Recent Changes Camp: Media and Science progress toward open content

At Recent Changes Camp, I heard signs from two very different directions — fan fiction and biomedical research — that open content business models are finally reaching the mainstream.
Laura Hale of the Fan History Wiki talked about how, since 2005, big media companies have stopped harrassing independent fan groups with takedown notices and other threats. Instead, they have set up their own commercial fan hosting sites, and use those as a way to promote their brand’s content. Independent communities still exist. The big media companies can dismiss them as “unauthorized”. The indies think of themselves as un-coopted. The main story is, the business model has changed, and the media companies think of communities as ways to make money, and not worth legal prosecution.
Ehud Lamm, a researcher in the philosophy of science, shared that the NIH, after years of debate, had mandated that researchers taking NIH money must make their papers available to the public. This decision was ratified into law in December of last year. Since the NIH is a major funder of biomedical research, this will have a transformative affect.
When the internet reached the mainstream, models based on open access to content and active user communities became more powerful than models based on limited access to physical artifacts. It’s taken a decade for institutions and business models to adapt. But the times are changing, and the participants in wiki communities are seeing up close the results of the change.

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