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Will Knight reviews the top technology stories of 2002 for NewScientist. Making his short list is the systematic attempt by the Chinese government to censor the internet for Chinese users.
A New York Times article by Amy Harmon, dated December 17, 2002, entitled "New Premise in Science: Get the Word Out Quickly, Online", is about the proposed open-access journals of the Public Library of Science. The article contains the comment (on page 2): "The journals will initially ask most authors to pay about $1,500 per article, for exposure to a wider potential audience and a much faster turnaround time". Not mentioned are the fee waivers proposed in the Journals section of the PLoS website: "...we will substantially reduce or waive the publication fees for any authors for whom they would be a burden".
The tech industry is mobilizing to enlist consumer and business support to oppose Hollywood-slanted copyright legislation in Congress. Not only did Hollywood lose important friends in Congress in the last election, but its one-sided legislation has created a growing backlash of public opinion.
The presentations from the conference Copyright and Universities: From Principles to Practices (Zwolle, The Netherlands, December 6-7, 2002) are now online. The site also includes the draft Zwolle Principles promulgated by the conference participants in order "to achieve maximum access to scholarship, to strengthen academic freedom, and to enhance the quality of academic work". (The principles were first framed at the June 2001 Zwolle conference and revised at the recent December conference.)
The seven principles in the draft are disappointingly general: the objectives require "optimal managment" of copyrights, which can be achieved through "thoughtful development" of policies, which will "vary according to numerous factors", but which aim to give the many stakeholders "specific rights", although the draft contains no details on which stakeholders should have which specific rights. The most promising principle is #6: "All stakeholders in the management of the copyright in scholarly works have an interest in maximising both access and quality; stakeholders should work together on an international basis to best achieve these common goals and to develop a mutually supportive community of interest."
Edge.org has asked eminent scientists, futurists, and writers to imagine that they were the President's science advisor and identify the most pressing scientific issues facing the nation and world. An op-ed in today's New York Times summarizes nine of the responses. There, among proposals to map the genomes of all non-human life on Earth (Freeman Dyson), fund nanotechnology (K. Eric Drexler), and avert Earth-bound asteroids (Piet Hut), is the following from MIT's Seth Lloyd: "My advice is to keep science public. Secret knowledge, no matter how laboriously acquired, is less than science. Some knowledge, of course, must remain secret for the security of the nation. But unless there is a clear security risk, publish all else. Why? Science belongs to the people: they pay for it; they benefit from it. The benefits of scientific knowledge accrue far more rapidly when that knowledge lies open for all to see, to test and to try."
Doug Isenberg reviews the top internet law stories of 2002.
The multidisciplinary science journal, Best of Science, has dropped its subscription fees and become free. It's not quite "open access" since it asks authors to transfer copyright to the journal, although it will apparently not use the copyright to block any but commercial uses. The publishing subvention or dissemination fee is waived for authors from developing countries. Interestingly, Best of Science does not conduct its own peer review, but asks authors to submit articles that have already been reviewed and endorsed by at least two scientists who are members of at least two different scientific academies from the journal's list of approved academies. (Thanks to LibLicense.)
From the Scientific American Newsletter: Fair Use and Abuse - The Big Red Shearling toy bone allows dog owners to record a short message for their pet. Tinkle Toonz Musical Potty introduces a child to the "magical, musical land of potty training." Both are items on Fritz's Hit List, Princeton University computer scientist Edward W. Felten's web-based collection of electronic oddities that would be affected by legislation proposed by Democratic Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings of South Carolina. Under the bill, the most innocent chip-driven toy would be classified as a "digital media device," Felten contends, and thereby require government-sanctioned copy-protection technology.
News.com reviews the top tech-and-copyright stories of 2002.
More on ideological web deletions by the Bush administration....In Friday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Adam Clymer reports on the deletions and the growing number of public-interest organizations that are noticing and protesting them. "Critics say those changes, far below the political radar screen, illustrate how the Bush administration can satisfy conservative constituents with relatively little exposure to the kind of attack that a legislative proposal or a White House statement would invite." (Thanks to LIS News.)