[open-science] How can open science stop the privatization of science?

Tom Olijhoek tom.olijhoek at gmail.com
Mon Mar 17 11:41:56 UTC 2014

Thanks for alerting us to this article. It made for interesting reading.
Puneet already made some excellent remarks.
My thoughts on this are the following First of all,  I can't help but
thinking that the underlying idea here is that given enough money we can
solve all problems. But although research needs money, transparency in the
form of open science practices is what advances science.
Second, for privately funded research there is no inherent obligation to
share results widely , to publish open access, to allow re-use. In addition
research topics tend to be determined top-down, and often only useful for a
small select group of humanity, instead of driven by the needs of the
global community.
I also think that independence of research is at risk, because many of the
billionaires made their money with high tech, and so they mostly think that
high tech solutions are  the answer for all problems. and so most research
is done exploring these domains.
Take for example food research. Many think that the world can only be
nourished if widespread use of recombinant plants is promoted. The
scientific reasons for this are questionable. But the spin-off here is that
companies like Monsanto go for worldwide patents on the use of all seeds.
Food research is an area of research where many interests are at stake, but
the consumer is very confused on what research is trustworthy.Very often
claims for the safety of food are made using false logical reasoning like:
there is no evidence for harm, so the food is safe (ie there is evidence
for no harm which is wrong).  Transparency  in knowing how research has
been done and how it has been funded is important. Company funded research
may certainly have skewed results, but also private funding can produce
biased results caused by blind faith in high tech or other personal
preferences and dismissal of other lines of thinking.
Open science. open access and bottom-up selection for research topics could
counteract all the above pitfalls and keep science independent, unbiased
and useful for more than a handful of people.

On Sun, Mar 16, 2014 at 1:16 PM, Rayna <rayna.st at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear all,
> I hope this finds you well. Below is a brilliant piece that discusses the
> increasing trend of privatization of science:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/science/billionaires-with-big-ideas-are-privatizing-american-science.html?hp&_r=1
> It discusses the question of how funding alters research and science in
> general from an epistemological perspective (although it doesn't say it
> that way :) ).
> This is of course a crucial question to address. We as Open and Citizen
> science advocates, might come up with a slightly different one: is
> Open/Citizen science a means to sanitize research practices when it boils
> down to funding?
> Looking forward to reading your thoughts :)
> Rayna
> --
> "Change l'ordre du monde plutôt que tes désirs."
> http://me.hatewasabi.info/
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Tom Olijhoek
Codex Consult
coordinator @ccess open access working group  at OKF
DOAJ  member of Advisory Board
freelance advisor for the WorldBank Publishing Group
TEL +(31)645540804
SKYPE tom.olijhoek
Twitter   @ccess
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