The Intellectual Property Rights … The Master of Academic Puppets or a Raincoat?

Even though the issue of the Intellectual Property Rights should be considered the categorial imperative guiding each profession, it seems that there is still room for controversies when it comes to addressing the issue. Sadly, but true, it’s quite a worrying and sensitive aspect to be dealing with, especially in the academic world where we are actually supposed to make a living out of our own knowledge contribution to the existing package of scientific production. The initiation ritual in the holy rules of academic world is kicking-off by the Triade of Saints: Harvard & Chicago & APA, there’s neither room for a free ride, nor for bargaining … if you want to step-in, the start-off is simple … play by the rules of the game :) Nevertheless, human nature is prone to temptation and the empirical practice reveals a world with a lot of sinners, either by skipping hurriedly through the Decalogue, or by dull-witted reasons … we are not omniscient J Yet, the providence is showing its kindness by providing the humanity with The Master of Academic Puppets in the shape of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), with constant programme available both for confession and consultations at the following link http://www.wipo.int/portal/en/index.html

To sum up, the question of Intellectual Property Rights is not a raincoat that we should wear whenever its convenient to us, its just a matter of mutual respect for our predecesors and colleagues and for ourselves as researchers, academicians or whatever title we may prefer. I am really happy to be sharing with you The International Property Rights Index 2014 http://internationalpropertyrightsindex.org/ that I came across the other day, which beautifully disseminates the top rank countries where the property rights are most secure, alongside some interesting case studies. Last but not least, my personal statement (and of course a subjective one) is not that we should already start emigrating to the most secure countries in terms of the intellectual rights preservations, we can make a world of difference just by doing our job properly and playing by the rules of professional ethics in our own intellectual nests. So, would you rather play by The Master of Academic Puppets rules or dress in the raincoat?

Anyway, at the end of the day it’s everything about deciphering academese, so let’s be optimistic and enjoy the comic :) 

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# olena.fedyuk@strath.ac.uk
16 December 2014 16:11
dear Maria, thank you for the post ... the issue is indeed a tricky one. What attracts me to this debate is not so much the level of the security of the IP rights in given countries but the very politics of the knowledge production, knowledge ownership and profit.

Here is a good read for all interested: "Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist" @ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/aug/29/academic-publishers-murdoch-socialist

The question of the legitimacy of the profits generated by the the "van guard" of the academic knowledge keepers is most simple one: WHY SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T INVEST A PENNY INTO FUNDING A RESEARCH, SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T PAY NEITHER AUTHORS NOR PEER-REVIEWERS, SOMEONE WHO OUTSOURCED LANGUAGE EDITING TO INDIA AND OTHER "CHEAP LABOUR" COUNTRIES MAKES ASTRONOMIC PROFIT?
And yet, as the article demonstrates "the returns are astronomical: in the past financial year, for example, Elsevier's operating profit margin was 36% (£724m on revenues of £2bn)."

Furthermore: they don't only invest 0 into science, but they also maintain the image of someone who does disseminate knowledge (instead of someone is simply mercilessly making a buck for themselves). They are the once who create political lobbying that allowed to push regulations shutting down sites like GIGAPEDIA, so that students in the poorer universities, that don't have hundreds of thousands of EUROS for subscriptions, had no access to any knowledge. They are also the ones charging authors for putting their research ( in which the publishers have invested big round nil) on OPEN ACCESS.

And we are a part of this game, taking money from tax payers for the research that then will be turned into a profit of the publishers. For nothing.

Any thoughts?

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