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Why Open?

August 31, 2022

Back in 2008, Aaron Swartz wrote a document called the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto. In this document, the software developer shared the need to remove paywalls from scientific research publications. He believed that everyone has the right to information and these paywalls prevented the public from access to information and education. 14 years later, on August 25, 2022, the White House issued a new policy that will require federally-funded research results to be free and available to the public without delay. This is a huge step forward in promoting open access and making it more acceptable. Making knowledge openly accessible is crucial for a just and educated society.

Open access is the practice of distributing research free of charge, generally online. This can include data, articles and writing that occur in all fields from STEM to the humanities. Oftentimes, research ends up behind paywalls. Accessing these articles can cost fees that many do not have. This causes those interested in reading them to have to look for alternatives or find information through free resources, which may not be as rigorous or come filtered by another’s interpretation of the source information.

This is why I advocate for open access. The Open Legal Blog Archive is an example of utilizing free information to add to the body of legal knowledge as well as provide a resource for education. I take already open legal blogs and put them together in a contextual place for easier access. I am inspired by other open access projects such as the Internet Archive, OAPEN, and CALI.