[LIS-Forum] Science Commons, a new project of Creative Commons

Subbiah Arunachalam arun at mssrf.res.in
Sat Mar 12 16:45:59 IST 2005


Friends:

Are you all aware of the "Science Commons"? I got to know about it through a message I received from Dave Pentecost in today's mail and I thought I must alert you all immediately.

Arun


http://science.creativecommons.org/
Welcome to Science Commons
Science Commons is a new project of Creative Commons and will launch early 2005.

The mission of Science Commons is to encourage scientific innovation by making it easier for scientists, universities, and industries to use literature, data, and other scientific intellectual property and to share their knowledge with others. Science Commons works within current copyright and patent law to promote legal and technical mechanisms that remove barriers to sharing.

Background
The sciences depend on access to and use of factual data. Powered by developments in electronic storage and computational capability, scientific inquiry is becoming more data-intensive in almost every discipline. Whether the field is meteorology, genomics, medicine, or high-energy physics, research depends on the availability of multiple databases, from multiple public and private sources, and their openness to easy recombination, search and processing.

The American Traditions
In the United States, this process has traditionally been supported by a series of policies, laws, and practices that were largely invisible even to those who worked in the sciences themselves.

First, American intellectual property law (and, until recently, the law of most developed countries) did not allow for intellectual property protection of "raw facts." One could patent the mousetrap, not the data on the behavior of mice, or the tensile strength of steel. A scientific article could be copyrighted. The data on which it rested could not be. Commercial proprietary ownership was to be limited to a stage close to the point where a finished product entered the marketplace. The data upstream remained for all the world to use.

Second, US law mandated that even those federal government works that could be copyrighted, fell immediately into the public domain - a provision of great importance given massive governmental involvement in scientific research. More broadly, the practice in federally funded scientific research was to encourage the widespread dissemination of data at or below cost in the belief that, like the interstate system, this provision of a public good would yield incalculable economic benefits.

Third, in the sciences themselves, and particularly in the universities, a strong sociological tradition - sometimes called the Mertonian tradition of open science - discouraged the proprietary exploitation of data (as opposed to inventions derived from data) and required as a condition of publication the availability of the datasets on which the work was based.

Innovation in Technology and Legal Friction
Each of these three central tenets evolved from concepts that existed even before the Industrial Revolution--at the innately slow rate of change of the legal system. Similarly, scientific publication has a long-standing tradition. Modern technologies, especially the evolving use of the World Wide Web as a library, have forever changed the mechanisms for delivery and replication of documents. In many fields, results are published nearly as quickly as they are found. But copyright law has evolved at a different rate. Progress in modern technology combined with a legal system designed for a different technology-based environment is now leading to some unintended consequences. One of these is a kind of legal "friction" that hinders reuse of scientific discoveries and could lead to discouraging innovation.

To counterbalance, a large and vibrant community has joined together in support of the concept of Open Access for scientific literature - "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions". The U.S. National Institutes of Health have proposed mandated Open Access to all NIH-funded research starting six months after the print date, and there is support for the initiative in the U.S. Congress. Most major journals have granted authors the right to self-publish versions of their peer-reviewed papers. But the legal questions - how can an author make her work available to the public, while taking comfort that she retains some rights to it - have yet to be answered.

The different rates of change between modern technology and the law create friction in other places as well. For example, in the genetic realm, patent law has moved perilously close to being an intellectual property right over raw facts - the C's, G's A's and T's of a particular gene sequence. In other areas, complex contracts of adhesion create de facto intellectual property rights over databases, complete with "reach through agreements" and multiple limitations on use. Legislatively, the US is considering and the EU has adopted a "database right" which actually does accord intellectual property protection to facts - changing one of the most fundamental premises of intellectual property: that one could never own facts, or ideas, only the inventions or expressions yielded by their intersection.

The Federal government's role is also changing. Under the important and admirable Bayh-Dole statute, federally funded researchers are encouraged to look for potential commercial use of their research. Universities have become partners in developing and reaping the fruits of research. This process has yielded amazing results in many cases by converting raw, basic science into useful products in many industries. But as a consequence, the quest to commercialize has moved upstream in some cases, to the fundamental levels of research and data, and that has created complex legal requirements. While the details can get complex when the intellectual property at hand is a novel "method" for assaying biological activity, there are even more questions about patents covering the genes, proteins and their inferred functions.

