Recently, more statements have been issued from the White House and the OSTP about how equitable access to scientific information is driving their policies around OA publishing, and behaving as if the two — equity and free content — naturally belong together.
They only belong together if you’re attempting to constrain a free market through government-imposed uniformity.
Equity is a term that sounds lovely, and as far as equitable opportunity goes is something society should fully support. Everyone should have the same shot at doing what they want, loving who they love, and being what they want to be.
That doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed success, however, and it doesn’t mean the larger society will suspend logic or standards, or suddenly become friendly and benign. The world remains competitive, love remains uncertain, cretins remain cretinous, and ambition doesn’t necessary result in success.
So far, so basic. But when you traverse a few different flavors of equity, you can see why “free” and “equitable” are not inextricably or even properly linked, or supportive of opportunity and freedom when conjoined.