Mr. Public Domain
The wars over the setup of science, the networks of proprty rights, modes of research. Theme: technology has multiplied the available sources upon which science is based. Data has gone digital, but navigation, retrieval remain analog. How can we speed up the flow of useable information in science? Put the same passion towards scientific inquiry that we do toward letting adolescents flirt on MySpace. Who is responsible? combo of public and private action.
Copyright has a default of all rights reserved. Copying is a part of life, but it is expressly forbidden by current law. Creative Commons is to create a community to upfront grant certain rights of use that humans and machines can understand.
Issues: open access journals, patenting. Vague laws have expanded the kinds of things that have become subject to IP protection. Private agreeements to deal with failings of property law. Barriers to scientific inventions include other things.
Scientists in general at well-funded institutions have too much info, don’t need more access, need way to find things related, but in other disciplines. Researchers are known for disregarding patents because of a misguided belief that there is a research exemption. Getting access to physical stuff is also a major impediment, i.e., material transfer agreements. The level of withholding is increasing. Unlike data, there are real costs to replicating stuff.
Two domains: university-to-university, researcher-to-researcher. Industry-to-university university-to-industry. Standardized agreements in the first case, but add-ons are common, in the second none exist. Fold into the social fabric. Mechanize the process, point and click dream. Prior agreements expressed in easily understood ways, improve workflow.
Finding info in the first place. Character matching has limits, particularly in non-standard or incompatible systems/ databases. Semantic processing of metadata terms to indicate meaning. Software could do this, but legal restrictions on what we can do with proprietary data and services. Perhaps could process open materials, that which is in the public domain/Creative Commons, also abstracts.
If we did this on the open material, it would be a great broadening of the value of openness. Not just a matter of being able to view materials, but able to process it to make it more findable.
Reducing the legal transaction costs and the physical transaction costs. Experiment to do semantic web for science to see if can make useful information.
Why is there not more of an attempt to apply everything we know about social engineering, the genius of making the web social rankings, to dealing with unnecessary barriers in science? Spend energy on fixing unnecessary barriers.