywalled) versions on the ACM and IEEE websites.
It is nothing like Springer, Elsevier, ScienceDirect, Thompson, ... websites. Please don't lump them together.
JSTOR sits somewhere in between.
Never did any research worth publishing in a journal. Working a 9 to 5 job now and no longer have the opportunity to research. But I would have done it your way if I could have. An alternative now for me would be to help build open journals. The authors do the research, the publishers are simply a medium. Doesn't make sense for mediums to bite the hands of authors.
(Not sure if they have some policy forbidding to disclose the paper on arxive etc. But I don't think so, the department I did my thesis, most papers were also available on arxive.org)
I've also self-archived some stuff that didn't formally permit it, and haven't heard a complaint. Given publishers' current political interests, I think it's pretty low-risk: I don't think publishers want the publicity that would come from suing an academic for posting a version of his own paper.
Now, it's 1855. You want the slaves to be freed. By law. By right.
So, do you shut down the Underground Railroad?
If we want to learn from history it is important that we allow ourselves to make comparisons to the past, even if the magnitude of severity is completely off. If we assume that we are progressing as time passes, then with any luck the severity in comparisons to the past should always be off. That should not phase us, but rather be seen as a sign of progress.
Now, if the situation is a teenager calling his mother "literally Hitler" because he was given a bedtime, then Godwin's law is probably pretty applicable, but that is an incredibly extreme case.
The topic here is civil disobedience in the face of unjust laws. One law happens to be much worse than other, but I simply cannot find the comparison itself to be tasteless or offensive. That period in our history teaches us a painful collective lesson about the ethics of civil disobedience, I would find it more offensive to ignore that lesson.
Assertions of equivalency would be troubling, but I see none here.
Edit: I promise I wrote this without reading jlgreco's comment.
Where can I get my medal?
It took a moment for me to realize that you probably didn't mean the Python one.
Aaron Swartz: releasing academic articles that are already available for free or a low cost simply by visiting your local university and acquiring a guest access card.
Not even remotely comparable.
It's incredible how if they hadn't digitized the works, no one would be outraged. But when they ask for a fee to cover the costs of such things, everyone paints them as villains who try and lock information away from the masses.
Everything they do that isn't funded by ad revenue or working towards greater ad revenue is a speculative exploration into future markets that will one day be monetized, but is not currently by virtue of their tremendously deep pockets.
I've been wondering recently- I think companies like Google have started warping expectations beyond the realistic, and I'm both curious and apprehensive where that will take us.
JSTOR does not many billions in cash, nor any income sources other than access fees.
Ergo, JSTOR must continue to charge an access fee so that it can continue to perform its function of archiving articles and providing access to those articles.
Haha, try that outside of the US. Also, be aware that your local university pays unbelievably high fees for this access, money that could be better used, by funding scientists for example.
The idea is that articles should rise to the top on their own merits, but not be pushed to the bottom simply by people disagreeing with their content.
Excusing JSTOR is like saying "Hate the game, not the players". While JSTOR isn't doing everything in their power to fix this broken system I say: Hate the game _and_ the players.
JSTOR has access to the current archives of the journals because of the relationships it has with the publishers, if the publishers weren't happy with what JSTOR were doing they could just pull their licences for their current journals. If that happened JSTOR would basically collapse.
It just doesn't make sense for JSTOR to do it, when a third-party who doesn't have any relationships to the publishers could do it just as well (you can easily get physical copies of most historical public domain journals either via the open market or via libraries and scan them).
If you want to change what publishers do with articles which should be in the public domain, get the law changed. But don't hold JSTOR responsible for something outside of their control.
Their digitization is largely done by a for-profit company. It's not competitively bid. There are many parties who would digitize these works at no cost— archive.org and google for example, and could afford to do it without pay walling the results.
I was unaware of this. What company does the digitization for them?
Anyone at all (including you) is free to scan journals that are in the public domain and publish them online for free. If you scan/ocr them then there are many places (including Project Gutenberg and archive.org) who will host them for you.
Some contributors to JSTOR also make their articles freely available online. Many do not. Either way, it's not for JSTOR to decide.