Blog archive for May, 2009

Wilbanks’ talk on ‘Knowledge Interoperability’ from CSE now online

May 12th, 2009 by Kaitlin Thaney

The latest talk from Science Commons John Wilbanks on “Knowledge Interoperability” is now online, made available on “Beyond the Book”, an educational program out of the Copyright Clearance Center. The presentation was given at the annual Council of Science Editors Annual Meeting, held in Pittsburgh from May 1-5.

In Wilbanks’ talk he details the need for an open approach when it comes to knowledge sharing in the digital world, necessary to really see network effects on available information and explosions of innovation. He argues that the ability to create and distribute is now ubiquitous, and that the digital commons presents a different opportunity for sharing, if allowed. Our work at Creative Commons aims to facilitate that sharing ecosystem,  better leverage the power of the network, and enable sharing that’s legally sound, easy and scalable.

EMBL puts data in the public domain via CC0

May 7th, 2009 by Kaitlin Thaney

EMBL – the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, has made part of their SIDER Side Effect Resource available to the public free of restriction via CC0, placing it in the public domain.

The database, SIDER, contains information on marketed medicines and their recorded adverse side effects and drug reactions. Included in this dataset is information on the frequency of these drug reactions, other drug and side effect classifications as well as links to other relevant resources. To date, 888 drugs are listed in the database, a tremendous resource for research and drug discovery.

The mapping of labels and euphoria-related side effects are now public domain, with some other side effect information available for download under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Have you made your information available using CC0? We’d love to hear about it. Drop us a note.

For more information about our data policy and reasoning, see our Database Protocol or “Freedom to Research” available for download over at our Reading Room.

GreenXchange featured on

May 7th, 2009 by Kaitlin Thaney has a new piece up on the GreenXchange, a project of Nike and Creative Commons, housed at Science Commons. The article, “Green Xchange:  Creating a Meta-Map of Sustainability” details the underlying concepts for the project, the obstacles and includes a look into the future. The project, announced at last January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, pairs together the Creative Commons licensing structure (metadata, human readable aspect, legalese) with the right technology to allow companies to share their patents related to sustainability. The goal – to bring the efficiencies of open collaboration and innovation to the problems of sustainability.

As Agnes Mazur put it,

“While competitors in the same market may not be keen to share research done on improving product performance, companies in vastly different fields may benefit from the very same research without posing a threat. If a company like Nike, for example, has performed extensive research on maximizing the efficiency of air pressure in sneaker design, a company that manufactures truck tires may apply the patent in a way that saves materials and money, creates a more eco-friendly product, and does not harm Nike’s sales. But in a case like this, Nike may choose to draft the terms of the patent’s use to exclude other apparel companies.

Competitive companies may find it useful to collaborate on parallel research aimed at a common goal, such as reducing their environmental impact. For example, several companies in the apparel industry may be conducting their own research on creating a more eco-friendly shoebox. By sharing this type of research, companies can cut unnecessary costs and achieve results more quickly.”

The collaboration, as Mazur says, is still in its infancy, and seeking founding partners, people to contribute and those that are interested in the concept. For more information about the project, visit the GreenXchange Web site at

Health Commons, open source science featured in podcast

May 6th, 2009 by Kaitlin Thaney

The radio program “A World of Possibilities” has a fantastic new piece up on “Open Source science” and Health Commons. The podcast explores the Health Commons approach of creating a more open system for the exchange of medical information that cuts across sectors, medical professionals, cultural boundaries, etc to leverage the power of the network and accelerate the pace of drug discovery. The segment also takes a look at the personal reasons behind this collaboration and the benefits of an “Open Source” approach to sharing biomedical knowledge. Featured in this segment are representatives from two of Health Commons partners: Marty Tenenbaum, the chairman and chief scientist for CollabRx; and Gavin Yamey and Peter Jerram from the Public Library of Science.

We encourage you to give it a listen and let us know your thoughts. For more information about the Health Commons project, visit its Web site (also hosted on the SC site here).