[open-science] Danes step away from patenting in favour of ‘open science’ | THE News
pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Thu Aug 10 10:03:38 UTC 2017
The term "Open Science" is too broad to be operationally useful - it is an
aspiration and an umbrella for many different components and practices.
When Jean-Claude Bradley was developing his open approach he started to use
"Open Science". I counselled him that this was so broad that it would not
be able to describe what he was doing and wanted to see. He accepted this
and coined the term "Open Notebook Science"  which I think has worked
out extremely well.
I and my colleagues in contentmine.org practice ONS - see for example
https://riojournal.com/article/13589/ where Ross Mounce and I computed a
microbial supertree and recorded all our work as we did it. The complete
ONS log is at
My example of leading ONS is chemistry, opensourcemalaria.org by Mat Todd
Generally Open Science on bits (knowledge, simulations) is much easier than
Open Science on atoms (chemistry, medicine, etc.) . Open Science based
solely on bits is fundamentally sharable and reproducible (although this is
hard at present because of the lack of tools - no one in academia values
the creation of good tools). But unless all the bits are completely
free-to-use, free-to-reuse, free-to-redistribute then it is impossible
(sic) to do knowledge-based Open Science. ContentMine+Wikimedia have
created WikiFactMine - which reads upwards of 1000 papers every day, but
we can *only* use the CC BY (SA), CC0 papers which limits us to ca 10% of
scholarly knowledge. Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem showed very recently
that ca 50% of the modern "Open Access" literature is not free-to-reuse.
This is a serious loss
The primary justifiable restraints on re-use of knowledge come with
higher-level constraints such as privacy, human rights and protection of
critical resources (e.g. animals and plants).
Atoms are much harder. They cannot be replicated so in many subjects
reproducibility is very hard. In some cases (astronomy, particle physics)
it is possible for the world to share the use and outputs of major
scientific instruments. But most instruments, reagents, animals, etc. are
not easily sharable and depend on (at least) the agreement on community
standards for assessment of identity and quality.
Among the Open issues (where reproducibility is a major problem) are:
* Open materials transfer agreements
* Open hardware designs and licences
* Open organisms
Returning to patents - I completely agree that in many sciences -
especially biosciences - over-patenting ("thickets") is a very serious
problem. But we need defences and not patenting may be a problem as patent
trolls and others can forbid scientists to use their own inventions. My
Shuttleworth colleague Catharina Maracke has been exploring Open patents as
a defensive measure against this maximalism.
On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 8:45 AM, Luc Henry <luc.henry at hackuarium.ch> wrote:
> Dear Heather, dear all,
> Indeed, it is an interesting step towards open source science:
> The Structural Genomic Consortium (SGC) has had this policy for a long
> time now: http://www.thesgc.org/openaccess/about/details
> The Montreal Neurological Institute (aka The Neuro at McGill) mentioned by
> Daniel has been heavily inspired by the SGC that was founded at the
> University of Toronto.
> I think we should carefully, but seriously, consider open source as an
> important part of open science, but it is not the panacea. From what I
> observe, it works in precompetitive research, and it works with
> technologies that are not the core business of an industry. Some argue that
> generous licensing of a patented technology can bring more impact than open
> sourcing it.
> If anyone knows of any analysis on the topic, I would love to hear about
> On 10 August 2017 at 04:55, Daniel Mietchen <daniel.mietchen at googlemail.
> com> wrote:
>> The Montreal Neurological Institute has also dropped institutional
>> support for patents in favour of open science:
>> On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 3:45 AM, Heather Morrison
>> <Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca> wrote:
>> > Patent-free research seems a logical step for open science - comments?
>> > anyone know of any other initiatives like this?
>> > https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/danes-step-away-
>> > best,
>> > Heather Morrison
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > open-science mailing list
>> > open-science at lists.okfn.org
>> > https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-science
>> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/open-science
>> open-science mailing list
>> open-science at lists.okfn.org
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/open-science
> open-science mailing list
> open-science at lists.okfn.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/open-science
Reader Emeritus in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dept. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
CB2 1EW, UK
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the open-science