The sheer cost in terms of time and money of such complex, multi-party legal work can take intellectual property "out of play" - it is simply more expensive to do the lawyer work than the product might reap on the open markets after the legal work is done. This hinders scientific innovation, as the value of scientific information increases exponentially in connection with other scientific information, and is of the least possible value when segregated by law.

The Search for a Solution
These facts have not gone unnoticed. Numerous scientists have pointed out the irony that, at the historical moment when we have the technologies to permit worldwide availability and distributed processing of scientific data, legal restrictions on transfer make it harder to connect the dots. Learned societies including the National Academies of Sciences, federal granting agencies such as the National Science Foundation, and other groups have all expressed concern about the trends that are developing. Any solution will be need to be as complex as the problem it seeks to solve, which is to say it will be interdisciplinary, multinational, and involve both public and private initiatives.

Enter Science Commons
Science Commons is an exploratory project to apply the philosophies and activities of Creative Commons in the realm of science.

1) Science Publishing /Open Access Journals & Archives
Here Science Commons continues the traditional Creative Commons role as public interest lawyer. Existing Creative Commons licenses have immediate relevance in the field of scientific publishing. We cite as an example the Public Library of Science (PLoS) which has agreed to adopt CC attribution license as its standard license - enabling anyone to make and distribute translations, as long as they give credit to the original authors. But there are many more issues; the legal side has been slow to evolve, creating unnecessary pain, expense and barriers to innovation. We believe that, in addition to the CC licenses already created, scientific publication creates other areas for licenses, such as: 

  a.. Licenses in other journals 
  b.. Licenses on pre/postprints 
  c.. Licenses for author self-archiving 
  d.. Mechanisms for author self-archiving 
  e.. Legal implications of Open Access business models 
  f.. Application of machine-readable licenses to documents 
2) Licensing and Technology Transfer
Some barriers to the flow of scientific data or scientific discoveries are necessary; used the right way, patents, for example, can give the incentives necessary to fund future research. The question is whether there are unnecessary barriers to the flow of scientific data and discovery that Science Commons can help solve.

This effort is exploratory. It contemplates the traditional role of public interest legal group, but extends beyond copyright into the realms of patents, technology transfer and intellectual property licensing. We are interested in exploring questions such as:

  a.. How to use collective action to keep upsream data flowing? 
  b.. Would standard, open licenses reduce transaction costs in intellectual property licensing? 
  c.. What value would standard, open licensing bring for orphan diseases and diseases of the global poor? 
  d.. What would a realistic "technology trust" require in terms of standard licenses? 
  e.. How can funding organizations and universities utilize standard, open licenses? 
  f.. How to preserve the traditional public domain nature of databases? 
3) Inefficient Data Economy
Another trend in the sciences is towards the parallelization of data generation - more simply, machines are taking over the role of creating the data points, while humans remain the primary interpreters of data. Under Bayh-Dole, it is precisely these interpretations that are typically of the highest value: the mechanisms of action by which cancer operates, or the inferred function of a gene. Only a small percentage of the raw data is actually used to support such interpretations. The innovators also utilize only a small portion of the raw data, with the first step in analysis being a statistical reduction of data. After all, what scientist can store and interrogate a mental model of over 25,000 genes? This represents a massively wasteful data economy, in which valuable information about the state changes and contextual behavior of biology, chemistry, physics and other sciences simply spills onto the floor.

Signigicant efforts to archive such sets online exist, but there are many legal and technical issues to consider. Science Commons is exploring both the legal mechanisms that govern raw datasets online and technological approaches to publishing those datasets that make them more useful. The World Wide Web Consortium's Semantic Web for Life Sciences effort is a key part of this exploration, as is the MIT DSpace project in digital archiving. We intend to ask such questions as:

  a.. How many combinations have been tested just because they were implicit on the design of the experiment as a massively parallel array? 
  b.. How many of those hypotheses were actually contemplated by the creators of the experiment? 
  c.. How have these 50 genes been observed to behave in a given tissue, across all public experiments? 
  d.. What are the contractual terms that could govern such datasets? 
Links
Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture

BIOS

Alliance for Taxpayer Access

Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain

Public Library of Science

BioMedCentral

NIH Open Access Resource

Peter Suber's NIH Open Access FAQ

Open Archives Initiative

Budapest Open Access Initiative

SPARC

Institute for One World Health
-------------- next part --------------
Friends:
 
Are you all aware of the "Science Commons"? I got to know about it through a message I received from Dave Pentecost in today's mail and I thought I must alert you all immediately.
 
