jeudi 1 octobre 2009

world scientific literature roars free online

A couple of months ago I tweeted "It is high time the world scientific literature was made freely available to anyone who cares to read it" and linked to Peter Suber's updated overview of Open Access--just as he stepped back after nearly a decade of titan effort on the issue.

Like most anonymous cowards on the internet, my initial pronouncement was based on irrational prejudice rather than any extensive research. Although Suber's site alone has an immense richness of links, I decided to use "web 2.0" social networking tools as I updated myself on the effort, fully ten years since I had last looked at the subject.

The problem updating yourself in these circumstances is what you don't know you don't know. To use a search engine--I'm still a fan of Google, though it increasingly pops up links to toll-access papers and in-copyright book material that are not immediately accessible--would be to limit myself to terms that may be outdated or already well-travelled.

So, using Twitter, RSS feeds linked to Google reader, and Delicious, I followed my nose for a couple of months, and built a rich information environment that finally led to this.

Finding, with these tools, the online personae of researchers, librarians, and journalists who have shared their own journey through the literature online, I have a congenial, idiosyncratic, ragged plethora of sources I can view in my browser, that is wider and more immediate than any process I can imagine in a traditional dead-tree library.