Bermuda Principles meet structural biology : Article : Nature Structural & Molecular Biology

“The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC; is a public-private partnership that places the three-dimensional structures of proteins of relevance to human health into the public domain without restriction on use. Over the past 3 years, the SGC has deposited the structures of more than 550 proteins from its Target List ( into the Protein DataBank (PDB); this accounts for about one-quarter of the new structures of human proteins in the PDB over this period (‘new’ is defined as <95% sequence identity to proteins whose structures were already available in the PDB) and the majority of the new structures from the human parasites that cause malaria, cryptosporidiosis and toxoplasmosis. Over the next 4 years, the SGC is committing to determining the structures of another 600 proteins from its Target List, including eight human integral membrane proteins.

The SGC has been releasing the coordinates for all the SGC structures into the PDB immediately after they meet the SGC quality criteria (, even if the ultimate intention is to describe the work in the peer-reviewed literature. This data release policy, which has often meant that coordinates were available for several months before the manuscript was even written, has not limited the ability of our scientists to publish….”

SGC | Structural Genomics Consortium

“The SGC is engaged in pre-competitive research to facilitate the discovery of new medicines. As part of its mission the SGC is generating reagents and knowledge related to human proteins and proteins from human parasites. The SGC believes that its output will have maximal benefit if released into the public domain without restriction on use, and thus has adopted the following Open Access policy.

The SGC and its scientists are committed to making their research outputs (materials and knowledge) available without restriction on use. This means that the SGC will promptly place its results in the public domain and will not agree to file for patent protection on any of its research outputs. It will seek the same commitment from any research collaborator….”

OSM – Open Source Malaria

The Open Source Malaria project is trying a different approach to curing malaria. Guided by open source principles, everything is open and anyone can contribute. 


This Landing Page aggregates the most recent activity in Open Source Malaria. Action items are on the To Do List and experiments from all contributors are recorded in the Lab Notebooks. Most current research is on a very promising set of molecules known as Series 4. If you’d like to get involved, go right ahead, or get in touch with a member of the consortium (click on “Join the Team” below). In open source research all data and ideas are freely shared, anyone may participate as an equal partner and there will be no patents – think “Linux for Malaria Research” (FAQ).…”

Open Material Transfer Agreement (OpenMTA)

“The Open Material Transfer Agreement (OpenMTA) is a simple, standardized legal tool that enables individuals and organizations to share their materials on an open basis….Developed as a collaborative effort led by the BioBricks Foundation and the OpenPlant Initiative, with input from researchers, technology transfer professionals, social scientists, lawyers, and other stakeholders from across the globe, the OpenMTA reflects the values of open communities and the practical realities of technology transfer….”

Danes step away from patenting in favour of ‘open science’

Denmark’s top-ranked higher education institution is to shift away from patenting research conducted in partnership with the private sector to pursue an open science model.

Aarhus University’s new initiative, called Open Science, does not allow either the university or the companies involved to patent any discoveries made during the research process and, at the end, the results are disclosed to everyone – even other firms – in what it calls a “patent-free playground”.

Frontier Knowledge and Scientific Production: Evidence from the Collapse of International Science

“We show that WWI and the subsequent boycott against Central scientists severely interrupted international scientific cooperation. After 1914, citations to recent research from abroad decreased and paper titles became less similar (evaluated by Latent Semantic Analysis), suggesting a reduction in international knowledge flows. Reduced international scientific cooperation led to a decline in the production of basic science and its application in new technology. Specifically, we compare productivity changes for scientists who relied on frontier research from abroad, to changes for scientists who relied on frontier research from home. After 1914, scientists who relied on frontier research from abroad published fewer papers in top scientific journals, produced less Nobel Prize-nominated research, introduced fewer novel scientific words, and introduced fewer novel words that appeared in the text of subsequent patent grants. The productivity of scientists who relied on top 1% research declined twice as much as the productivity of scientists who relied on top 3% research. Furthermore, highly prolific scientists experienced the starkest absolute productivity declines. This suggests that access to the very best research is key for scientific and technological progress…..

Our findings contribute to the literature on the effect of basic science on technological development, a link that is diffcult to establish empirically. Our results indicate that access to frontier knowledge impacts the production of basic science that is applied in the development of new technology. Other research has shown that increased funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) for basic biomedical research increases patenting by private sector companies (Azoulay et al., 2016) and that NIH open access mandates increase citations to biomedical research by inventors (Bryan and Ozcan, 2016).2 Our findings emphasize that access to existing frontier research is particularly important for the creation of ideas and that high-quality scientists make greater use of it….”

Open science: historical perspectives – Clear Language, Clear Mind

“After the recent London conference on Intelligence, we visited the Science Museum in South Kensington. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to explore everything, but we did spend some time in the flight section. A number of the texts on display highlight the importance of open science, and are worth posting here….”

Several of the postings show how secrecy and patents have held back the progress of science.

March-in Rights: A Lost Opportunity To Lower US Drug Prices – Intellectual Property Watch

“It appears not just unfair, but absurdly so. The US government paid for research that produced a patented drug, the patents were licensed exclusively to a Japanese firm, and that firm is now committing price discrimination against the US. Astellas Pharma is selling its anti-prostate cancer drug, Xtandi, for over $129,000 per year per patient in the United States – triple the price of the drug in Japan. Alas, this situation is not unusual. Many drugs that were financed by US taxpayers are sold in the US at exorbitant prices, but are much cheaper in other high-income industrialized nations. This differential price problem could be solved easily. However, the US government has consistently refused to exercise its march-in rights in order to lower drug prices….”

The real reasons Jonas Salk didn’t patent the polio vaccine.

“There was near unanimity within the organization [National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis] that the public had already paid for the polio vaccine through their donations, and patenting it for profit would have represented double charging. That’s what Jonas Salk should have said to Murrow—not that all vaccines belong to the people, but rather that this vaccine belonged to the people….


There is an important footnote regarding Salk’s statement that “there is no patent.” Prior to Murrow’s interview with Salk, lawyers for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis did look into the possibility of patenting the vaccine, according to documents that Jane Smith uncovered during her dive into the organization’s archives. The attorneys concluded that the vaccine didn’t meet the novelty requirements for a patent, and the application would fail. This legal analysis is sometimes used to suggest that Salk was being somewhat dishonest—there was no patent only because he and the foundation couldn’t get one. That’s unfair. Before deciding to forgo a patent application, the organization had already committed to give the formulation and production processes for the vaccine to several pharmaceutical companies for free….”

The IPKat: Traditional Knowledge: beware of patent protection

“Protection of Traditional Knowledge (TK) is a complex legal issue, owing to its dynamic nature, lack of definition and the difficulty in establishing ownership and the geographical origin of TK, as well as the absence of an appropriate scheme for its protection. Indigenous communities and traditional knowledge practitioners all over the world are greatly concerned about the increased biopiracy and usurpation by commercial entities. It is in this context that the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in India formulated the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), which is an endeavor to preempt the grant of patents on India’s TK. TKDL contains approximately 2,08,000 formulations based on the traditional healing systems, such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Yoga.

TK Digital Libraries are the best defensive mechanism to prevent the patenting of TK already written down in ancient texts and manuscripts, although it still leaves scope for private appropriation of TK by making cosmetic improvements on it. …”