You’ve probably seen the terrible news about the death of Aaron Swartz. It’s always horrifying when someone so young and so clearly talented feels they have no option but to take their own life. I know that this is something that shook the internet community deeply. And my thoughts are with his family, and what they must be going through right now. MIT
This was a man who saw that greater openness can be good for citizens, and good for society. Hugely disruptive – but hugely beneficial.
For me, the case is particularly clear when there aren’t copyright issues, when information was already paid for by taxpayers, and when more openness can help new innovations and scientific discoveries.
I would never condone unlawful activity. But in my view, if our laws, frameworks and practices stand in the way of us getting all those benefits, then maybe they need to be changed.
Agree or disagree with his methods, Aaron could see the open direction we’re heading in, and its benefits. In the meantime, those scientists who are paying tribute by making their own work legally, openly available aren’t just showing their respects – they are also benefiting scientific progress.