Funder Dispatch – Second Quarter, 2010

A View of Life in the Commons

To help you stay updated on our projects and relevant developments in the world of open science, Science Commons periodically sends out brief email dispatches to its funders and other stakeholders. We hope these dispatches, which will contain news summaries and links, give you more context for the work we’re doing and help foster a deeper understanding of the issues we address.

As always, we invite your feedback and comments. If you’d like to share your thoughts or get more information about anything you read, please feel free to contact us at

What to keep an eye out for in the coming quarter …

In the next quarter expect developments in our patent license work, as we close the public comment period and begin the next phase of tool development. The Science Commons team will also complete its move west, into the Creative Commons headquarters in San Francisco. For more on that transition, see John Wilbanks’ blog post here on Science Blogs.

What has been achieved this quarter?

In the past quarter we co-launched the first ever Sage Commons Congress with Sage Bionetworks, an event that brought together over 200 leading network thinkers, scientists, foundation representatives and advocates to discuss issues pertinent to data sharing for network models. We also launched our public comment period for our new patent tools, and invited experts from around the world to help us continue our vetting and revision process for those legal tools. We continue to plan for the upcoming move, as well, and look to the future integration and its benefits.

Project Updates

Exploring the Idea of a “Data Paper”

This past March, we released a working paper addressing the publication of datasets, penned by Principal Scientist Jonathan Rees. The paper, “Recommendations for independent scholarly publication of data sets”, build on our Open Data and scholarly publishing work to date, exploring the genre of a “data paper” – a paper whose primary purpose is to expose and describe data. To download the working paper, visit our Reading Room.

Public comment period begins for Patent Licenses

This past April we launched the public comment and discussion period for our new patent tools — the Research Non-Assertion Pledge and the Public Patent License. These tools were conceived as part of our collaboration with The GreenXchange (GX), a network of companies interested in making publicly available unpatented know-how and patented inventions that have the potential to promote innovation, sustainability, resource management, and other socially responsible uses of ideas and inventions.

The Research Non-Assertion Pledge and Public Patent License are just pieces of the underlying infrastructure for how to share and transform that kind of knowledge—just like CC licenses have become part of the infrastructure for exchanging and transforming creative works. While these tools were initially conceived in collaboration with GX, we envision them as generic tools maintained by CC for anyone to use, and we hope they will prove to be useful in other projects in the future as well.

Visit our public wiki to read more about the tools, catch up on topics of interest and join the discussion list to contribute your thoughts and suggestions.

News & Developments In the Community

Sage Congress Video Now Available

This past April, Creative Commons and Sage Bionetworks put on the first Sage Commons Congress in San Francisco. The event brought together a wide array of experts, from network biologists, representatives from key funding bodies, scientists, disease researchers and advocates. We encourage you all to check out the video and presentations, which are now available on the Congress Web site, especially Josh Sommer’s luncheon keynote on his fight with chordoma. Streaming and downloadable video as well as accompanying slidedecks for most of the presentations can be found on the Congress Presentation Page.

GlaxoSmithKline puts data into the public domain with the help of CC

GlaxoSmithKline recently dedicated more than 13,000 compounds known to be active against malaria to the public domain using CC0 – our public domain waiver. Read more about that incredible contribution here, or visit Wilbanks’ blog on Science Blogs for more history on our open data work here at Creative Commons. It’s a must read.

Science Commons, on the road and on the Web

Creative Commons Discusses Energy Policy at the White House

John Wilbanks joined CC friends from Nike and the Kauffman Foundation for a Presidential Forum on Energy Innovation at the White House in May. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke keynoted a day of conversations about technology transfer, and the CC patent licenses were a featured part of the afternoon sessions on open innovation. The Obama administration announced key innovation strategies during the event ranging from investments in energy for regional innovation “clusters” to matching grants connecting small businesses focused on energy systems.

Milken Global Conference Tackles Patient Data Issues

Creative Commons VP for Science John Wilbanks participated in a panel discussion called “Patients Helping Doctors: Unlocking the Information Researchers Need” at this year’s Milken Global Conference. More than 3,000 attendees gathered in Los Angeles for this year’s event, representing over 60 nations. The panel featured luminaries like Susan Love (Founder, Susan Love Research Foundation), Jamie Heywood (Chairman and Co-Founder, Patients Like Me), and Jack Cochran (Executive Director, Permanente Fountation). The panel examined questions about the information embedded in patients – from a unique medical history to tissue, blood and DNA – that is crucial to understanding and managing disease. But too often that information remains unavailable to researchers. It was a lively event, and video is online at Video for Milken.