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A bearded 52-year-old Canadian university librarian is leading a digital revolt that is starting to go global. It began when an academic database proposed increasing the fee it charges the University of Prince Edward Island by 120 per cent. Mark Leggott snapped.
“The world’s knowledge is increasingly being held to ransom and available only to those who can pay the fees,” Leggott told the Star on Tuesday.
He announced in a campus-wide letter that as chief librarian he had cancelled UPEI’s subscription to Web of Science and was launching “an effort to create a free and open index to the world’s scholarly literature called ‘Knowledge For All’.”
Success, she says, would mean “all students, researchers and public around the world will have access to an exhaustive database of the world’s scholarship, not just the lucky few.”
She pointed to scholars in the developing world who now cannot hope to have the resources of wealthy Western universities.