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kiki
7d

RIP Aaron Swartz. Makes me think of #DevLivesMatter (no associated BS intended)

Comments
  • 5
    F, but who's that?
  • 3
    And how he died?
  • 8
    Guys quick google please. Schwartz is famous and committed suicide after being harshly charged for the crime of trying to make scientific information freely available, abusing his access to paid scientific databases to attempt to download the collection of human knowledge with the intent of republishing it free of charge. He was caught since it was his login. He was a visionary for a better world.
  • 7
    [read this comment as pdf for 19,99€]
  • 3
    Hello Internet Explorer, That was 5 year ago
  • 0
    @Diactoros that university was MIT though
  • 3
    @theabbie the issue is still open though
  • 1
    @Jedidja The documentary shows that he would have won the case had he not killed himself, He had good intentions but he should have been more careful while pissing off big organisations.
  • 4
    @theabbie pissing off big organizations? Are you kidding me?

    Get out of my sight.
  • 1
    @kiki He wanted to make knowledge free for everyone, he knew government will be pissed off, Whatever happened was wrong and unfair, but, he could have done it in a much more cooperative way.
  • 2
  • 2
    RIP to the reddit canary who died shortly after.
  • 3
    I dont know much about him, sounds like a good guy from a quick wikipedia. But that knowledge wasnt his to share. So he was a pirate and a rebel with good intentions.
  • 1
    Yeah this was a big blow. I really hope Spez is ashamed of himself.

    RIP indeed.
  • 2
    Killed him self? Are you sure? What if it just looked like because he would have won?
    Think about it...
  • 0
    I mean I don’t really track the argument that it wasn’t his knowledge to share. The whole purpose of scientific journals is to share information with other scientists to continue scientific research. We all benefit from this. Journals have a right to charge publishing costs to cover their own existence but take a look at fees to get access to big name publications, like say, Nature. There is a movement to make information that we all benefit from public, and I don’t see the argument against it. It doesn’t stop academia from functioning as is, or change publishing incentives for actual researchers. The only thing it does is remove a middle man that benefits no one.
  • 1
    @Diactoros what if i want to choose what knowledge to share and what to keep for myself?

    For example, if you are doing tests in the quantum physics field, and you are using my lab and equipment for the research, and i pay you for doing that. I intend to leverage some of the knowledge you generate to keep paying for lab, equipment, salaries, etc.

    Other findings which i cannot leverage, i can choose to share for free.

    What gives the right to an individual to steal my accumulated knowledge and publish it? Now i cannot leverage that knowledge since its free and i cannot charge for it. I need to close the lab, sell the equipment at loss, and cant afford to pay the researchers so they leave.

    Just because someone had an ideal that the knowledge that i worked hard, paid, nurished to accumulate should be free for everyone.

    Its like in school when you have a group project, you struggle and work hard to do all the work while the rest of the class party, and a day before submitting the project, everyone copies from you and the whole class gets the grade.

    Its like building a propriatary software and hiring people so that you can make some money to support your wife and family. You slave years of your life to create something of value that someone else might find useful. Then somone else decides your software should be free so hacks you and open sources your code.

    How is any of this fair?

    Why should you decide what i should do with my accumulated knowledge or the fruit of my labour?
  • 4
    @bioDan

    In my opinion, all research conducted with public grants should be publicized and accessible for free. If I, as a citizen, sponsor a university through taxes, then I should not be charged to read the results.

    Scientists working in the private sector, that's a different story in my opinion. A company should be able to protect its intellectual property.

    Although, company-sponsored R&D shouldn't be publicized in scientific journals as it's hardly independent research -- Not until it can be peer-reviewed, in which case the paper should become freely accessible, otherwise I can not verify its claims.

    Swartz' methods might have been a bit rebellious, but MIT & government basically treated him like he was some kind of terrorist.

    Don't forget that his earlier project involved crawling and redistributing public court records which are not protected by copyright, for which the government charged money to access them -- Even then he was treated like a criminal.
  • 2
    @bioDan I would second bittersweet in that the underlying assumption that research is “yours” is entirely dependent on how it’s funded. In the US often it’s with Federal grant money, and if that’s the case we’re all collectively paying in for you to buy materials for “your” lab and “you” paying grad students is really you deciding how to distribute my tax dollars. “your research” then is a public service that you do, and the public, not just you, should benefit from it.

