http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/04/28/pm_copyright/ The National Institutes of Health launched a web based open access program to make government funded medical research available to the public free of charge. Now medical publishers are challenging this policy. This radio news items expands on these thorny copyright and public goods issues.
“Publicly funded research doesn’t seem so public when the public has to pay to read the results in a journal. A proposed law would help publishing companies preserve their business models, but it would limit public access to the research.”
Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP
Following on from yesterday’s blog post regarding development 2.0 there is plenty of evidence that some players in the non-profit world are already embracing these technologies and riding the Web 2.0 wave. Another link from the PSD blog post was to an article outlining some examples of “development 2.0″ projects. http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/use/2496. It came from a site that provides information and resources for data sharing (amongst other things). Also http://www.web2fordev.net/ has a host of information on this topic.
There are of course intellectual property implications! Many of these web based opportunities rely on data sets and of course collaborations between data sets are required for effective data sharing. The fumsi.com article says:
“getting datasets out of their respective databases is certainly a challenge due to intellectual property issues and data interoperability”
So the message to IP practitioners is, by all means share — but beware!
I recently had some contact with the “open & shut” blogger Richard Ponyder who asked if we could write a summary piece about some of the IP challenges in the developing world.
It was a useful exercise to put into writing some of the thoughts about where we see IP interacting with the work of the CGIAR centres.
Read the article on the Open & Shut blog.
Victoria Henson-Apollonio and I had a discussion about this extract today in the office. The link is from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS. Unfortunately we don’t have a subscription to PNAS to read the whole article but the extract starts talking about the new policy at PNAS, starting with articles submitted in January 2009, for authors to retain copyright on their work and exclusively licence to PNAS. They say this change is the:
“the next logical step in providing reasonable, flexible rights that balance the interests of authors, readers, and the publisher”
What does it actually mean? Well, looking at the old rules , and comparing to the new rulesit would appear that little has changed. Rights and permissions retained by the author are the same as the rights granted to authors under the previous system when PNAS owned the copyright.
The terms in the “Licence to Publish” document available from the website it is stated that:
“The author(s) reserves the right to deposit his or her … manuscript in the author(s)’s funding body’s archive or designated repository on acceptance for publication by PNAS, provided that a link to the WORK in PNAS Online is included; and, the right to request public access 6 months after print publication or immediately upon publication by PNAS if the author(s) has paid the PNAS open access fee….”
Again, this option was also available under the old system when the publisher retained the copyrights – PNAS authors can (and could) self archive immediately and have immediate public access if paying open access fee. It is worth noting that it was only in 1993 that PNAS started to require authors to transfer copyright in the first place so we can’t be certain that this is any kind of step towards open access goals. But then again, why should it be? It’s hardly in the publishers interests after all…? Admittedly this post could have been more comprehensive if I had had full access to the entire article. Therefore, I would like to ask if anyone else knows; “authors retaining copyright under this system – does it make any difference in practical terms?”
After posting this blog item I emailed Peter Suber to ask what his thoughts were on this issue. For those who don’t know Peter Suber, he describes himself as “an independent policy strategist for open access to scientific and scholarly research literature”. His blog “Open Access News” is well known in the OA world.
I asked him a) what he thought of the news item (particularly as it involved the Wellcome Trust who are strong OA supporters) and b) if he thought the privacy issue might have a knock-on impact to other data collections (that have nothing to do with patient information). He responded as follows:
“I blogged the news on August 30, and just updated my post to include
the Nature News article you pointed out, http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2008/08/nih-takes-two-oa-dna-databases-offline.html The NIH is as strong a supporter of OA as the Wellcome Trust. But on medical data, both agree that privacy takes priority, or that only anonymized medical data can be made OA. What’s interesting to me is that the method for identifying individuals from these data was discovered after the data were thought sufficiently private and put online. Since scientific ingenuity is always at work that suggests there may be a steadily creeping expansion of privacy exception to OA.
I’m not very alarmed, in part because the same scientific ingenuity can find new ways to anonymize data, and in part because I share the view that patient privacy takes priority.
Because I don’t work in the field, I have no opinion on whether the NIH/Wellcome action was really necessary to protect privacy. But I don’t think the action will have any effect on OA datasets where privacy is not an issue”
I would like to thank Peter for taking the time to respond to my email and for allowing me to blog his responses to share them here.
This article, spotted by CAS-IP manager Victoria Henson-Apollonio, outlines new restrictions on access to raw data from human genome-studies. Victoria wrote:
“What does this have to do with agriculture and access to data? Possibly nothing at all, –or, because of the power of the human genomics research community on other biologically-based scientific disciplines, it could mean that this decision will affect the availability of data more widely. We need to keep a watch on this latest struggle. The Wellcome Trust has been THE leader is opening up access to research results and scientific reports/articles on research funded by Wellcome.”
This isn’t a new article – I actually stumbled across it as I was searching for an old email in my inbox. However, after having made a couple of posts last week about open access it had some renewed relevance to me. Written by Kevin Kelly, who has the great job title of “Senior Maverick” at ‘Wired’ magazine, the article looks at categories of intangible value we buy when we pay for something that we could get for free. The “generative” values he lists could help reduce fear in an arena where copies, clones, fakes and counterfeits are commonplace!