Open Access to ICTD Research

10 years, 5 months ago


This post aimed at authors whose work appears in the proceedings of ICTD 2013 in Cape Town. The proceedings aren't open access, but YOU can break through the paywall!

During Tuesday's open session, title "Appropriating ICTs for Developing Critical Consciousness and Structural Social Change" or #punkICT4D, we discussed ways to make research products more accessible to people with no or limited access to journal subscriptions through university libraries. This post is to remind authors of papers or notes for ICTD 2013 that the ACM allows authors to either:

  • Post a copy of the accepted version on a personal webpage or in an institutional repository
  • Get a link than enables free downloads of your work (via ACM Author-Izer).

For more ways to share your research, see this post. It was written as part of a tribute to open access activist Aaron Swartz, in which authors posted PDFs of their work with the hashtag #PDFtribute. They're collected here. Aaron's Guerilla Open Access Manifesto is quoted below.

Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It's outrageous and unacceptable.

"I agree," many say, "but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it's perfectly legal — there's nothing we can do to stop them." But there is something we can, something that's already being done: we can fight back.

Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.

Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by the publishers and sharing them with your friends.
But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It's called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn't immoral — it's a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.


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