Jimbo was the keynote speaker of a conference about free culture at UF today. I liked his talk although he mostly talked about how Wikipedia operates (which wasn’t new to me). The way he presented was really interesting and I liked the way he conceptualized Wiki community as a model that can work in many other areas in the society as well. In his idea Wiki community model is not all about democracy which is based on the majority’s opinion, but is more about consensus where the minority’s ideas matter too. I was hoping to hear more about the open source movement from him. But I guess his audience – who were mostly computer gigs – was more interested to know how Wikipedia works. (I will add links about his talk later if I see anything written about it online by people who were present).

One of my classmates had a presentation about the use of Wikipedia and Wikiversity in education. I found this in his Wiki talk page which gives a good synopsis of his ideas.

One of the lecturers talked about the importance of open source journals. The idea basically is getting a short amount of money from the author to publish his peer reviewed work online. But the article will be open source and free for the use of public. This is not a new idea and for example PLOS has been working based on this model for a while. But it is certainly a brilliant idea in my opinion! When I first came to US, I was surprised that how expensive all journal articles are, while the authors do not get paid for publishing in journals (of course they will be supported by their universities through grants and other forms of funding.) As long as you are at school and your university is subscribed to the online or print versions of the articles you are OK. But what if you are not in US or a US university? What about all those countries that have no access to academic databases or cannot afford subscribing these journals? (ex. Iran!) This is one of the big reasons for global knowledge gap as well as brain drains I think. Those who have access to all this knowledge get more informed day by day and the gap between them and those who do not have access to these sources increases. Many educated people from less developed countries leave their countries to go to more developed countries to get access to all these sources of knowledge. So the developed countries keep developing and the less developed countries stay where they were!

I hope the idea of open source journals gets more widespread. The presenters at the conference were very optimistic that all journals will eventually become open source!

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