UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

A Tribute to Aaron Swartz: Lets Make #pdftribute Trend

Posted by Brian Kelly on 13 Jan 2013

I’m sure many readers of this blog will have heard the news of the untimely death of Aaron Swartz. As described on the BBC News Web site:

Aaron Swartz, a celebrated internet freedom activist and early developer of the website Reddit, has died at 26.

The activist and programmer took his life in his New York apartment, a relative and the state medical examiner said. His body was found on Friday.

A sad day, especially for those who share Aaron Swartz’s commitment to openness and admire his commitment to the development of tools, services and standards, such as RSS, which have helped to make open access to resources accessible on a global basis.

Earlier today I came across a tweet which encouraged academics to show their support for Aaron’s work:

Please share: Academics posting their papers online in tribute to Aaron Swartz using hashtag #pdftribute.

Storify summary of #pdftribute tweetsI would like to endorse this proposal. I have created a Storify summary of the #pdftribute tweets, which contains over 500 posts since the call was made just over 3 hours ago.

Although we have see that initial tweet being widely retweets, as @neuroconscience (Micah Allen) has suggested:

Folks as exciting as #pdftribute is we need less links talking about it and more actual paper posting.

But what could be said in 140 characters?

Within my Twitter stream I have already seen tweets from those involved in supporting their institutional repository including @SarahNicholas:

Cardiff academics! Post your articles to @CardiffOrca#openaccess#pdftribute

and @glamlaflib (Sue House):

Glamorgan academics can deposit their articles & papers here (if you retained the copyright) #pdftribute

I have also seen @openscience endorsing @jambina’s reminder of the role which can be played by librarians:

Librarians: always friends in #openaccess#openscience MT @jambina: librarians can help you free your work. we are on your side #pdftribute

Meanwhile @MrGunn describes services which can be used:

@opendna @venturejessica @Aine Mendeley can push into to local repository via Symplectics Elements, other routes can be made with Open API.

Of course many researchers are demonstrating their commitment to providing open access to their research papers:

Others, such as @mlterpstra (ML Terpstra) make the case for open data policies:

#public funded #academia should have a #opendata policy for their scientific papers #Aaron #pdftribute. Lets call it #AaronsLaw?@birgittaj

whilst others provide a more political view:

@MarietjeD66 @mikebutcher Let this be the start of the end of the ridiculous copyright laws. #pdftribute #AaronSwarz

Would you like to join in by giving your views or ensuring that your Twitter community is aware of how you have made your research papers openly available?

Note archives of the #pdftribute tweets are available at and

View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy] | View Twitter statistics from: [TweetReach] – []


2 Responses to “A Tribute to Aaron Swartz: Lets Make #pdftribute Trend”

  1. […] A Tribute to Aaron Swartz: Lets Make #pdftribute Trend […]

  2. […] Brian Kelly’s A Tribute to Aaron Swartz: Lets Make #pdftribute Trend highlighted me to PDFTribute, the campaign to show support for Aaron’s work (including the […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: