*context weblog <http://straddle3.net/context/>
publish third issue of context series. The subject is "Science Commons"
that refers to some significant developments related with the free
flow of knowledge in the shared on-line environment.
"Today, whilst unprecedented advances in the sciences are foreseen,
there is need for a vigorous and informed democratic debate on the
production and use of scientific knowledge... The information and
communication revolution offers new and more effective means of
exchanging scientific knowledge and advancing education and research...
The use of information and communication technology, particularly
through networking, is to be expanded as a means to promote the
free flow of knowledge. At the same time, care must be taken to
ensure that the use of these technologies does not lead to a denial
or restriction of the richness of the various cultures and means
of expression," explains the Declaration on science and the use
of scientific knowledge, adopted in the World Conference on Science,
jointly organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the International Council
for Science (ICSU). >from *Science
for the Twenty-first Century: a New Commitment*, july 1, 1999.
This free flow of knowledge can be found in the Internet. A new
model for scientific production, publishing and access emerge in
the new environment of the networked society. But the shared on-line
environment, "like our physical environment, constitutes a global
commons, with similar imperatives for stewardship and preservation."
And, in this terrain, the choice we face, and science in particular,
is not between progress and the status quo, it is between progress
and a new Dark Ages. Information should be kept free.