Irony, Noun

James Boyle writes in today’s Financial Times:

The world wide web was designed in a scientific laboratory to facilitate access to scientific knowledge. In every other area of life — commerce, social networking, pornography — it has been a smashing success. But in the world of science itself? With the virtues of an open web all around us, we have proceeded to build an endless set of walled gardens, something that looks a lot like Compuserv[e] or Minitel and very little like a world wide web for science.

Discuss: should science publishing be more like pornography?

(Via Open Access News.)

5 thoughts on “Irony, Noun”

  1. I don’t know whether it should or shouldn’t, but it would certainly make reading papers about ultraconserved elements in mammalian genomes and theoretical models of cospeciation between plasmodia and the lizards they infect more fun if it were. I’m not sure how sexy one can make plasmodia, though.

    When all’s said and done, though, I do hope there’s a bright future for projects like the Public Library of Science. It could be a valuable tool not only for science education but to make scientific reasoning and the process of inquiry a good deal less mysterious, and so hopefully less sinister, to the populace at large who aren’t exactly about to shell out good money for some journal of molecular biology when they’re already waiting to get Sports Illustrated’s next swimsuit edition.

  2. I think science WRITING on the Internets should be more like porn. “Professor X lovingly stroked the lab apparatus, admiring its elegant curves and prominently jutting sprockets. It hummed seductively, as if in response…” I think we can all just let a curtain drop rather than hear the gory details of what might happen next.

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