Open Science Summit Starts “Organizational Revolution”

 

Open Source Science is on the rise and transparency and collaboration are the waves of the future. 

Now, following on the heels of the Humanity+ Citizen Scientist Conference, Joseph P. Jackson has organized an Open Science Summit 2010, coming up on July 29-31 in Berkeley, California.  Calling Open Science an "Organizational Revolution,"Jackson’s group promises to "Create an annual flagship event and news hub to build and maintain the identity of the international Open Science Movement.  Organize the various sub-communities into an effective, global, socio-technological force for rapid change in science/innovation policy." 

Conference speakers include Jose Cordiero of the UN Millennium Project, John Smart of Brain Preservation Foundation, biohacker Meredith Patterson, Christine Peterson of Foresight Institute and Open Source Sensing, Andrew Hessel of Pink Army and Gary Wolfe, founder of the Quantified Self Meetup.

Joseph Jackson sent questions to a few of his upcoming speakers on our behalf.  The results are presented below.

David Koepsell:

David R. Koepsell earned his PhD in Philosophy as well as his Law degree from the University of Buffalo where he studied with Barry Smith (ontologist). He has authored numerous articles as well as authored and edited several books, including Searle on the Institutions of Social Reality, co-edited with Laurence Moss, (Oxford UK: Blackwell 2003), Reboot World, (New York: Writer’s Club Press 2003) (fiction), and The Ontology of Cyberspace: Law, Philosophy, and the Future of Intellectual Property. Koepsell was appointed Asst. Prof. of Philosophy at TU Delft beginning in September 2008. He is an associate editor of Free Inquiry magazine. He is the co-founder, with Edward Summer, of Carefully Considered Productions, an educational media not-for-profit corporation. He blogs at Who Owns You.

How does your research/advocacy/work fit into the emerging open science paradigm?

David Koepsell: I’ve been researching and writing about confusion and paradox in intellectual property law for the past 15 years.  I focused first on internet and communication technologies in The Ontology of Cyberspace: Law, Philosophy, and the Future of Intellectual Property (Open Court 2000), then I looked at issues relating to gene patents: Who Owns You?  Now I am interested in how patenting threatens the early stages of nanotechnology and synthetic biology.  I have also recently started to argue that there is a fundamental ethical problem with intellectual monopolies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGUV79yuZ5A . I believe that the future of both science and innovation hinge upon rejecting IP as it has been traditionally construed (for both ethical and pragmatic reasons), and that open source, private law models will govern more efficient exchanges in the future.

What do you view as the most successful current example of Open Science?

DK: I think the work being done by Neil Gershenfeld in Fab Labs, and similar grass-roots efforts at creating fabricators, as well as the BioBricks consortium’s work in synthetic biology, are proving that open methods actuall propel innovation, rather than hinder it as the patent attorneys claim.

What is the biggest obstacle facing Open Science/Openness in your particular domain?

DK: The patent industry is the biggest threat.  Most of the money made on patenting is likely not made by inventors (although occasionally it might make someone rich), but rather by a self-perpetuating patent industry composed of patent lawyers, the PTO, and patent examiners.  This industry feels threatened by open source modes of research and innovation, and will stop at nothing to protect their domain.  We need to continue to work at the grass roots to demonstrate that open innovation is not only faster, more efficient, and cheaper, but also successful at bringing new technologies to market.  We need to counteract the myth that patents are the surest, safest way to encourage innovation with good, hard evidence that we are more innovative without them.  Organization like BIO spend millions of dollars supporting the myths of the patent industry, and all we have to fight against them is evidence of success.

Carole Goble

Carole Anne Goble is a professor of Computer Science at the University of Manchester in the UK. She is Principal Investigator (PI) of the myGrid  project and an editor-in-chief of the Journal of Web Semantics.

Her current research interests include Grid computing, the Semantic Grid, the Semantic Web, e-Science and Bioinformatics. She has successfully secured funding from the European Union, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the USA and most UK funding agencies including the EPSRC, BBSRC, Medical Research Council (UK), the Department of Health (United Kingdom) and the Department of Trade and Industry.

