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The social-economic value of art and science informatic communication dedicated to Pino
Stefano Colonna
ISSN 1127-4883     BTA - Telematic Bulletin of Art, August 30th 2001, n. 280

Periodic publishing of partial outcomes of researches during a time predefinite and not higher than six mounths, is the primary tool for a constant adjournment of scholars.
Monographs publishing is indeed an una tantum and general explanation of data.
Risk of plagiarism connected to entrusting to third parties the publishing of discoveries into periodicals, is compensated by collective resulting by reciprocal exchange of informations, but especially by authority and efficience of system considered in his complete functionality.
Theorically two way of communication, periodical and monographical, are however, for their nature, complementary and not-alternative.

Transformation of the so-called mass-society into information-society; creation and recognition of value of the so-called immaterials good and services, not only inside a scientific community, but also and principally in the civic and civil society, have produced a decompensation able to criticize the traditional system of culture spreading between the scholars through periodic publishing.
Infact, recent and often not-controlled increasing of scholarly papery periodicals' cost, have reduced scholarly communication, imposing an economic precondition to periodicals' access. Besides very recent manifestation of inedit pitfalls inside on-line scholarly publishing exchange.
Interlibrarian consortia created to make as intermediary to stipulate generals agreements with editors of electronic periodicals, with no doubt obtain the effect of control the prices. However capacity to negotiate the agreements is directly proportional to dimension of the contracting party, then regulating principle and related strenght of this agreements is'nt caused by a qualitative dimension, but by a quantitative, with related dependence by market laws according to economic free-trade policy. Besides necessity of adhesion to consortia by single institutions induce related creation of structures, bonds and hierarchies that are inedits then hard to interpretate and manage.

The real problem of modern and future system of studies does'nt appear to be scholars' difficulty to access to instruction, because this have a fixed cost, that is qualifiable with precision and it's reimbursable through scholarship by merit. Excite greater worry the cost very variable then potentially high due to acquired of raw materials of scholars, i.e. periodicals; cost that cause a censocratic and theorically antidemocratic selection of scholars or research institutions. Besides the ever increasing dissemination of scientific contribution inside periodicals, cause a difficulty to join very wide materials necessary also for a medium-range dimension research.

To compensate the problems above-mentioned, in the countries of common law has been invented the new principle of so-called "fair-use", i.e. set of exceptions to copyright guaranted in educational milieu and in a not for profit teaching, principle that has been positively received by European Union, too.
Under protective umbrella of "fair-use", and as his practical application, it would multiply free electronic periodicals for not-to profit educational aims. But in the same places where this project was borne, and especially in humanistic and history of art field, there aren't again objective results proportioned to necessities of scholars. I.e. free electronic periodicals and related services have difficulty to develop as proportioned to necessities of scholars.

This situation may have two negative effects:

  1. decreasing of data control for impossibility of their discovery in appropriate time of research and related weaken of the very concept of science in the direction of an authoritative and selfreferencing system.
  2. tendency to create very restricted lobbies where the partners' interest prevail upon interest of art and science.

Restriction of authonomy of art and science is equivalent, mutatis mutandis, to violation of article 33 of Constitution of Italian Republic, where you read:
« 33. L'arte e la scienza sono libere e libero ne è l'insegnamento »
« 33. Art and science are free and free is their teaching, too »

It's necessary assure the freedom of art and science, saving in the same time the inalienable rights of authors, secrecy of patents and discoveries during the time before their registration and the principles and rights of free market and fair and necessary profits of commercial tradings.

I want here to assert the general principle that the goods, or the texts, produced inside a system with controlled economy, as such as the world of the Studies, have to be changed with the same regime which have produced.
Then, if they have been produced in a not-for profit regime, they have to be transferred according to this regime again. Indeed, can and must exchange with no particular limit, the goods produced in commercial environments.

I want to especially affirm the idea that immaterial informatic goods have the same value of material goods in proportion as this value is recognized; indeed, regard to thats, they have major capacity to create additional-value with their automatic treatment, instant availability and potential interoperability.

Since the creation of additional-value results from adoption of "best practices" and demolition of barriers, that's configured not only as a scientific choice, but moreover as a civic and social goal, it's possible to affirm that economic value of so informatic communication is fundamentally social. As social is the recognizing of the value itself, after it has been produced.

Then calculation of cost of periodical have to be proportioned to necessity of their disponibility; and this to capacity of communication between the scholars, that finally have to be considered as a subject, but also object of ecomic value.

The positive and bursting strength of development of Information Society, able to create multi-millionaire profits through the so-called New Economy, produce also value of opposite signe, creating negative vortexes. If bad compensed, this long-wave may cause, a global recession with effects disastrous, exactly as planetary.
A correct communication of art and science and his spreading between scholars and civil society allow indeed to put in balance this system with advantage of humanity.


The Association of Research Libraries, Washington DC - USA, inside SPARC, The Scholarly publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, have published in 2001 Declaring Independence, with grief-stricken appeal to scholars, for free spreading of the culture through creation of initiatives propitious to scientific community. Text Declaring Independence in PDF format.

For distinction between civic society and civil society look: ANDREAS FØLLESDAL (ARENA - Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation-State. A basic research programme under The Research Council of Norway), Constructing A European Civic Society - Participation and Belonging in a Multi-Level Europe, Dialogue Workshop European Citizenship: beyond Borders, across Identities, Brussels April 23-24 2001. ser_citizen_follesdal.pdf



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