Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thoughts should, wherever possible, be free to download

I loved reading that Stephen Hawking, the author of a Brief History of Time, has agreed that his PhD thesis should now be available free on line to anybody who wants to download it.

“By making my PhD thesis open access, I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet; to wonder about our place in the universe and make sense of the cosmos,” he writes.  “Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research but to the research of every great and inquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding.”

What a lovely thought!  It made me think that I, too, would like people to have “unhindered access to my thoughts”.  And I hope that in a way they do, through this blog, which is why I so much enjoy writing it.  I feel that I am sending my thoughts far out into space, free, for anybody who is interested to read them.

Of course, even Stephen Hawking and his publishers have to earn their living, as I have to do when I publish my own books, so books, I am afraid, can rarely be handed out free, as blogs can, but the thought behind what he says is an important one.  Too many people feel that they must somehow copyright everything they do, as though clutching their thoughts tightly to themselves and reluctant to let them go except for payment.  I think the reverse should be true, and Stephen Hawking’s plea for “free, unhindered access” to thoughts is to be applauded.



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