= Allowing access, passage or a view
Planeta readers are motivated
by noble ideas that have inspired the movements for responsible
travel, conscious travel and ecotourism. Yet there is a divide
between the academic and policy insiders and locals and travelers
without whom we'd have no responsible travel, conscious travel
and ecotourism. Notably academic articles and books remain behind
During the 2010
European Ecotourism Conference I asked one of the professors,
why we should cite his work if it remained behind a pay wall.
Immediately I got the feeling that academics do not like being
asked such questions.
The issue came up this past month when on January 11, Aaron
Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment where he
had hanged himself. This computer programmer and Internet activist
had been a longtime proponent of open access and was facing
severe prosecution from the U.S. legal system when he committed
Supporters of Swartz responded to news of his death with an
effort called #pdftribute . Scholars posted links to their works,
accompanied by the hashtag #pdftribute. Timely in action and
generous in spirit, the movement is still in its early stages.
The future is unclear but what is certain is that across academic,
scientific, government sectors the mainstreaming of 'open' has
taken hold. When
UNESCO sponsored its conference on Open Educational Resources
last year, the tipping point was made clear. There's a new way
to share information particularly as we work to protect global
Making academic journal articles accessible to all is a good
starting point for those working in tourism and conservation.
As part of the 2013
Responsible Travel Week, I'd like to extend a call for these
articles that are available online to the public to be tweeted
with the hashtag #pdftribute.
If we want to go further - and I hope we do - I think it's
incumbent that academics and tourism professionals make their
meetings accessible to the public, at the very least via livestreaming
video. Far too many events are still held behind closed doors.
We've made this call before, but it's never been easier or inexpensive
to do this as it is today.
It's time we explore the concept of open textbooks. Could
we make the educational materials for students available to
everyone online free of charge? The ideas promulgated by Creative
Common's Cable Green are inspiring. How can this be applied
to 'responsible travel' education?
As the notion of open educational resources, open science,
open journalism and open government become part of the mainstream,
we are seeking partners who would like to explore these efforts
in making knowledge about travel and tourism, conservation and
heritage, available to anyone who is interested.
I'm not suggesting that everything has to be open, nor that
everything has to be free. But things could be more open, more
free, more accessible. If we want to better understand our world,
time to set the default to open. Comments
are welcome on my blog and let's explore our options during