One Term, Many Meanings 3 theories, and that is only possible within the framework of open commu- nication of research results (Merton 1973). Scientists also have an ethical obligation to produce knowledge that is socially valuable. This view has a strong ideological basis rooted in the pursuit of the democratization of knowledge reinforced by recent developments in research funders’ poli- cies. These policies have introduced the societal impact criterion in the evaluation of grant proposals that requires researchers to prove the soci- etal return on investment of publicly funded research. For example, all research proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) must include a “broader impact” statement describing how the proposed research would benefit society. These developments are further contribut- ing to the openness in scholarship by urging researchers to seek effective venues for openly sharing their research findings with other scholars and with the public. Openness as Freedom of Inquiry Openness as freedom of inquiry has its historical roots in the social justice movements that led to passage of the Freedom of Information Act (1967)4 and the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments (1996).5 These documents enforced the public’s rights to have access to official information held by the government and public bodies in order to ensure that “government decision-making at all levels is transparent, public records are open to public scrutiny, and individuals have rights of access to such information” (Peters and Britez 2006, xvii), unless there are reasonable grounds for withholding such information from the public domain. Openness as Freedom from Cost The term “open” is often used synonymously with the term “free” as in “free of charge.” According to Downes (2007, 32), “the concept of ‘open’ entails, it seems, at a minimum, no cost to the consumer or user of the resource.” However, true openness is a matter of freedom, not price. Project Gutenberg clarifies the difference between free of charge and freedom in this fashion: “Free of charge means that you don’t have to pay for the book you received. Freedom denotes that you may do as you like with the book you received” (Project Gutenberg, n.d.). Richard Stallman states it even more succinctly when explaining the meaning of free soft- ware: “To understand the concept, you should think of ‘free’ as in ‘free speech’, not as in ‘free beer’” (GNU Operating System, n.d.).
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