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Going Deeper

written by Robin Schubert on 2017-06-27 | Tags: dgplug-summertraining, free-software, science

As written in my previous post, I'm attending the dgplug summertraining. It says they want to show the path of becoming an upstream contributor, which I think is pretty cool. But I must admit that all the time I was thinking about free and open software, only. Today's homework, however, was to watch a documentary; The Internet's own boy - the Aaron Swartz story.

This took me deeper. It's not only about free software, it's about free speech, free knowledge and free internet and the freedom to share all that. Issues that people have fought wars for for hundreds of years and still do. I've watched that movie and could not help but ask myself: Where have I been, what have I done and why didn't I see all these things happen? The world wide web is about my age. We grew up together and we had a lot of fun. Well, turns out I was having more fun using it, but I never would have thought about helping the net evolve and shape it myself. Although in permanent contact, I did not see the dangers that threaten the internet neutrality. I have the feeling of both, being affected directly and being able to change by contribution. This internet is still young and it's not yet finished. More than ever I feel like I can help to make it better and protect it's freedom.

Aaron Swartz was accused of breaking copyright laws after downloading hight amounts of scientific articles (legally) using his student's account at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ironically the same Institute that gave birth to the hacker culture which promotes sharing everything.

As a physicist I also write publications that are published in scientific journals. Researchers like me heavily depend on publications to receive further grants to keep up the research projects. The majority of scientists will not make big money with research, it's pure interest and the wish to contribute that keeps them going. From a scientific point of view it is absolutely reasonable to publish in a peer-reviewed journal, but it is also a necessity to survive. The impact factor of a journal represents the number of citations a journal gets, which in turn reflects the number of readers. For high impact factor journals, researchers even pay up to several 1000$ for publication, then signing copyright transfer agreements to give away all their rights on that publication - often years of work; A ridiculous and perfidious system.

Luckily the numbers of Open Access journals are increasing, although I'm not sure if their impact factors do likewise. I'm lucky I found channels like @OpenScience that guide me further to an alternative future for science.

I'm glad, excited and curious where this summer training takes me. Maybe it is going to connect my worlds and wishes I have from science and coding.

further readings

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