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An Open History of Science – ScienceOnline2010 (#scio10)

January 21, 2010


This is the brief presentation I gave on Saturday, Jan. 16 as part of this year’s ScienceOnline conference. I was thrilled to have PZ Myers, Greg Laden and Janet Stemwedel present (the latter of whom posted her thoughts on the session).
John McKay and I led a discussion on the intersection between open access and scientific innovation. See the program description here and these posts for more information. In John’s section he emphasized how the early history of scientific publishing was one where individual researchers simply pooled their letters into journals and shared them with one another as they built on each other’s ideas. Frequently the ideas they discussed would be subject to censorship by political or religious authorities and the tension between open science and closed societies has long been a factor in how successful scientific innovation has been in a given time.
As I discuss above, this history can help us inform the present considerations of open access publishing and offer a guide as we consider future policy decisions.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 21, 2010 11:05 am

    A possible counterexample to your thesis is how the Bayh-Dole Act, which allowed universities or researchers to have intellectual property rights in products of federally funded research rather than those going into the public domain, apparently resulted in a proliferation of genomics research. That field has now begun to become far more closed, as the gold rush to stake claims on genetic information has proceeded. Is HR 801 supported by genomics companies as well as publishers?
    BTW, Merton’s norms of science are countered by Ian Mitroff’s counter-norms of science, which include a privacy/independence/isolation counter-norm.

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