Friday, July 13, 2012

Rock and roll vision

Our erstwhile European Editor is always sniffing around the Interweb to see if he can discover any snippets of information that might be useful to the readers of Vision Systems Design. I'm rather glad he is, because that's, in part, what I pay him rather exorbitant sums of money (by my standards, not his, of course!) to do.

On many occasions during his surfing activities, he stumbles across news articles written by folks that have attempted to popularize the work of academics working in the field. Unfortunately, in doing so, many of the writers of such pieces generalize the work of the researchers such that the point of the work becomes almost incomprehensible.

Fortunately, it's often the case that the folks that write such pieces take the time to provide hypertext links to direct the reader to a specific technical paper that the engineers have published in learned journals.

Sadly, though, this hasn't proved much use to our European Editor, who has discovered that -- upon reaching the sites of such learned journals -- he is required to pay a certain sum of money to read any further about the system or software that has been designed and developed.

Somewhat frustrated by this turn of events, the conniving old European Editor has figured out a way around the problem. That's right. Once realizing that a piece of work of interest has been developed that he thinks that you, our reader, might be interested in, he then performs a quick search for the author of the piece on the Interweb.

Once he has located the author's home page, of course, he inevitably discovers that the researcher -- proud to have had his work accepted for publication by the learned journal -- has posted a copy of it as a PDF on his own personal web site! That’s the place, of course, where the wily old hack discovers what is really under the hood of the technology and how relevant the work might be.

But the whole affair worries me just a little. Should such information really be available for free?

In one of my last blogs, I revealed how a chap who goes by the name of Pablo Caicedo has (apparently illegally) uploaded a 442-page volume entitled "Image Processing and Mathematical Morphology: Fundamentals and Application" by Professor Frank Shih from the New Jersey Institute of Technology onto a web site called Needless to say, the learned professor was less than impressed when we pointed this out to him.

But are the academic researchers in the vision industry not guilty of the same form of infringement too, when they choose to publish PDF of the articles owned by the academic publishers on their own websites?

It looks to me as if the paid for publishing industry is going down the chute, following in the footsteps of the recording and movie businesses. Perhaps that's why so many academics are now going on tour and on television like their rock and roll counterparts.

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