We can discuss whether or not the current copyright laws work fine or not for stuff related to entertainment, like music, films, etc.
But when it comes to science… no way! There shouldn’t be any barrier whatsoever to the spread of scientific ideas. Science shapes the future and has been consistently making our world a better place.
It’s just too important to be subject to any sort of petty bureaucracy, and any obstacle to the free circulation of scientific knowledge and ideas inevitably slows it down.
The copyright on scientific papers doesn’t benefit authors either. It is in any scientist’s interest that his/her papers are as easily available as possible. And, by the way, there are no royalties on scientific papers, and even if there were royalties, authors hardly ever own the copyright on their papers! (Indeed, I don’t know any scientist who is motivated by money. And it’s better this way.)
We are in a situation where websites hosting copyright infringing material facilitate the work of scientists, while the US congress discusses a bill with clear negative effects on the public availability of science. There’s something wrong…
For these reasons I decided that from now on, and whenever possible, I’ll dedicate my papers to the public domain. My first attempt has been successful, here is a brief post about it.
I also published a paper on a journal that does not require the authors to surrender the copyright, I’m looking for the best way to make it clear that it has to be considered in the public domain.
My papers are not going to change the world, but yours maybe will do, if they circulate freely. Why not donating them to the public domain?