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ellen at spam.free.at.last ellen at spam.free.at.last
Sat May 23 21:20:45 EST 1998

I find your thoughts very interesting -- and very flattering to the
US. ;)

One other factor that may be relevant is the notion of 'classified
research' and its history in the US. Given our history of atom bombs
and napalm and other little contributions like that to world 
civilization, most of our universities and some of our research
institutions that rely on public funding are very sensitive to what
exactly they're researching and have rules about what sorts of projects
can be carried out and do not permit classified research. Which means
that the proposals and the final reports must be publicly available.
Viewed in this light, it's no so much that the goal is to share the
fruits of research as to prevent the kind of research whose fruits
cannot be shared.

In article <EtEnC0.16n at planet.ari.dpi.qld.gov.au>,
Ian Staples <staplei at planet.ari.dpi.qld.gov.au> wrote:
>Jackie Potts <jacqueline.potts at bbsrc.ac.uk> writes:
>>Oz wrote:
>>> I am afraid your protestations are simply invalid. I think the main
>>> reason is that you can't be bothered, unlike the US academic
>>> institutions.
>>We are bothered, but we have to be realistic. We are required to realise
>>our assets. Have you tried getting access to Ordnance Survey data, soil
>>survey data or even met. data from the Met. Office for free? They were
>>all publicly funded.
>At the risk of boring you all, allow me to say once again that I suspect
>the fundamental problem is in the cultural background of the two countries
>(UK and USA).  Indeed, you could add a third by including us (Australia)
>in with the UK in this context.
>You poms and we aussies have been brought up in a system where "the
>Crown" owns and controls things, and we peasants are only allowed
>such privileges as the Crown deigns to pass down to us -- even when,
>as in this case, the poor bloody peasants have paid for most or all
>of it through taxes or whatever.  We accept it because that's the
>way it is and always was.
>The yanks, on the other hand, went though a bloody revolution to get
>rid of the Crown, and they are consequently much more aware of such
>things as civil rights and who's the servant of who.  They *know*
>that the government and its institutions belong to "the people", not
>the other way round!
>On top of that, or probably as a consequence of it, it seems that
>the yanks have arranged things so that their government institutions
>are obliged to make information available to the people for the cost
>of physical reproduction (i.e. no mark up for the cost of gathering
>the information to begin with -- after all, "the people" have already
>paid for that).
>I'd be interested to know just how far that concept still applies
>in the US with the rise of so-called "economic rationalism".  
>"User pays" is certainly all the rage here these days, even though 
>that does usually mean twice! 
>Cheers,  Ian S.
>Ian Staples                        MS-Mail: staplesi at dpi.qld.gov.au
>c/- P.O. Box 1054 MAREEBA          Phone  : +61 (0)70 928 555 Home 924 847
>Queensland Australia 4880            Fax  : +61 (0)70 923 593   "   "   "

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