By Alexey Voinov
Science is getting increasingly bureaucratized, more and more driven by metrics and indices, which have very little to do with the actual scientific content and recognition among peers. This is actively supported by the still dominant for-profit publication mechanism, which harvests products of scientific research for free, processes, reviews and edits them using voluntary work of scientists themselves and then sells the resulting papers back to the scientific community at obscene costs. The original ideals of scientific pursuit of truth for the sake of the betterment of humanity are diluted and forfeited in the exhausting race for grants, tenure, patents, citations and nominations. Something has to change, especially in the era of post-normal science when so much is at stake, and so little is actually done to address the mounting problems of the environment and society.
In computer programming open source emerged in the 1980s largely in opposition to attempts at licensing code and the growing dominance of Windows with the annoyingly secretive policies of Microsoft. It came as the idealistic philosophy of software development that stems from the so-called “gift culture” and “gift economy” based on this culture.