[open-science] Open science from public funding

Jean-Claude Bradley jeanclaude.bradley at gmail.com
Tue Mar 17 08:44:28 UTC 2009

The Bayh-Dole act does have an effect on sharing on a few levels.  In
principle one could make all data public immediately after filing a
provisional US patent, which involves simply putting a copy of work to be
published in an envelope and paying a fee.  It buys the researcher a year to
file a full international patent.  We used to do this routinely before
sending out any manuscript for publication.  You could probably just copy
your lab notebook and raw data files and do the same if you wanted to share
your notebook as quickly as possible and still maintain patent protection.
However there is a strong dissentive to do so because any public document
that seems to contradict the findings in the patent could be used down the
road to challenge a patent.  So there would be a downside to publishing
failed experiments.  When you report 80% yield someone might looks at all
the experiments where the yields were much lower.

Also people don't all agree about what should be made public.  I don't think
it should be mandatory to share all data (essentially Open Notebook Science)
but I think that funding agencies should view it as a positive if that is
included in grant applications.


On Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 4:16 AM, Bill Hooker <cwhooker at fastmail.fm> wrote:

> > On what grounds should any data not be open?
> In the US, the Bayh-Dole act is the main culprit:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayh-Dole_Act
> It allows universities and other research bodies to own IP derived from
> federally funded work.  Beancounters responded to this in predictable
> fashion, and all US scientists who "came of age" (e.g. went through grad
> school) since 1980 have been steeped all their careers in the resulting
> culture of secrecy.
> Add to Bayh-Dole the skyrocketing level of competition for research
> positions in academia over the last three decades (competition based
> almost exclusively on publication, publication in turn being dependent
> on data) and you reach the current situation where researchers would
> rather share a toothbrush than share data (Carol Goble?).
> There is, I think, a similar provision in Australian law -- certainly
> all universities and research institutions have tech transfer offices,
> and certainly the same bass-ackwards me-first scientific culture has
> arisen there.  I don't know about other countries.
> cheers,
> B.
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Jean-Claude Bradley, Ph. D.
E-Learning Coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Drexel University

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