Re: [ox-en] role of science and universities
- From: Graham Seaman <graham seul.org>
- Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2003 08:38:44 -0400 (EDT)
Decided to edit this a little:
Generalizing the 'four freedoms' of the FSF
(http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html) to any kind of research - and
development, if relevant - not just software:
Five Freedoms of Knowledge
* The freedom to study any problem (freedom -1)
* The freedom to use the results of this study for any purpose (freedom 0)
* The freedom to examine the raw materials and methods used in this study,
and use them for your own needs (freedom 1).
* The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour
* The freedom to improve the results, and release your improvements to the
public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3).
Freedom -1 is the old idea of 'academic freedom'; it is the prerequisite
for all the other freedoms.
Freedom 0 is necessary but dangerous. It may be restricted by law
(in the same way that 'innocent till proved guilty' is a good principle,
so is freedom 0).
Knowledge is never created in a vacuum. Hiding the raw data or prior
sources of research is either hiding plagiarism or preventing others from
verifying, duplicating, or improving on the knowledge (freedom 1)
Knowledge that is created and then kept secret is useless. Knowledge that
is created and then restricted to a few is knowledge perverted to power
Knowledge that cannot be improved on is a dead end (freedom 3).
For comparison, here are the four freedoms of free software, as defined by
the FSF at [http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html]:
Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute,
study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four
kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:
* The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
* The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs
(freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
* The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
* The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the
public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the
source code is a precondition for this.