Arun
 
 
http://science.creativecommons.org/ http://science.creativecommons.org/
Welcome to Science Commons
Science Commons is a new project of http://www.creativecommons.org/
Creative Commons
and will launch early 2005.
The mission of Science Commons is to encourage scientific innovation by making it easier for scientists, universities, and industries to use literature, data, and other scientific intellectual property and to share their knowledge with others. Science Commons works within current copyright and patent law to promote legal and technical mechanisms that remove barriers to sharing.
Background
The sciences depend on access to and use of factual data. Powered by developments in electronic storage and computational capability, scientific inquiry is becoming more data-intensive in almost every discipline. Whether the field is meteorology, genomics, medicine, or high-energy physics, research depends on the availability of multiple databases, from multiple public and private sources, and their openness to easy recombination, search and processing.
The American Traditions
In the United States, this process has traditionally been supported by a series of policies, laws, and practices that were largely invisible even to those who worked in the sciences themselves.
First, American intellectual property law (and, until recently, the law of most developed countries) did not allow for intellectual property protection of "raw facts." One could patent the mousetrap, not the data on the behavior of mice, or the tensile strength of steel. A scientific article could be copyrighted. The data on which it rested could not be. Commercial proprietary ownership was to be limited to a stage close to the point where a finished product entered the marketplace. The data upstream remained for all the world to use.
Second, US law mandated that even those federal government works that could be copyrighted, fell immediately into the public domain - a provision of great importance given massive governmental involvement in scientific research. More broadly, the practice in federally funded scientific research was to encourage the widespread dissemination of data at or below cost in the belief that, like the interstate system, this provision of a public good would yield incalculable economic benefits.
Third, in the sciences themselves, and particularly in the universities, a strong sociological tradition - sometimes called the Mertonian tradition of open science - discouraged the proprietary exploitation of data (as opposed to inventions derived from data) and required as a condition of publication the availability of the datasets on which the work was based.
Innovation in Technology and Legal Friction
Each of these three central tenets evolved from concepts that existed even before the Industrial Revolution--at the innately slow rate of change of the legal system. Similarly, scientific publication has a long-standing tradition. Modern technologies, especially the evolving use of the World Wide Web as a library, have forever changed the mechanisms for delivery and replication of documents. In many fields, results are published nearly as quickly as they are found. But copyright law has evolved at a different rate. Progress in modern technology combined with a legal system designed for a different technology-based environment is now leading to some unintended consequences. One of these is a kind of legal "friction" that hinders reuse of scientific discoveries and could lead to discouraging innovation.
To counterbalance, a large and vibrant community has joined together in support of the concept of Open Access for scientific literature - " http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm
digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions
". The U.S. National Institutes of Health have http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-04-064.html
proposed mandated Open Access to all NIH-funded research
starting six months after the print date, and there is support for the initiative in the U.S. Congress. Most major journals have granted authors the right to self-publish versions of their peer-reviewed papers. But the legal questions - how can an author make her work available to the public, while taking comfort that she retains some rights to it - have yet to be answered.
The different rates of change between modern technology and the law create friction in other places as well. For example, in the genetic realm, patent law has moved perilously close to being an intellectual property right over raw facts - the C's, G's A's and T's of a particular gene sequence. In other areas, complex contracts of adhesion create de facto intellectual property rights over databases, complete with "reach through agreements" and multiple limitations on use. Legislatively, the US is considering and the EU has adopted a "database right" which actually does accord intellectual property protection to facts - changing one of the most fundamental premises of intellectual property: that one could never own facts, or ideas, only the inventions or expressions yielded by their intersection.
The Federal government's role is also changing. Under the important and admirable http://www.cogr.edu/docs/Bayh_Dole.pdf
Bayh-Dole statute
, federally funded researchers are encouraged to look for potential commercial use of their research. Universities have become partners in developing and reaping the fruits of research. This process has yielded amazing results in many cases by converting raw, basic science into useful products in many industries. But as a consequence, the quest to commercialize has moved upstream in some cases, to the fundamental levels of research and data, and that has created complex legal requirements. While the details can get complex when the intellectual property at hand is http://www.signalsmag.com/signalsmag.nsf/0/8F89A41E7971F90888256EA9006A99DE
a novel "method"
for assaying biological activity, there are even more questions about http://www.forbes.com/2004/02/17/cx_mh_0217pfe_print.html
patents covering the genes, proteins and their inferred functions
.
