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Ian Staples staplei at planet.ari.dpi.qld.gov.au
Sat May 23 05:19:12 EST 1998

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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