The ideology of PeerLibrary

Ideological reasons not only influenced the "openness" of PeerLibrary, but created the entire project. PeerLibrary emerged from conversations regarding the failure of the print publishing model reapplied to the digital age: scholars being denied insignificantly small downloads of utmost importance, the inexplicably high costs of publication, and the unreliability of peer review as the primary method of quality control. Tony and I felt that we should address this problem in two spaces: advocacy and tools (alternatively, activism and hacktivism). We started an open access advocacy group (the Open Access Initiative at Berkeley) simultaneously with PeerLibrary, and there has always been a significant intersection of people involved in the two spaces of action. Even though PeerLibrary is now organizationally independent from the advocacy group, ideological commitment to open access scholarship is inseparable from the project.

Another space for ideological discussion was the choice of license for the codebase. There has always been consensus that PeerLibrary should be free and open source software. Early versions were released under the BSD 2-clause license, a permissive free software license. Tony and I chose that license because we were against any kind of artifical scarcity.

At some point, Mitar brought the concern that a subscription-based journal or database could integrate PeerLibrary behind a paywall, reducing the incentive to make publications available. We discussed whether we cared more about advancing the project's technological features (e.g. collaborative annotation) or open access. We unanimously chose the latter and switched to the GNU Affero General Public License, a copyleft license.

added Comments Thomas 11/6/2013 (see commit description)