Funder Dispatch – Third Quarter, 2008

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 has been achieved this quarter?

Over the past few months, we have been working diligently in a few core areas: project management and growth, strategic development, and messaging. Specifically, we have been exploring new collaborations to expand upon our existing work at Science Commons, now have an array of new videos up to further the public’s understanding about our projects, and continue to engage in discussions and presentations on Open Innovation and Open Science.

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

Stay tuned for a big announcement in our NeuroCommons project before the end of the year, involving new tools and added functionality to our work.

By the close of the year, we hope to have five significant players announce their participation in a pilot to implement out Materials Transfer system.

Our work in the Open Science space will expand, building upon the initial set of principles introduced at our Open Science satellite event this past July in Barcelona, Spain. This work will move the four tenets of Open Science forward from a static document into a different arena and conversation in the community. (For more information on the Open Science Principles proposed in July, visit .

Exploring a new medium — Science Commons Project Videos

Over the past few months, we have added a new layer of media to our project Web pages — short, explanatory videos. We now have three videos up, voiced by John Wilbanks, Vice President of Science for Creative Commons. We encourage you all to take a look, and welcome any feedback you may have. Currently, we have videos for the Health Commons project, the Scholar’s Copyright Project, and the NeuroCommons. Stay tuned for a Materials Transfer video — slated to be posted early this fall.

Scholar’s Copyright Project

The NeuroCommons

The Health Commons

Press Mentions and Publications

FasterCures expands on Ten to Watch in 2008

FasterCures President Greg Simon has published a follow-up to the organization’s announcement in January of the FasterCures Ten to Watch in 2008 list, on which Science Commons was included. The post provides insights on their initial projections for the year, including “Science 2.0”, highlighting innovators in the “use of online platforms for scientific collaboration.” Among them, CollabRx and Science Commons, partners in our Health Commons project, a project to make it easier for anyone to pull together the resources for accelerating drug discovery: research, data, materials and services.

To read the post in its entirety, visit the FasterCures blog <>.

Boston Globe features three Cambridge Open Science efforts

The Boston Globe last month spotlighted three local organizations that leverage the Web to accelerate scientific research and discovery: OpenWetWare (OWW), the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) and Science Commons. The article also touches briefly on the broader spectrum of endeavors in open science, including the work we do to help realize the vision of fully automated, permission-free access to the available research, data and materials.

The article can be found at <>.

Wall Street Journal feature on “Virtual Biotechs”

The Wall Street Journal published an article on July 29 featuring Marty Tenenbaum and CollabRx, and mentioning Science Commons. The piece, Putting Drug Development in Patients’ Hands, looks at the need for new approaches to drug development and collaboration, specifically highlighting the Health Commons project. It explores how patients are using the Internet to take the reins in developing drugs for disease — especially rare and neglected diseases for which drug discovery has yet to prove commercially viable. Among the strategies patients are pursuing: funding their own “virtual” pharmaceutical companies, tasked to specific diseases.

To read the article in its entirety, visit this site <>.

Conferences & Workshops

Upcoming: Universal Access Digital Library Summit

This Thursday (9/25), Science Commons Counsel Thinh Nguyen will be speaking at the 2008 Universal Access Digital Library Summit in Boston, Mass. The symposium, sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Boston Library Consortium, aims to serve as a “call to action” — addressing timely issues regarding the nation’s educational and cultural institution’s access to information in the public domain. Nguyen will be speaking about the University License Policy and our Web tool, the Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine. Also joining this day-long discussion is Michael Carroll of American University, who also sits on the Creative Commons Board and the Science Commons Advisory Board.

For a look at the agenda and speakers for this event, visit the event’s Web site at <>.

Shaping the science agenda- SEED/ World Economic Forum Brainstorming Session

Last Friday (9/19), Science Commons’ Kaitlin Thaney joined science elite, SEED Magazine editors and members of the World Economic Forum in Boston for an all-day brainstorming session on the intersection of science and society, and predictions for what to expect in the sciences for 2009. The object of the day was to guide and help provide information to the Forum to be incorporated in their planning decisions for their annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. SEED facilitated this discussion, bringing together a wide array of experts, from Marvin Minsky (MIT) and Benoit Mandlebrot (Yale), to Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard) and Rita Colwell (Johns Hopkins University).

Continuing the discussion of the Research Web in Norway

Earlier this month, Kaitlin Thaney was a featured speaker at the 2nd Annual European Conference on Scientific Publishing in Biomedical Sciences (ECSP2), held in Oslo, Norway. The focus of the two-day conference was on Open Access and bibliometrics. Thaney joined the program, presenting Science Commons work in the Open Content space — both in terms of the scholarly canon and scientific data.

For more information on the event, including presentations and abstracts, visit <>.

User Innovation at OSCON — Participate ’08

In coordination with this year’s O’Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON), Microsoft sponsored what was known as Participate ’08 — a parallel discussion about open source and collaborative communities. Our own John Wilbanks joined the day’s discussion as part of the panel of experts, along with Professor Karim Lakhani from Harvard Business School, Allsion Randall (O’Reilly Radar), Bryan Kirschner (Microsoft), Siobhan O’Mahony (UC Davis), and Zack Urlocker (Sun Microsystems). The group reflected on a case study facilitated by Prof. Lakhani, that looked at key themes facing the IT ecosystem, such as interoperability, IP, and business models.