Harvard Faculty Debates Publishing Online

It's a little late and I'm burnt out so my fact checking may not be super sharp at the mo, but them good ol' boys Patric Verrone and John Bowman, aren't they Harvard graduates?

Well, looky here: I'm reading in the NY Times a piece by Patricia Cohen entitled "At Harvard, a Proposal to Publish Free on Web" about how Harvard faculty members are putting to a vote on whether to publish on the Web for free. Below is a snippet:
"Faculty members are scheduled to vote on a measure that would permit Harvard to distribute their scholarship online, instead of signing exclusive agreements with scholarly journals that often have tiny readerships and high subscription costs....Under the proposal Harvard would deposit finished papers in an open-access repository run by the library that would instantly make them available on the Internet. Authors would still retain their copyright and could publish anywhere they pleased — including at a high-priced journal, if the journal would have them."
Read the entire article here.

I've been aware for awhile that disruptive technology was opening up higher education. Last fall Yale University announced they were offering undergraduate courses freely available to anyone in the world with access to the Internet. But now the Harvard vote seems kinda coinky dinky with the strike and all.

And it sorta all dovetails with a conversation I had with some friends at my salon this weekend in which the topic was ""Intellectual Property: Art vs Ethics In An Era of Mashups". One concept I hadn't really heard before came from a librarian who said "information wants to be free". Of course, two i.p. attorneys in attendance argued against this and did so in quite entertaining ways. But here's the thing:

"On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other." -- Stewart Brand

It just kinda got me thinking because so far, so much content on the Internet is free including many forms of entertainment. Not to mention news and information, which is totally killing the newspapers. So like, now higher education, too? This should be really interesting. I mean, if information really really wants to be free, then who the hell is going to pay for it? Just sayin'.

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