'Open Access' Tributes To Aaron Swartz

Caleb Garling | San Francisco Chronicle | January 14, 2013

The suicide of hacker and digital activist Aaron Swartz has prompted academics from around the globe to post their research online for free, and led the university involved in Swartz's prosecution to launch an investigation into its own role in events leading to his death. By late on Monday, more than 30,000 messages on the social media website Twitter contained the hashtag #pdftribute, notating them as tributes to Swartz's memory. Many of the tweets featured links to researchers' work in fields ranging from intellectual property law to medicine.

Advocates of the "open access" to journals advocated by Swartz are hoping the #pdftribute campaign could help further the cause of researchers publishing in journals that keep their papers open to the public, rather than requiring payments. "It's likely that papers shared this way will become highly visible in search engines ... and (academics) will release more scholarly literature to the general public," said Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Civic Media.

Also Monday, the Internet Archive, a nonprofit online library in San Francisco, opened the Aaron Swartz Collection for people to upload computer code and other projects they'd worked on with Swartz...