The sheer cost in terms of time and money of such complex, multi-party legal work can take intellectual property "out of play" - it is simply more expensive to do the lawyer work than the product might reap on the open markets after the legal work is done. This hinders scientific innovation, as the value of scientific information increases exponentially in connection with other scientific information, and is of the least possible value when segregated by law.
The Search for a Solution
These facts have not gone unnoticed. Numerous scientists have pointed out the irony that, at the historical moment when we have the technologies to permit worldwide availability and distributed processing of scientific data, legal restrictions on transfer make it harder to connect the dots. Learned societies including the National Academies of Sciences, federal granting agencies such as the National Science Foundation, and other groups have all expressed concern about the trends that are developing. Any solution will be need to be as complex as the problem it seeks to solve, which is to say it will be interdisciplinary, multinational, and involve both public and private initiatives.
Enter Science Commons
Science Commons is an exploratory project to apply the philosophies and activities of http://www.creativecommons.org/
Creative Commons
in the realm of science.
1) Science Publishing /Open Access Journals & Archives
Here Science Commons continues the traditional Creative Commons role as public interest lawyer. Existing Creative Commons licenses have immediate relevance in the field of scientific publishing. We cite as an example the http://www.publiclibraryofscience.org/
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
which has agreed to adopt CC attribution license as its standard license - enabling anyone to make and distribute translations, as long as they give credit to the original authors. But there are many more issues; the legal side has been slow to evolve, creating unnecessary pain, expense and barriers to innovation. We believe that, in addition to the CC licenses already created, scientific publication creates other areas for licenses, such as:
Licenses in other journals
Licenses on pre/postprints
Licenses for author self-archiving
Mechanisms for author self-archiving
Legal implications of Open Access business models
Application of machine-readable licenses to documents
2) Licensing and Technology Transfer
Some barriers to the flow of scientific data or scientific discoveries are necessary; used the right way, patents, for example, can give the incentives necessary to fund future research. The question is whether there are unnecessary barriers to the flow of scientific data and discovery that Science Commons can help solve.
This effort is exploratory. It contemplates the traditional role of public interest legal group, but extends beyond copyright into the realms of patents, technology transfer and intellectual property licensing. We are interested in exploring questions such as:
How to use collective action to keep upsream data flowing?
Would standard, open licenses reduce transaction costs in intellectual property licensing?
What value would standard, open licensing bring for orphan diseases and diseases of the global poor?
What would a realistic "technology trust" require in terms of standard licenses?
How can funding organizations and universities utilize standard, open licenses?
How to preserve the traditional public domain nature of databases?
3) Inefficient Data Economy
Another trend in the sciences is towards the parallelization of data generation - more simply, machines are taking over the role of creating the data points, while humans remain the primary interpreters of data. Under Bayh-Dole, it is precisely these interpretations that are typically of the highest value: the mechanisms of action by which cancer operates, or the inferred function of a gene. Only a small percentage of the raw data is actually used to support such interpretations. The innovators also utilize only a small portion of the raw data, with the first step in analysis being a statistical reduction of data. After all, what scientist can store and interrogate a mental model of over 25,000 genes? This represents a massively wasteful data economy, in which valuable information about the state changes and contextual behavior of biology, chemistry, physics and other sciences simply spills onto the floor.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/
Signigicant efforts to archive such sets online exist
, but there are many legal and technical issues to consider. Science Commons is exploring both the legal mechanisms that govern raw datasets online and technological approaches to publishing those datasets that make them more useful. The http://www.w3.org/
World Wide Web Consortium's
Semantic Web for Life Sciences effort is a key part of this exploration, as is the MIT http://www.dspace.org/
DSpace project
in digital archiving. We intend to ask such questions as:
How many combinations have been tested just because they were implicit on the design of the experiment as a massively parallel array?
How many of those hypotheses were actually contemplated by the creators of the experiment?
How have these 50 genes been observed to behave in a given tissue, across all public experiments?
What are the contractual terms that could govern such datasets?
Links
http://www.pipra.org/
Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture
http://www.bios.net/
BIOS
http://www.arl.org/ata/
Alliance for Taxpayer Access
http://www.law.duke.edu/cspd/
Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain
http://www.law.duke.edu/cspd/
http://www.publiclibraryofscience.org/
Public Library of Science
http://www.biomedcentral.com/
BioMedCentral
http://www.nih.gov/about/publicaccess/index.htm
NIH Open Access Resource
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm
Peter Suber's NIH Open Access FAQ
http://www.openarchives.org/
Open Archives Initiative
http://www.soros.org/openaccess/
Budapest Open Access Initiative
http://www.arl.org/sparc/
SPARC
http://www.oneworldhealth.org/
Institute for One World Health
 


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