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Current, former KU faculty pay tribute on Twitter after open-access supporter's suicide
Following the death of Internet activist and developer Aaron Swartz, hundreds of academics took to Twitter this past weekend to honor him by posting open-access links to their research. And among them were at least one current and one former KU faculty member.
Swartz committed suicide in New York on Friday as he was awaiting trial for charges that he illegally downloaded nearly 5 million documents from JSTOR, an academic research database. He was an advocate for the free flow of information on the internet, after gaining fame by playing a role in the development of both the Internet tool RSS and the site Reddit, the so-called "front page of the Internet."
In tribute to his efforts, and perhaps in protest of his prosecution, researchers on Twitter linked to open-access research articles they'd written, using the hashtag #pdftribute.
Through a brief Twitter search, I spotted a couple of people with KU connections who joined in.
If you scroll down a bit in Baym's Twitter feed, you'll see some additional commentary about open access to research. She notes that KU encourages open-access publishing. Indeed, a number of KU faculty members have joined a boycott of the academic publisher Elsevier, alleging exorbitant subscription prices and other policies that discourage open access. And the KU Libraries system (which pays millions to provide faculty and students access to academic journals each year) also took part last fall in the international Open Access Week promotion, during which U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder spoke about legislation that would make all federally funded research articles available for free within six months of publication.
Those were the two folks with KU connections I managed to find who took part in the #pdftribute movement. If anyone else out there took part, feel free to note that in the comments.
And to contribute to our own free flow of information here, don't forget to send your KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.