The suicide of computer prodigy and internet activist Aaron Swartz on January 11th has prompted a groundswell of support for the open access movement - the push to make academic publications available online, free of charge and without copyright restrictions.
Swartz helped invent RSS feeds - the technology that allows website updates and internet search results to be automatically delivered to users - and co-founded the social news site Reddit. He was also a staunch advocate of open access, which he viewed as a social justice issue. His Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto began:
Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world's entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations.
Swartz went on to exhort those with access to academic publications to share that content however they could: