Human genome data ‘should be open to all’

“A leading genomic scientist has called on people who have their DNA analysed to make the full results openly available “for the greater public good”. …While conceding that “open access to genome sequences is not for everyone”, he hoped that many people would donate their genomes openly to science once they understood the risks and benefits….”

Elsevier Embraces Data-Sharing Standards, in Step Toward Scientific Openness – The Chronicle of Higher Education

“The cause of scientific transparency and accuracy got a boost on Tuesday with the decision by the publishing giant Elsevier to endorse a broad set of standards for open articles and data. Elsevier agreed to add its 1,800 journals to the 3,200 that already accept the “Transparency and Openness Promotion” guidelines drafted in 2005 by a group of university researchers, funders and publishers. The standards expand article-citation practices so that authors get credit for making clear the data, methods, and materials needed for replicating their work….”

Survey of the Academic Library Role in the Use of Open Access Textbooks and Other Open Access Educational Materials

“This seminal study presents data from 50 colleges and universities about their academic library policies in providing open access textbooks and other open access educational materials and in cultivating their use.  The study gives detailed data and commentary on current and planned efforts in areas such as textbooks, journals, periodicals other than journals, MOOCs, course packs, interactive tutorials and other areas of intellectual property.  The study also gives highly precise information on the compilation and presentation of links to educational resources on YouTube and Google Scholar, among other sources, and overall college and university and specific academic library efforts to develop open access educational materials.  It looks at efforts to provide support services and stipends to faculty, and to publicize the availability of open access educational materials to faculty.

 The survey respondents also report on the exact number of courses currently using open access textbooks and their plans and expectations for the future. In addition, the participants name colleges and universities that they view as open access role models, and give advice to their peers on how to approach the provision of open access educational materials, from textbooks to journals and other forms of intellectual property.

In addition, the study presents data on the role of academic libraries in providing commercial textbooks and the impact of open access on these efforts.  Data in the report is broken out by size, type and tuition level of the college or university and by other useful criteria….”

Sharing Is Daring | Stanford Social Innovation Review

“The sequence of the human genome, completed in 2001, was supposed to quickly reveal the secrets of health and disease. Instead, it showed that human bodies are more complicated than anyone realized. Disease is usually caused not by one bad gene, but by subtle variations in dozens or hundreds of genes working with and against each other in vast networks.

This discovery delivered a reality check to genome scientist Eric Schadt. Pharmaceutical giant Merck had spent hundreds of millions of dollars…”

A Moral Reflection on the Information Flow From South to North: an African Perspective : Libri

“In most discussions of the digital divide, the emphasis is on assisting developing nations by facilitating the flow of information resources from the developed countries to the developing – a North-South flow. The South-North flow of information receives less attention. A number of moral questions arise from the current state of South-North information flow, six forms of which are analysed in this paper with particular reference to Africa. The discussion is approached from an ethical perspective based on a specific moral framework based on three moral claims: (1) there exist universal information-related human rights – the right of freedom of access to information, the right of freedom of expression, and the right of individuals and groups to control the information they have generated; (2) the notion of a common good, predicated on a moral community which shares certain values, imposes an obligation to share information; and (3) justice is the main normative tool that can be used to regulate the flow of information….”

International Survey of Research University Leadership: Views on Supporting Open Access Scholarly & Educational Materials

“This report looks closely at the attitudes on open access of a sample of 314 deans, chancellors, department chairmen, research institute directors, provosts, trustees, vice presidents and other upper level administrators from more than 50 research universities in the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland and Australia.  The report gives detailed information on what they think of the cost of academic journal subscriptions, and how they understand the meaning of the term “open access.”  The study also gives highly detailed data on what kind of policies the research university elite support or might support in the area of open access, including policies such as restricting purchases of very high-priced journals, paying publication fees for open access publications, mandating deposit of university scholarship into digital repositories, and developing open access educational materials from university resources. 

Just a few of the report’s many findings are that:

  • The lowest percentage considering the high cost of journals a big problem was in the United States, where only 11.56% of higher education leadership had this opinion; the highest share, in Canada, 27.45% had this view.
  • More than 40% of administrators from public universities in the sample supported the idea of using university funds to develop open access textbooks from materials developed or owned by the university or its scholars.
  • Support for mandatory deposit requirements for scholarly output into university digital repositories was highest among the universities ranked in the top 41 worldwide.

Data in the report is broken out by country, university ranking, work title, field of work responsibility, level of compensations, age, gender and other variables.”