EMBL puts data in the public domain via CC0

May 7th, 2009

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 Worldchanging.com

May 7th, 2009

Worldchanging.com 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 sciencecommons.org.

Health Commons, open source science featured in podcast

May 6th, 2009

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).

Talis offers free data hosting for open data

April 9th, 2009

The folks over at Talis recently announced a new free data-hosting service for open data, the “Talis Connected Commons”.

The service provides free data hosting up to 50 million RDF triples and 10Gb of content for “qualifying” data sets, as specified by their Web site.  To qualify for entry, the data and content must be made available to the public domain either under CC0 – a waiver we recently released that allows for one to waive all rights over their work, or the Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and License.

I further bore into the details regarding hosting public domain data, inquiring whether or not data naturally in the public domain and not marked by CC0 or the PDDL would be allowed in the system. Talis’ Leigh Dodds, after a few email exchanges, expressed their desire to have the data clearly marked via CC0 or PDDL, but assured me that data already in the commons — for example, the human genome — would not be excluded.

Confusion clarified.

We commend Talis for using CC0 as a means to clearly mark and identify public domain data, and look forward to see what fruit this tree will bring for the open data / linked data communities.

For more information, visit their Web site and FAQ.

WSJ profiles Jesse Dylan, work in science

April 6th, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has a wonderful piece on director and producer Jesse Dylan, detailing his journey from Elvis Costello videos and film to his connection with Creative Commons and Science Commons. The article looks at Jesse’s personal impetus for his latest work and his desire to better explain complex issues in the sciences in simplified terms.

Dylan was recently recognized for his Emmy award winning “Yes We Can” video from President Obama’s campaign, with musical artist will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, that quickly became an Internet hit. The Science Commons team first met Dylan in spring of last year, and after a few conversations with John Wilbanks, planning for the first Science Commons informational video began. The video was launched in December as part of the Creative Commons annual campaign and can be seen here, as well as on our home page.

Back in December when we asked Dylan about the video, he said, “I believe Science Commons represents the true aspiration of the web, and I wanted to tell their story. They’ve changed the way we think about exploration and discovery; the important and innovative ideas need to be shared.  I believe it’s vital to revolutionizing science in the future. I hope this is just the beginning of our collaboration.”

We hope so too. Thanks again to Jesse and his team for their work on these videos and ongoing support. For more information about the Science Commons video or “A Shared Culture”, click here and here, also accessible from the WSJ Web site.

MIT passes university-wide Open Access resolution

March 19th, 2009

Yesterday, by unanimous vote, MIT faculty adopted an Open Access resolution (text here) that will make scholarly articles available at no charge, freely to the public through DSpace – MIT’s repository service.

The way this policy works is that faculty authors grant the university non-exclusive permission to make their scholarly works available in a repository, with the right for MIT and its faculty to publicly disseminate for all uses except commercial. The resolution is believed to be the first faculty-driven, university-wide policy, and joins other similar initiatives recently adopted at Harvard, Stanford and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This follows on our Addendum Generator, created by Science Commons as part of the Scholar’s Copyright project, which hosts the MIT Addendum, among others. The MIT Addendum helps scholars to negotiate with publishers for rights to comply with this new policy, as well as the NIH mandate. Authors can use our Addendum Engine to easily generate a one page document to attach to their submissions to the publishers, stating which rights they’d like to retain.

We applaud the university for passing this resolution, which is a great step forward for Open Access, and also encourage members of the MIT faculty to consider using one of our addenda to ensure their work can be publicly accessed and shared post-publication.

Also, for more information on how to comply with these policies, read our white paper, “Open Doors and Open Minds:  What faculty authors can do to ensure open access to their work through their institution.”

NIH Open Access mandate made permanent

March 17th, 2009

The NIH Public Access Policy, which was due to expire this year, has now been made permanent by the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law last week.

Last year, Science Commons, SPARC, and ARL jointly released a White Paper authored by our board member Mike Carroll called “Complying With the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy,” explaining the new NIH-mandated PubMed deposit requirement and questions that grant recipients should consider in designing a program to comply with it. At that time, the new mandatory policy had just taken effect, and many recipients were still learning how to comply. Nevertheless, the results were dramatic. Prior to NIH’s mandatory deposit requirement, under a voluntary policy NIH began in 2005, the compliance rate in terms of deposits in PubMed had been very low (4%, as published in an NIH report to Congress in 2006). Shortly after the adoption of the new mandatory policy, submissions spiked to an all time high, prompting an NIH official to project compliance rates of 55-60%. Just take a look at this NIH chart, and note the sharp rise after the policy took effect in early 2008.

