To do tonight in San Francisco: commemorating the sixth anniversary of Aaron Swartz's death

Lisa Rein writes, "there is a big event going on tonight at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco on this Sixth Anniversary of Aaron’s tragic death; with a Q & A, followed by DJs, history and art till 2am." Read the rest

A history of the sprawling personality clashes over RSS

Sinclair Target's long, deeply researched history of the format wars over RSS are an excellent read and a first-rate example of what Charlie Stross has called "the beginning of history": for the first time, the seemingly unimportant workaday details of peoples' lives are indelibly recorded and available for people researching history (for example, Ada Palmer points out that we know very little about the everyday meals of normal historical people, but the daily repasts of normal 21 centurians are lavishly documented). Read the rest

Europe's massive plan to require open access for all science gets two new backers: Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation

In September, a consortium of 11 of Europe's largest science funders announced, "Plan S," whereby they would no longer fund research unless the grantees promised that the results would be published in an open access journal, which anyone could read and copy for free. Two more funders quickly signed up after the announcements, bringing the total to 13. Read the rest

Job opening: senior security engineer to work on SecureDrop and protect whistleblowers

Sumana writes, "SecureDrop (previously) (originally coded by Aaron Swartz) is an open source whistleblower submission system that media organizations can install to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. Its parent nonprofit, the Freedom of the Press Foundation (previously), is hiring a Senior Software Engineer to join the team and:" Read the rest

Georgia Republican introduces legislation to kill PACER, the outrageous paywall around the US justice system

PACER (previously) is a paywall that charges you every time you look up the US's public domain Federal court records; for years, activists have railed against its existence, liberating key documents from it and putting them online for free, calling on Congress to eliminate it altogether. Read the rest

Consortium of the largest science funders in Europe announce that they'll only fund open access research

Eleven of Europe's largest scientific research funders, responsible for €7.6B in annual grants, have announced "Plan S," whereby scientists will only be able to get research grants if they promise to first publish all their work in open access, no-cost journals. Read the rest

An Irish band's tribute to Aaron Swartz

Brian writes, "I play in band in Dublin, Ireland. In January 2017 we released an album called 'Long Gone' and on it we had a song called 'Papaya' which I wrote after watching The Internet's Own Boy. It is a tribute to Aaron Swartz. The title came when I was singing 'The panic is spreading like fire' I really spat out the 'like fire' and the rest of the guys in the band thought I was saying 'papaya'. The 'Simple, really, simple reallys...' came from RSS." Read the rest

Podcast: Petard, Part 03

Here's the third part of my reading (MP3) of Petard (part one, part two), a story from MIT Tech Review's Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Bruce Sterling; a story inspired by, and dedicated to, Aaron Swartz -- about elves, Net Neutrality, dorms and the collective action problem.

MP3 Read the rest

Nova Scotia abandons its attempt to destroy a teenager who stumbled on a wide-open directory of sensitive information

Last month, an unnamed 19-year-old Nova Scotian grew frustrated with the lack of a search interface for the province's public repository of responses to public records requests; he wanted to research the province's dispute with its public school teachers and didn't fancy manually clicking on thousands of links to documents to find the relevant ones, so he wrote a single line of code that downloaded all the public documents to his computer, from which he could search them with ease. Read the rest

Announcing "Petard," a new science fiction story reading on my podcast

Here's the first part of my reading (MP3) of Petard, a story from MIT Tech Review's Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Bruce Sterling; a story inspired by, and dedicated to, Aaron Swartz -- about elves, Net Neutrality, dorms and the collective action problem. Read the rest

Nova Scotia filled its public Freedom of Information Archive with citizens' private data, then arrested the teen who discovered it

A 19 year old in Nova Scotia wanted to learn more about the provincial teachers' dispute, so he filed some Freedom of Information requests; he wasn't satisfied with the response so he decided to dig through other documents the province had released under open records laws to look for more, but couldn't find a search tool that was adequate to the job. Read the rest

Cloudflare terminate Sci-Hub domains, declining to challenge court order

Cloudflare has terminated service to Sci-Hub, the site that provides paywall-free access to virtually all scholarly work, citing Aaron Swartz as inspiration -- Cloudflare previously serviced the sci-hub.la, sci-hub.tv, and sci-hub.tw domains, but in response to an injunction obtained by the American Chemical Society, they will no longer provide that service. Read the rest

65 out of the top 100 most-cited scientific papers are behind a paywall, with a weighted average cost of $32.33/each

Noting that "the web was built specifically to share research papers amongst scientists," Josh Nicholson and Alberto Pepe report on the dismal state of the web for accessing the most-cited scientific papers across the literature -- 65 of the top 100 most-cited papers being behind paywalls. Read the rest

Aaron Swartz Day is today, and for the first time, there's a webcast

Today is the Fifth Annual Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon Weekend, and for the first time, the speakers will be webcast, starting at 1PM Pacific: Read the rest

New tool helps authors claim their copyrights back from publishers (even "perpetual assignments")

Under US copyright law, creators who have signed away their copyrights for the "full duration of copyright" can still get their rights back from publishers under something called the "Termination of Transfer," which is a hellishly complex and technical copyright provision that is almost never used, since it requires that creators wait decades and then successfully navigate all that complexity (even knowing how many years you have to wait is complicated!). Read the rest

Every judicial decision has been liberated from the US court system's paywall

US court records are not copyrighted, but the US court system operates a paywall called "PACER" that is supposed to recoup the costs of serving text files on the internet; charging $0.10/page for access to the public domain, and illegally profiting to the tune of $80,000,000/year. Read the rest

Fundraising for Diego Gómez, grad student who faced criminal charges for sharing a scientific paper

Timothy from Creative Commons writes, "A few weeks ago Diego Gómez, the former Colombian student who's been prosecuted for sharing a research paper online, was acquitted of criminal charges. Read the rest

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