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The giant leap

In his latest talk with with prominent open access advocates 
Richard Poynder is talking to Dr Alma Swan. It's a fascinating 
and scary picture that is presented.

In the late fifties Mao Zedong introduced that Great Leap and now 
fifty years later we are going to take a giant leap according to 
Dr Swan.

In China backyard steel furnances would do the job; in Dr Swans 
world it's the mandate and local institutional repository that is 
going to change the world away from big industry and the 
capitalist society.

Open Access is inevitable according to Dr Swan, as once Socialism 
was. Mandate is the key to the Open Access World.

Instead of Five Year Plans we will have Metrics to see to it that 
the way forward is the Green Way.

The commissars overlooking that the Giant Leap will happen is 
"Pro-Vice- Chancellors" at the universities, the real 
reprsentatives of the research communities.

A citatation from Wikipedia:

These reforms (sometimes now referred to as /The Little Leap 
Forward/) were generally unpopular with the peasants and usually 
implemented by summoning them to meetings and making them stay 
there for days and sometimes weeks until they "voluntarily" 
agreed to join the collective.

A citation by Dr Swan:

AS: Mandates are essential for lots of reasons. One reason is 
that they make researchers aware of Open Access where they 
weren't before. The level of ignorance is still very high. And if 
their university suddenly requires them to do something it will 
focus researchers' minds. More mportantly, of course, a mandate 
will actually make them do it, because regardless of the Open 
Access Advantage, they won't put their research into a repository 
if they don't have to. It's another bureaucratic thing to do. And 
they still have worries about the legality of it. Being told by 
their institution to do it gives them the feeling that it is safe 
and sensible to do it. So to make them do it you need to tell 
them that they have to!

Richard Poynder's comment:

Dr Swan has a clear eye for what is needed

How will the future be?

AS: Once the content and the infrastructure are in place we are 
going to see knowledge take a giant leap. The way to view it is 
that the last 7-8,000 years or so of human civilisation's 
struggle for knowledge has taken place on one plane, determined 
and constrained by what our own brains can absorb, put together 
and make sense of: now we are about to move to another plane 
altogether, with the help of machine brains.

>From profit makers to machine brains, what a future!


Jan Szczepanski
Forste bibliotekarie
Goteborgs universitetsbibliotek
E-mail: Jan.Szczepanski@ub.gu.se