In a subsequent White Paper that Science Commons and SPARC jointly issued, our recommendations included looking beyond compliance with the new policy and taking this opportunity to develop comprehensive institutional deposit and public access policies, such as Harvard’s open access policy.

Making the NIH Public Access Policy permanent will provide scholars and institutions with much needed certainty and impetus to focus on implementing these requirements within their institutions. It also creates a opportunity for scholars, universities, and the research community to take a broader look at their institution’s scholarly publishing and open access policies, not only as it applies to deposit in PubMed, but also as it applies to their own institutional repositories and scholarly communities.

We will work with our collaborators to develop further policy and legal briefings for university and public research institutions who are studying these issues. Look for that this summer.

Announcing the launch of GreenXchange

February 10th, 2009

From the Creative Commons blog …

Today, Creative Commons, in collaboration with Nike and Best Buy, announces a new project – GreenXchange – exploring how the digital commons can help holders of patents collaborate for sustainability. GreenXchange will be hosted inside the Science Commons wing of CC.

GreenXchange draws on the experience of Creative Commons in creating “some rights reserved” regimes for artists, musicians, scientists, and educators, but also on the hard-won successes of patent “commons” projects like the Linux Patent Commons, the BIOS project, FreePatentsOnline and the Eco-Patent Commons. We will examine how best to reconstruct the academic research exemption eliminated in the United States in the Madey v. Duke case, how to extend that exemption to corporate research, how private contract systems can be used to construct a commons for use in sustainability. There is also a technical component – we are very interested in how tools like ccMixter and the semantic web will allow for new methods of tracking use and re-use of patents and integration of shared patents into climate and sustainability model.

GreenXchange is very much an exploratory project. Our goal is to stimulate innovation in the operational space by increasing research use and rights through the some rights reserved model, and to extend the model itself all the way into standard commercial patent licensing for sustainability purposes. Our model is open innovation, our methods are those of the digital commons, and we are very excited to be working with our new partners to help them overcome “failed sharing” to help us all work towards a sustainable world.

For more information on the project, we invite you to check out the informational video over at Science Commons.

Harvard University Press releases first OA journal

February 3rd, 2009

At noon today, Harvard University Press, in partnership with the John M. Olin Center at Harvard Law School released its first Open Access (OA) Journal. The Journal of Legal Analysis marks HUP’s first major foray into CC-licensed material, with all content freely available on the Web at the time of publication under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

From their press release:

“With the emergence of online journal publishing and Open Access, the cost of entry into journal publishing is lower than it’s ever been,” says [HUP’s Editor-in-Chief Michael] Fisher. “With an online OA journal a publisher does not have to spend start-up money recruiting subscribers, does not need a subscription-fulfillment operation, does not even have to print the journal. The fact that we can work with the Law School to jointly further the University’s scholarly mission while spending less in the current economic climate is very, very exciting for us.” […]

This is the first time in three decades that Harvard University Press has published an academic journal. Online publishing models offered a way back into this arena, with lowered costs and higher dissemination of high-quality content, reasons stated to be aligned with the University’s overall mission.

OA advocate Stuart Shieber, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and current Faculty Director of the Office for Scholarly Communication at Harvard, stated in the press release:

“Harvard University Press’s reentry into journal publishing through the/ Journal of Legal Analysis/ represents an exciting development in the burgeoning world of Open Access journal publishing.  HUP’s efforts are to be applauded for both their quality and their accessibility.”

Kudos to HUP and the Olin Center for choosing to make their content more open with a CC license. The Journal also joins a host of other journals under our Open Access Law Program. For more information about the Open Access Law Program, click here.

Reddit users show their support for SC

January 26th, 2009

A call for support and access to scholarly content rose to the top of Reddit this afternoon. We thank all the Reddit users for showing their support for Science Commons and for Open Access (OA).

Show your support for OA and keep the votes and comments coming. You can also show your support by putting this “Support CC” widget on your web site, blog, etc.  And for more information on our Open Access work, visit our Scholar’s Copyright page.