Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dark Research: How big a threat is it?

"Solar eclipse 1999 4 NR" by I, Luc Viatour
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 
A little experiment of mine over on the National Review website*, debunking part of an article posted there, makes me ponder two questions (one small question and one much larger question):

(1) The little question: Just as there has been a massive campaign to sow seeds of doubt about the reality of climate change, is the meat industry now starting a corollary campaign to sow seeds of doubt about the role that "big meat" (and its attendant methane output) plays in global warming?

(2) The big question: Which is the bigger threat to democracy: (a) Citizens United, (b) NDAA (pick any recent year), or (c) the locking of almost all scientific studies behind paywalls so that most of us only have access to summaries of those studies (written by spin-doctors, many of whom are funded by the same dark-money "not-for-profit" foundations that fund and direct some of the original research)?

I don't know what to call this phenomenon of locking studies behind paywalls ("dark research"?). At any rate, looking at the intense backlash against Aaron Swartz (threatened with a 50 year jail term for violating the 'terms of use' of his JSTOR account!) suggests that some very powerful forces want to keep dark research -- dark.

* Here are the main entries from my thread in the Comments section of the National Review article referenced above. Note that Julie Kelly is one of the two authors of the article.