Science Commons

Building on the Creative Commons model to Further Scientific Success
Science Commons was launched with the goal of bringing the openness and sharing that have made Creative Commons licenses a success in the arts and cultural fields to the world of science.

Science Commons designs strategies and tools for faster, more efficient Web-enabled scientific research

– Primary Focus:

o Making scientific research “re-useful” — We develop and promote policy and tools to help people and organizations open and mark their research and data sets for reuse. As part of this work, we released an “open data” protocol to enable the global scientific community to pool and use data created under different legal regimes.
o Enabling “one-click” access to research tools — We offer a suite of standardized contracts to bring the efficiencies and economies of scale from e-commerce to the world of scientific tools, so researchers can easily replicate, verify, and extend research.
o Integrating fragmented information sources — We help researchers find, analyze, and use data from disparate sources by marking and integrating the information with a common, computer-readable language.

– Programs:

o Scholars Copyright Program, through which Science Commons offers a spectrum of tools and resources catering to both methods of achieving Open Access.
o Biological Materials Transfer Project, through which Science Commons develops and deploys standard, modular contracts to lower the costs of transferring physical biological materials such as DNA, cell lines, model animals, antibodies, and plasmids.
o Neurocommons, through which Science Commons is creating an open source knowledge management platform for neurological research.
o HealthCommons, which is a coalition of parties interested in changing the way basic science is translated into the understanding and improvement of human health.

– Corporate Structure:

o Science Commons is one of four semi-autonomous programs operated by or through Creative Commons, a Massachusetts-chartered 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization.

– Science Commons is overseen by members of the Creative Commons board, including MIT computer science professor Hal Abelson; intellectual property experts James Boyle, Michael Carroll and Lawrence Lessig; and lawyer and documentary filmmaker Eric Saltzman.
– Bioinformatics entrepeneur and metadata expert John Wilbanks directs the Science Commons project as Vice President for Science at Creative Commons.
– We are guided in our work by a remarkable Scientific Advisory Board, including 2002 Nobel Laureate Sir John Sulston; renowned genomics and bioinformatics scientist Michael Eisen; prominent economist Paul David; and the distinguished patent law and biotech scholar, Arti Rai. The late Joshua Lederberg (1958 Nobel Laureate) served as an Advisory Board member from 2006 until early 2008.

o The other programs include:

Creative Commons, which is devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to legally build upon and share.
Creative Commons International (CCi), which works to “port” the core Creative Commons Licenses to different copyright legislations around the world. To date, the licenses have been ported into 45 jurisdictions.
ccLearn, which has as its mission to minimize barriers to sharing and reuse of educational materials.

– Science Commons began operations in 2005

o Science Commons was housed at and received generous support from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where we shared space, staff and inspiration with the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
o Science Commons has an annual budget of approximately $750,000

– Operational support is raised from a variety of sources including private foundations, corporations and contracts
– Current funders include the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Omidyar Network and the HighQ Foundation.
– Science Commons pays approximately $40,000 in operational support fees to Creative Commons each quarter