[open-science] Danes step away from patenting in favour of ‘open science’ | THE News

Jenny Molloy jcmcoppice12 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 10 15:07:31 UTC 2017

I coordinate OpenPlant <https://www.openplant.org/> at the University of
Cambridge, we are releasing foundational tools for DNA manipulation and
assembly and collections of plant DNA parts free from patents and under an Open
Material Transfer Agreement <https://biobricks.org/openmta/> (because even
unpatented material can be restricted by contracts that are standard
practice in material transfers). This is a two tier strategy - releasing
the enabling technologies openly but not inhibiting patenting of inventions
built on those materials, which seems to be the case at Aarhus as well.

If anyone hit a paywall with Heather's link, here is an alternative:

As others have pointed out, the SGC, The Neuro at McGill, OSM and other
open source drug discovery initiatives are probably the best examples so
far. There are also experiments in open cell lines championed by New Harvest
<http://www.new-harvest.org/>, open source seeds <http://osseeds.org/>
(again, this is to get around not only patents but other IP like breeders
rights) and high profile company decisions like Tesla's patent pledge. Like
Luc said, depending on the context not patenting may sometimes be less
effective than patenting and openly or permissively licensing or creating a
managed commons like a standards consortium. Sometimes restrictive
licensing might be the only way to actually get something tangible into the
real world, it's a whole different ball game to software and digital
resources because of material costs of production and a whole range of
other economic/political/social reasons. The real question for me is what
IP strategy in a particular context leads to the greatest positive impact
of the science, all things considered.

I don't have time to write a very long response, but I've been thinking
about this a lot because I'm in the middle of convening a Faculty Research
Group here in Cambridge at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences
and Humanities on 'Open IP models for emerging technologies and
implications for an equitable society'. We'll be looking at this in the
context mostly of synthetic biology AI, green technologies like electric
vehicles, additive manufacturing and maybe a couple more technologies. Some
related reading below for those who are interested in the topic (one book
is not freely accessible, but if you google the chapters you'll find
several of them in repositories) and I'll post our programme and
bibliography here when it's finalised.


Hope, Janet. Biobazaar: the open source revolution and biotechnology
Harvard University Press. 2009.
Ziegler, N., Gassmann, O., & Friesike, S. (2014). Why do firms give away
their patents for free?
World Patent Information, 37, 19-25. doi:10.1016/j.wpi.2013.12.002
Patent Pools, Clearinghouses, Open Source Models and Liability Regimes
Cambridge University Press, 2009.
van Zwanenberg, Patrick, Mariano Fressoli, Valeria Arza, Adrian Smith, and
Anabel Marin. "Open and Collaborative Developments
<https://opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/handle/123456789/13128>." (2017).

On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 11:03 AM, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:

> Thanks all,
> 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" [1] 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 http://discuss.contentmine.org/t/error-analysis-in-ami-phylo
> /116 .
> My example of leading ONS is chemistry, opensourcemalaria.org by Mat Todd
> and colleagues.
> 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 [2]- 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.
> P.
> [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_notebook_science
> [2] https://www.slideshare.net/petermurrayrust/wikifactmine-for-
> plant-chemistry
> 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:
>> http://www.e-pages.dk/aarhusuniversitet/1618/html5/
>> 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
>> it.
>> L.
>> 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:
>>> https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2001259
>>> http://www.mcgill.ca/neuro/open-science-0
>>> https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/in-montreal-a-wee-op
>>> ening-in-the-closed-world-of-science-research/article33372907/
>>> 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?
>>> Does
>>> > anyone know of any other initiatives like this?
>>> >
>>> > https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/danes-step-away-pa
>>> tenting-favour-open-science
>>> >
>>> > best,
>>> >
>>> > Heather Morrison
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > _______________________________________________
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>>> >
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> --
> Peter Murray-Rust
> Reader Emeritus in Molecular Informatics
> Unilever Centre, Dept. Of Chemistry
> University of Cambridge
> CB2 1EW, UK
> +44-1223-763069 <+44%201223%20763069>
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