Editor's Choice

Seizing the telescope

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h641 (Published 05 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h641
  1. Tony Delamothe, deputy editor, The BMJ
  1. tdelamothe{at}bmj.com

Earlier this week the BBC showed a documentary on the short life and sad death of Aaron Swartz, a US internet activist who hanged himself two years ago while under federal indictment for data theft. At issue were academic journal articles that Swartz had downloaded in bulk from JSTOR, a digital depository. A few years earlier, in his “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” (http://bit.ly/1u1qljq), Swartz had argued, “The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations . . . [Scientists need to] ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it.”

At his funeral Tim Berners-Lee, co-creator of the worldwide web, …

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