09 March 2010

Open Science vs. Intellectual Monopolies

Here's a key section from the new Royal Society report "The scientific century: securing our future prosperity":

Science thrives on openness - the free exchange of idea, knowledge and data. Changes to the way that information is shared are already accelerating developments in certain disciplines and creating new approaches to research. This openness can create a tension with the need to capture and exploit intellectual property. But it also presents an opportunity for scientific collaboration and innovation.

Well, maybe it creates a tension because intellectual monopolies are fundamentally antithetical to science and knowledge. Maybe the scientific community needs to realise this, and ought to refuse to compromise on its basic tenets of sharing knowledge for the greater good, not least because the shift from analogue to digital is magnifying their importance. Maybe the report should have been less pusillanimous in this respect. And maybe, because it wasn't, it will be yet another case of words, words, words...

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4 comments:

Julius Beezer said...

You're right Glyn, as usual.

The problem is so many learned societies fund their activities from traditional (dead tree) publishing, and change is very painful for them.

It's not called a revolution for nothing.

glyn moody said...

@Julius: sadly, yes - these particular chickens are coming home to roost...

drkoepsell said...

see my article on the subject here:
http://www.interdisciplines.org/liquidpub/papers/1/version/original

glyn moody said...

@drkoepsell: nice intro to that particular branch of open science - thanks.