    If we’re talking about a private venture then this is different and then we can debate intellectual property all day, but if we’re talking about publicly funded research then I don’t see an argument for privatizing the results except greed.
  • 4
    @bioDan there's one thing that argumentation misses: the ones researching don't gain money from publishing at least not much. To my knowledge the only one gaining from the current state are the big publishers. And everyone plays along because you want to be in the big magazines (and because it's tax money ... that makes the scam easier)
  • 1
    @theabbie sorry padron, but that's the worst comment you ever made. By far. About the pissing of big companies. You can't live with such aditude imo
  • 3
    @Jedidja This.

    I have co-authored two papers on pharmacological phytochemics. Those studies were privately funded, and while the company decided to make the research publicly available, the publisher forced me to take down the PDF from my own website.

    Both the company and the team wanted to just open the information up, but it was basically the choice between formal submission to a journal and thus sign away all your rights, or post it on your WordPress blog and have no one take you seriously.

    And yeah, you don't publish for profit.

    If you want profit, your research must lead to a patent which can be sold or licensed.
  • 1
    Sec ops could have saved his life.
    Think before acting. Protect yourself.
  • 0
    @bittersweet I semi agree with the sentiment on relying on public or federal grants.
    But isn't MIT a private school? And even if they do get public and federal grants, don't they publish and donate back research to the public? If the public grants only cover a fracture or a big part of their cost, does that mean that all their accumulated knowledge should be open to the public? Doesn't a certain percentage proportional to the grant they recieve sound fair?

    Its not black or white, and the devil is in the details. But the terms and conditions for recieving such grants should be clearly defined in the contract for the grants. If the contract is "bad" or "corrupt", i lay the blame on the politicians since they are the ones giving/approving the grants and they are the ones that should represent the public.

    This still doesn't excuse Aarons actions.

    Again, I may be wrong on my assumptions since I dont live in the U.S. and i don't know much about this Aaron dude. He sounds like a smart guy with a good heart. But like an Israeli general once said: "A good guy of the worst kind", meaning he may have good intentions and his conviction is so righteous in his own mind that he is blind to the consequences of his actions. It is a sad story.

    I just think that he doesnt have the right to publish knowledge that is not his and he did not participate in the work involved of producing that knowledge regardless of his intentions.

    I also dont think he should be prosecuted as a terrorist or get his life ruined over it. Again, this is just my ignorant opinion on a topic im not familiar with
  • 0
    @Jedidja we give very nice salaries to data scientists and data analysts that work in our company.

    They work hard for the research they do, and i think they are happy to work for the company. Its very clear to all parties that all the knowledge and insights stay within the company and should not be shared anywhere.

    I got friends that work as researchers in other fields like pharma and biotechnology, their salaries are also good and they are glad with the job they have.

    But i guess academia is very different, im not sure how it works there. I know that in Germany, academia and businesses are very interconnected. Maybe a German devRanter could share some light on the issue.
  • 1
    @Diactoros well like i replied to @bittersweet , I'm no expert on the matter but i would assume any grant or public fund comes with a contract that should be clearly defined.

    If the contract would say something like "for receiving this grant the reciever of the grant should make all his research publicly available", unless they got some research they dont believe in, or dont want to keep researching, i dont think people would jump in that bandwagon to get the grant. I know i wouldn't.
  • 1
    @bittersweet my co-founder and I published 2 patents that are still in patent-pending mode. That was about a year ago. So far we've wasted a lot of hours writing and conforming to the guideliness of the patent submissions, paid more than 50K USD to regulations, lawyers, and patent brokers and its still not approved. I wonder how much more time and money will we have to sink in before its approved.
  • 0
    @bioDan
    Haha welcome to our intellectual property bureaucratic nightmare!

    I don’t know the details of the grant contracts the US government gives to researchers, I went straight into industry. But I don’t think of pure research, especially research funded in any way with public money, as something to monetize. Like others have pointed out publishing research doesn’t make you money, creating a sellable service or product does (which is where patents come in).

    So I come back to the action that Swartz took and I think he is in the right morally.
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