One Graduate Student's Commitment to Open Knowledge
"I have been a PhD student for less than two years. On the other hand, for six years, I have been a member of the free culture movement, which emphasizes the importance of access to and openness of technology and information. Recently, I've been frustrated... sad... angry. Just over a year ago, a friend and fellow member of the free culture community, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, committed suicide. He was 22. Just one week ago, an acquaintance, a friend of many close friends, and -- really -- a role model, just one year older than myself and networked with many institutions and individuals I have come to work with and/or admire* committed suicide. Aaron Swartz was admired for his bravery to stand up for his ideals, and the work he put into the world demonstrated no less than exactly those ideals. I followed his actions with awe and complete understanding... When I look at the goals that Aaron pursued, I feel disappointed in myself for not also working harder toward similar aspirations. But I want that to change. Though Aaron frequently called for more extreme forms of activism, such as through his Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, I want to begin with what is an easy solution that has been solvable for years, which I do not even think deserves to be called activism. It's merely what should be... While I've supported and campaigned for open-access in the past as a member of Students for Free Culture, I can no longer support the outdated, profit-driven models of modern academic publishing companies. I feel it is finally time to stand up and challenge the status quo... It angers me that scholars think that the solution to this status quo is to post copies of their articles online. Some academics, in reality, must publish in closed journals and thus decide to free their own writing individually. But in my opinion, that is not enough. By continuing to publish in and thereby support closed journals, we continue to maintain and uphold an outdated mode of knowledge circulation... I have come to the conclusion that my knowledge should and will be accessible. Therefore, I will only publish openly. I will only publish in open access journals. I will only review for open access publications. I will only sign book and chapter contracts that share copies of the text online (whether licensed through Creative Commons or made available in some other, free form). I will only attend conferences that make any related publications accessible for free. I will also only contribute to open-access publications that do not charge authors for publishing.,, What You (and We) Can Do..."