From Structured to Open Development: Open Access, Digital Archives, and Cultural Informatics

If the idea is for universities to be involved in the development and dissemination of knowledge in the face of the increasingly burdensome intellectual property regimes, then one way to accomplish this goal is to open the systems of knowledge at its point of origination. The argument of this essay is that for development to be successful, open and interpretable archives of knowledge, much like the great libraries of the world, need to be made accessible to the developing world so that they can develop systems that allow culturally situated development of the knowledge that they contain. The current model of knowledge production and distribution in university frequently abstracts significant culturally specific information that grounds the knowledge. In short, much like in Boyle’s day, to gain access to the complete picture of the knowledge represented in a scholarly paper or book, you need to have access to more than the paper itself (Leviathan and the Airpump). You need to have actually been there and observed the knowledge being produced (Science in Action). However the volume of papers and their requisite practices multiply and verify the results of scientific action giving us a body of knowledge that can be interpreted and built upon. However, in the last 25 years the amount of knowledge produced in papers is significantly more than the amount of knowledge that is published, which is significantly more than is openly accessible to people in the developing world.