Lilliputians encircle the Gulliver of IPR: Part 1, The Royal Society

Have you ever had that feeling of being “sensitized” to a particular issue or concept, so much so that you find traces and images of it everywhere you look? I get that sometimes. It doesn’t last long, otherwise it could become an obsession.

Take today. There I was, laid up with the ‘flu, feeling like not doing very much. So I read and listened to music. And everywhere I looked, I saw IPR issues come streaming out.

So pardon the apparently random walk, and see for yourself what’s going on. This time I’ve broken it down to separate posts, hope that helps.
Free, but only for a while 

Let’s start with that august body, the Royal Society. They’ve done something amazing. I quote from their web site:

  • Nearly three and a half centuries of scientific study and achievement is now available online in the Royal Society Journals Digital Archive following its official launch this week. This is the longest-running and arguably most influential journal archive in Science, including all the back articles of both Philosophical Transactions and Proceeding
  • For the first time the Archive provides online access to all journal content, from Volume One, Issue One in March 1665 until the latest modern research published today ahead of print. And until December the archive is freely available to anyone on the internet to explore.
  • Spanning nearly 350 years of continuous publishing, the archive of nearly 60,000 articles includes ground-breaking research and discovery from many renowned scientists including: Bohr, Boyle, Bragg, Cajal, Cavendish, Chandrasekhar, Crick, Dalton, Darwin, Davy, Dirac, Faraday, Fermi, Fleming, Florey, Fox Talbot, Franklin (pictured), Halley, Hawking, Heisenberg, Herschel, Hodgkin, Hooke, Huxley, Joule, Kelvin, Krebs, Liebnitz, Linnaeus, Lister, Mantell, Marconi, Maxwell, Newton, Pauling, Pavlov, Pepys, Priestley, Raman, Rutherford, Schrodinger, Turing, van Leeuwenhoek, Volta, Watt, Wren, and many, many more influential science thinkers up to the present day.
  • After December 2006 subscribers to our subscription packages (S, A and B) will enjoy privileged online access to the archives. Private researchers will also be able to access individual articles for a small fee per download. To request further information please contact the Royal Society at [email protected] or view package pricing which includes ordering information.

Eh? Or as my going-slightly-deaf South African Seven Foot Tall primary school PE teacher Mr Deefholts used to say when he wasn’t sure of what he’d heard, “How much?”.

A fabulous archive. Available electronically for the first time. Free to all. But only for two months.

So what do they think people will do? Such a fabulous collection, all beautifully archived electronically, and now this. I applaud what they’re doing till the end of the year, but am at a loss to work out why they’ve done it the way they’ve done it. They have charitable status. Many of the papers are way way out of any copyright, even in this Mickey Mouse Nonsense world. Many of the papers were donated to them. The costs of creating the electronic archives have been sunk. If they were strapped for cash, then Google would have done the archiving for free. If they want donations to preserve the originals, that’s OK as well. But this neither-fish-nor-fowl situation? Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of a Con Sul Tant.

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