Aaron Swartz

As many of you already know, programmer and activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide a few days ago.  This seems to have been in connection with a prosecution brought against him by Jstor for allegedly hacking their site at MIT and downloading 4 million or so papers.  These were then posted on P2P sites for open access.  it is not without bitter irony that Jstor has itself in the last couple of days started to embrace the principle of open access by making some content freely available to the general public (albeit with some restrictions).

In the past 24 hours a big campaign has started on Twitter whereby academics are posting all their published work online as freely accessible PDFs.  Not only is a large amount of material becoming available, but it is remarkable how much was already there.  Anyway, should you wish to join in this collective effort to stand up to the publishers, post your work somewhere public and tell the world using the #pdftribute.  If you only ever use Twitter the once, this would seem a good time.

3 thoughts on “Aaron Swartz

  1. Hi Angus,

    thanks for posting this. Just to add two bits on the case: JSTOR dropped its charges against Aaron, MIT was more ambiguous about its wishes, but the DOJ prosecutor went ahead with charges anyway. That was despite Aaron never actually posting the files on P2P sites or elsewhere – it never go that far.



    • Armin

      Thanks for that. It is very alarming indeed that the DoJ seems to have taken upon itself the role of defender of the publishers profit-margins and therefore alll the more important to challenge it.

  2. So, quick question about this. If I download a PDF of something I’ve written — or something somebody else has written for that matter — the PDF will include information on where and when it was downloaded. How advisable is it to remove this information before uploading/sharing? And if advisable, how?

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