"In the face of the alarming price increases of information resources, the question naturally arises, How much influence should the market wield? Clearly the elimination of most competitors and the centralization of power by a small group of publishing giants encourages price-fixing and correlates with the stratospheric rise in library subscriptions in recent decades. This underscores the need for open access to serve as a countervailing force in scholarly communications against the commercial plundering of our library budgets…. The open access movement opens up a space where the scholarly community can organize together to assert their vision of a system in which researchers are free to share and reuse knowledge. In fact, this type of organizing and advocacy is essential if libraries are to not only reassert control over their collections but also support liberal education—especially at non-elite institutions or in developing countries…. Thus, despite the often grim fiscal constraints libraries now face, online collaborative technologies and open access offer librarians an unheralded opportunity to create a more inclusive scholarly community…."
"Drug companies are learning how to share. In a bid to save both time and money, some of the industry’s biggest names are experimenting with new ways to pool early-stage research, effectively taking a leaf out of the “open-source” manual that gave the world Linux software.
If it takes off, the approach could break the mould of current drug research and speed the development of tomorrow’s life-saving medicines for diseases from cancer to autism.
At the University of Oxford on Wednesday, two more companies – Pfizer and Eli Lilly – signed up for the first phase of the concept by joining existing backers GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis in an unusual public-private research partnership.
As supporters of the international Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), the rivals give cash and scientific resources for work into the three-dimensional structure of proteins – important for drug discovery – even though all the findings are made available to scientists worldwide without restriction.
In all, the SGC has secured $49 million in new funding.Next year, a far more ambitious scheme is slated to take cooperation to another level by promoting openaccess, patent-free research right up to mid-stage “proof of concept” clinical trials, known as Phase II…."
"The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcome documents and the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/252 resolved to conduct an overall review of the implementation of the Summit outcomes in 2015. The ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 172 (PP-10) on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the WSIS, including the possibility of holding a high-level event in 2014/2015 has requested ITU Secretary General to initiate the preparatory process at the UN Chief Executives Board (CEB). Consequently CEB tasked UNGIS to prepare, on the basis of an open consultation, an Action Plan to organize high-level meeting on the WSIS Review. The Action Plan would be presented to the CEB meeting in April 2012, and would take into consideration the strong support of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development served by UNCTAD…."
Abstract: The era of Big Data has begun. Computer scientists, physicists, economists, mathematicians, political scientists, bio-informaticists, sociologists, and many others are clamoring for access to the massive quantities of information produced by and about people, things, and their interactions. Diverse groups argue about the potential benefits and costs of analyzing information from Twitter, Google, Verizon, 23andMe, Facebook, Wikipedia, and every space where large groups of people leave digital traces and deposit data. Significant questions emerge. Will large-scale analysis of DNA help cure diseases? Or will it usher in a new wave of medical inequality? Will data analytics help make people’s access to information more efficient and effective? Or will it be used to track protesters in the streets of major cities? Will it transform how we study human communication and culture, or narrow the palette of research options and alter what ‘research’ means? Some or all of the above?
This essay offers six provocations that we hope can spark conversations about the issues of Big Data. Given the rise of Big Data as both a phenomenon and a methodological persuasion, we believe that it is time to start critically interrogating this phenomenon, its assumptions, and its biases.
"The results of the world's first rating of RTI [Right to Know] laws in 89 countries shows a significant spread: out of a possible total of 150 points, the range is from 37 points (Germany) to 135 points (Serbia). The vast majority of countries have a score over 60 out of 150 points (87% of countries have over 60 points). Europe overall accounts for 15 of the bottom 20….The analysis shows vast room for improvement: two thirds of countries (64%) scored in the middle range, between 60 and 100 points out of 150. Typical weaknesses were the limited scope, over-broad exceptions regimes, shortcomings in oversight and appeals mechanisms, and lack of legal requirements to promote awareness of the public's right of access to information. The top 20 countries with scores over 100 tend to be younger laws which reflect the progress made in international standard setting on this right in the past 20 years: with the exception of Finland (a score of 105 for a legal framework which includes a law adopted in 1951) the average age of the laws in the top 20 countries is just 5 years…."
"Yale has also taken steps to support open access policies. In May, Yale became the first Ivy to unveil a new policy that allows any internet user to access a catalog of millions of images from University museums, libraries and archives. The University does not restrict how these images are used…."
"The explosion of online, open access collections of ancient texts and artifacts, along with the secondary literature surrounding them, has transformed the speed and manner in which scholars of the ancient world perform their research. Among the various types of electronic resources for the study of the ancient world, open access collections of primary archaeological data—for example, the Archaeology Data Service …and the Archaeobotanical Database… —are a particular boon for researchers, especially those for whom annual fieldwork may not always be possible, in that these collections bring large quantities of raw data directly to the researchers’ fingertips….Multi-institutional and multinational projects such as Open Context…are providing access to this primary archaeological data explicitly so that scholars and students can “easily find and reuse content created by others, which are key to advancing research and education.” …"