I ran into my normal problem of discovering the uni doesn't subscribe to the journals I want to read articles in today. I mumbled about it on Twitter, and was sent a copy - which has some copyright issues associated with it as a mechanism for getting hold of things, but which was also very useful. The author of the paper has also responded very quickly to an email, so I have a legitimate copy now too, so I can use it without feeling (or being!) guilty.
I'm in two minds about this. I firmly believe knowledge shouldn't be locked up in repositories for some crime it hasn't committed (or has it? duh duh duuuuuuuh) but on the other hand, I have no desire to breach other people's copyright (though, I have to admit, I am morally much less concerned about companies' copyright). I don't even provide staff from other universities who get in touch via TurnItIn with copies of material I know are copyrighted, and if there is one thing I hate more than knowledge being incarcerated it is plagiarism.
But the thing is, when I want access to a paper, either for studying in general, or as in this case so that I can do a peer review properly, I want access now - I don't want to wait for ages, and I certainly don't want to (and can't afford) to go around paying for access to something which, let's face it, may or may not be worth $n. Yes, I could order it through Uni channels, but not on a Sunday, and the Uni is feeling a little strapped for cash too.
And while I am on the topic, what is it with the permissions issues when ordering a copy of a paper via inter-library loans? It is for personal use only (fair enough) but you can't order it if you think your colleagues may have had a copy recently. But... their copy will have been for personal use... so presumably you have to order everything that might be vaguely interesting before team mates do if you want to read it. Is this a way of enforcing us to use 3rd party filtering mechanisms rather than read things ourselves? It confuses me...
So, anyway, once again I have managed to foil the mechanisms in place to stop knowledge from being shared. Now I guess I will have to also review the resource I managed to get hold of (it was rather good) so that others can get more of a gist of what it is about than is provided in the abstract. Now where did I leave that spare month/year I need so I can read as well as code, and write, and meet, and think... and, ideally, play occasionally?
Keywords: immediacy, insitution, knowledge, walled-garden