How does your research/advocacy/work fit into the emerging open science paradigm?

Carol Gobel: I build platforms that enable scientists to share and crowd-curate their science while being sensitive to their cultural rewards systems and protection needs — examples: myexperiment, biocatalogue, sysmo-seek and methodbox

What do you view as the most successful current example of Open Science?

CG: The most successful? The open access movement — biomedcentral.  My most successful? myExperiment.  

What is the biggest obstacle facing Open Science/Openness in your particular domain?

CG: No cultural reward for being open and sharing and no citation/credit mechanisms for data, methods or in fact anything other than old-fashioned publications in old fashioned journals.

Misha Angrist PHD 

Misha Angrist is Assistant Professor of the Practice at the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy. He holds a PhD degree in Genetics from Case Western Reserve University, an MFA in Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and was formerly a board-eligible genetic counselor. He has covered the biotechnology industry as market-research analyst and worked as an independent life sciences consultant, writer and editor. In April, 2007, he became the fourth subject in Harvard geneticist George Church’s Personal Genome Project and in 2009 had his full genome sequenced at Duke. His book, Here is a Human Being: At the Dawn of Personal Genomics, will be published in the fall by Harper Collins.

How does your research/advocacy/work fit into the emerging open science paradigm?

Misha Angrist:
The substance of my forthcoming book, Here is a Human Being: At the Dawn of Personal Genomics, is inextricably bound up with the norms of and participants in open science. Its main character is Harvard geneticist George Church, founder of the Personal Genome Project, an open-science initiative aimed at disseminating human genomic and medical information with as few barriers as possible. The PGP’s second in command is Jason Bobe, co-founder of DIYbio and the architect of the BioWeatherMap, which seeks to document public-health microorganisms in urban areas using data collected by armies of volunteers, not unlike the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count.

Finally, as a recovering geneticist, I see open science as a welcome antidote to a century of top-down management of human biology characterized by condescension, secrecy and unintended consequences. The resistance of the medical establishment to personal genomics — as manifested by calls for randomized clinical trials, stringent regulations, and steadfast if naive resistance to patient and consumer activism — leads me to believe that I’m right. We are in the midst of a revolution, yes, but it is not one whose outcome will be dictated by the medical-industrial complex any more than the future of journalism will be dictated by the purveyors of the daily newspaper.    

What do you view as the most successful current example of Open Science?

MA: One could make a case for any number of entities, but I would probably say PatientsLikeMe. Yes, it’s a dot-com, but it seems to me that its ethos is entirely consonant with open science: build communities of patients and leverage their enthusiasm, attention to detail and copious data (i.e., themselves) in order to accelerate clinical medicine and transform patient data into tangible and useful results.

What is the biggest obstacle facing Open Science/Openness in your particular domain?

MA:  There are several: financing, infrastructure (outfitting one’s garage), expertise (reading and understanding Methods in Molecular Biology), regulation (honoring safety concerns without bringing the hammer down on oneself), etc. In personal genomics, the obstacles are not unique to open scientists: amassing phenotypic data and interpreting genomes in a meaningful way. In some respects, however, open science may have an advantage: it is nimble and not necessarily bound by onerous human subjects regulations that accompany government funding.  

Christine Peterson

How does your research/advocacy/work fit into the emerging open science paradigm?

Christine Peterson: The coming era of ubiquitous sensing could be wonderful for science, but only if citizens trust the sensor data will not be abused.  Open source sensing can play a big role in solving this problem.

What do you view as the most successful current example of Open Science?

CP:  CureTogether, crowd-sourced medical research.

What is the biggest obstacle facing Open Science/Openness in your particular domain?

CP: Getting people to understand that we want the hardware, software, and data-handling procedures to be open source, but not necessarily the data collected, which may have privacy issues attached.

Open Science Summit 2010 , July 29-31  International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley CA.

 

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