Scientific Commons

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= concept and also specific project



= The Scientific Commons are networks for sharing scientific information and discoveries; several such are described on this page.


Sean Serroque; Wolfgang Hoeschele:

"The concept behind the Scientific Commons is the provision of a network where scientific information and discoveries are shared between parties within this network. In this scenario, researchers would contribute scholarly information and discoveries among each other and with others across the global scale. A large need exists for this type of network. With the heavy digitization of our scientific resources and increased use of electronic publications that has occurred within the past decade, the need for a well-regulated scientific commons has presented itself. The scientific commons are difficult to describe as there are a number of different styles of scientific data and ways of publication and permitting access to this information. This is coupled with the problem that international copyrights on this information continues to hinder the use of new technologies and information without the prospect of having to pay a fee for the privilege. The main obstacle for the continuation of a scientific commons then becomes finding a way to share and use information in an ethical manner in which all credit is given to the appropriate parties and information can be shared freely among different parties. This can be used to assist in the development of new technologies in developing and and otherwise impoverished countries among many other practical purposes.

The Context Within NORA: The scientific commons spans into other fields easily as science is the practice of observing quantifiable information. This Network fits under the sharing of information. Without scientific innovation made available to a wide network of people, innovation, technologies and up-to-date information will be scarce to those without the capabilities to purchase patent rights, journal memberships, etc. and the information confined within an academic elite.

Current Abundance Patterns

Current abundance of information in the sciences is currently limited to those who happen to subscribe to the particular journals or databases in which a desired set of information rests. This creates difficulty for those without the regular resources to sustain these memberships from attaining this information. Another difficulty of the sharing of scientific information is that many scientific innovations and discoveries are protected under patent by the researchers, the institutions hosting those researchers, and even the sponsors and financial contributors of the research. the issue arises, where funding is a factor, where the copyrights held by a third party may not be released by that third party, even given support from the original author. Another shortfall of the commons for scientific information rests with the lack of current enforcement of international copyright laws by developing countries. This further creates a divide in those receiving scientific information by further reducing the amount of material available by the act of not sharing it due to the unwillingness of other countries to ensure the proper regulations on international copyrights.

There are currently commons for scientific information. Most notably are The Science Commons, Open Science, the Free Technology Guild, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information. These all provide information and technologies in an open source format in a way that does not infringe on copyrights. In this way, the academic and ethical integrity of the scientific commons may be preserved.

There has also been a recent push for government transparency, which has paved the way for a new unprecedented use of scientific information by government agencies. On February 22, 2013, in response to public petition, the Presidential Office of Science and Technology Policy sent a memorandum stating that all scientific research data collected by a federal agency, as well as setting up a new open access data portal in order to share the information."

The Project

See: ScientificCommons