Exciting news! I have officially put all of the blog posts on Economics from the Top Down in the Creative Commons. At the bottom of each post, you’ll now see the following icon:
This Creative Commons licence means that the post is officially ‘free culture’. You can do anything you want with it, as long as you attribute the original work to the author (usually me, Blair Fix) and link back to Economics from the Top Down.
So what does this Creative Commons license change? For blog readers, it changes nothing. My posts have always been free, and will continue to be so. Instead, the Creative Commons license makes clear how you can share my writing. The CC BY licence gives you free reign to share and remix my work (even sell it, if you want). So there’s no need to ask permission to repost or translate my writing. You can just do it. The same goes with my charts. You can use them (with attribution) as you see fit.
(Sidenote: if you want to tell me how you’re using my work, I enjoy hearing from you.)
A Creative Commons commitment
While I’m writing about the Creative Commons, let me take the opportunity to make a commitment to myself and my readers. Going forward, everything that I write will be in the Creative Commons.
As I’ve just announced, this blog is in the commons, so that’s done.
Next, I want my peer-reviewed writing to be in the commons. Accomplishing that is a bit trickier. If I had unlimited funds, I would happily pay to publish articles open access. But I do not have such funds, nor (at the moment) any institutional affiliation to gain such funds. That means I’ll have to settle for a two-pronged approach. I’ll first publish behind a pay-wall. Then I’ll put the post-review manuscript on the Open Science Framework where you can access it for free. (This two-pronged approach is now the norm in many disciplines. Physicists, for instance, do much of their reading on the arXiv.)
Last there’s books. As some of you may know, I have already written one book — Rethinking Economic Growth Theory from a Biophysical Perspective. It was published while I was a PhD student. At the time I was just grateful for the opportunity to write a book, so the bigger picture of open access was not on my mind. As a consequence, the book is paywalled. Thankfully, you can read the (virtually identical) manuscript for free here.
Going forward, if and when I publish another book, I’m going to take the route pioneered by sci-fi writer Cory Doctorow. For the last two decades, Doctorow has published the electronic versions of his books in the Creative Commons. Then he lets a publisher charge for the print version. He calls this the ‘dandilion strategy’: let your work spread freely on the internet, like the prolific seeds of a dandelion.
Now that I’ve got my Creative Commons commitment in writing, your job is to hold me to it.
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