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Biology Goes Open Source 100

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the models-that-work-from-time-to-time dept.
cford writes "According to Forbes some of the drug company giants are finally realizing that their genetic research is worth more if they give it away. 'Novartis, the Basel, Switzerland, drug giant, has helped uncover which of the 20,000 genes identified by the Human Genome Project are likely to be associated with diabetes. But rather than hoard this information, as drug firms have traditionally done, it is making it available for free on the World Wide Web. "It will take the entire world to interpret these data," says Novartis research head Mark Fishman. "We figure we will benefit more by having a lot of companies look at these data than by holding it secret."'"
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Biology Goes Open Source

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  • What do you know (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jack Malmostoso (899729) on Monday February 12, 2007 @03:09PM (#17987302)
    Maybe evil corporations are not that evil after all. Nah, can't be.
    • Yeah, I'm kinda at a loss of words for once. Gonna have to do one of those distributed-computing web projects, like SETI@home or that protein folding thingy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Thusi02 (998416)
      Wow this is quite the interesting decision that this private sector company has decided to do. This could truly help us in the battle of deciphering the human genome. So far what it has been is that the public sectors as soon as they get a new finding need to publish them asap. Where as the private sectors can make use of these public sector's findings to make it more profitable to them by combining it with their own research. Now that everyone is in the same boat and we have combined forces, we can surely
    • Well, it's obvious that they intentionally submitted fake data simply to sidetrack the world as they plan their final acts of world domination. We will all be occupied with this new data and they will blindside us, I swear it! Yet I will stand strong.
      Personally, I do not want to be placed into a pool full of a mutant sea bass with freakin' laser beams on their head (Yes, I've seen their secret plans). Do you?
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday February 12, 2007 @03:59PM (#17987986) Journal
      While I applaud the company, the notion that the human genome or any part of it is anyone's to keep, license or give away is appalling.
      • While I applaud the company, the notion that the human genome or any part of it is anyone's to keep, license or give away is appalling.

        They're not talking about licensing a portion; they're talking about giving away knowledge regarding which portion likely relates to diabetes.
      • I understand what you mean. It breaks the heart that someone may uncover some biological info about human beings as a race and then just hide it from humans itself. Okay, so you were fortunate (or even hard-working) enough to be able to find this information. Does that give you the right to keep it from the rest of the race? After all, isn't it the genetic info that corresponds to all us humans??? It's like saying, I've found the cure for aids but I will not give it out to anyone else even though it would t
        • So people are not to profit from their hard work?
          If I found the cure to AIDS I would do two things :
          1 Make sure that a vaccine was developed.
          2 Try to make some money off if it (notice how I said some...).


          You know the more I think about your statement the more ridiculous it sounds. If I (after my hard work or even lucky research) found a way to generate hyper-efficient solar panels you bet your ass I would try to profit off it.
          • So you would try to make some money off it. Firstly, that is not what corporations think. When you are patenting something, you are not making *some* money off it, but your plan is to milk it till it has any juice. Secondly, you found something yeah?? Where ther fuck did you find it from? If you go back to the basics you will realize that ideas do not belong to people. They are simply there. In so far that the idea may not even have come to you from your mind but from someone elses! (You find this bizarre?
      • by c6gunner (950153)
        I'm pretty sure I can use the "prior art" clause.
    • by Alky_A (1015285)
      You're so cynical, no reason to wonder for long. I'm sure the horrible, humanity-destroying thing they did to cause this move will surface soon enough.
      • by DAtkins (768457)
        Of course, now the terrorists know what genes to add to that retro virus they're working on to give us all diabetes.

        And you thought it was all those donuts...
    • It's about freaking time!
    • by slocan (769303)
      Or they are publishing it because "it will take the entire world to interpret [that] data".

      I.e, since they cannot hope to interpret it by themselves, therefore not being able to leverage it commercially, they publish as a last resort, so that they can benefit in some (unforeseen by them? to a greater or lesser degree) form after the whole world has worked to interpret the data.

      It doesn't look like generosity, fraternal love or willful cooperation.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Maybe there really are people who chose biology as a career because they wanted to help fight diseases...
    • by Jerry (6400)
      Don't give up on those evil corporations.

      They'll always find a way to cook the goose that laid the Golden egg.

      Less ethical corporations will take this data, use it to extend what THEY know about it, and hord it for a profit.

      Unless, of course, the data was released under an Open License.
  • Great, let's all rush out and patent a vague application related to the gene(s) in question. We'll be rich.

    I'll call it our open source money maker.

    C'mon, we can do it!

  • by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Monday February 12, 2007 @03:10PM (#17987318)
    It just seems unlikely that the darkside won't
    come up with some 'problem' to squash this
    wonderful idea.
    • Haha, that supposes it hasn't already happened. I suspect they are picking some random genes, saying 'these are the ones you guys should focus on,' while in secret they have already analyzed them and deteremined they are useless. That way, the competition spins it's wheels while they investigate other, more promising, genes.
  • by shawn443 (882648) on Monday February 12, 2007 @03:16PM (#17987378) Homepage

    But another requirement of making the leap from genes to drugs is making the research public--a step that will make it difficult for researchers elsewhere to patent any of this raw genetic information.
    The only thing I hate worse than software patents are genetic patents. If any industries could use a Stallman it would be biotech and genetic.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Lithdren (605362)
      I've always found the concept of Genetic Patens hilarious. Prior art? ITS MOVING.

      I mean, c'mon!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721)
        I have no problem with companies patenting novel genes (in other words genes that they have invented or have altered to perform a novel or improved function). But patenting genes that their sole effort (however small or big that might be) was to simply observe in catalog is no different than a zoologist patenting any new species he finds or an astronomer patenting the galaxies he sees in a telescope.

        It's very obvious that patents have spun completely out of control, and that the public has bought hook,
    • by Alef (605149)

      The only thing I hate worse than software patents are genetic patents.

      The logic behind patents on genes (or so they argue) is that it requires research to understand and find applications to a specific gene, even though the actual gene it technically not unknown form the start. You know, sort of like the process of searching a software patent database, and figuring out what the patents mean and how to use them. Actually, has anyone tried to patent the application of a specific software patent yet...?

    • by MathGod (201794)
      Sure, but an intelligent one this time, ok?
  • by cashman73 (855518) on Monday February 12, 2007 @03:21PM (#17987444) Journal
    It's not like Novartis has made their entire drug database public with all of their notes regarding which drugs they're interested in pursuing or not,... They've done some significant analysis into the diabetes gene, and rather than withholding it, they're making it public. There's no real compelling reason to protect this aspect of the research, so why not? The benefits of releasing it outweigh the negatives:

    • They still get to do their own research and develop their own drugs to target specific genes in this area.
    • They get huge kudos in the PR arena for their attempts at finding a cure for cancer diabetes. They can use this in advertising campaigns.
    • As researchers in other pharmaceutical companies and/or academia use this information, they'll eventually write grants and use it in their research. Novartis will still get the advantage from them citing the source,... Again, see the above advertising part,...
    • nah, it's the best early april fool's joke evar

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Yep, this is what drives the free market: people acting in their own self-interest. Novartis probably doesn't expect or intend to benefit others with this move (it's PR like you said), but undoubtedly their self-interest will end up benefiting others.
    • So, after benefitting from this huge global effort called the Human Genome Project, they decide to give away a fraction of their spoils. Are we supposed to give them a standing ovation? Jump for joy?

      That's like all of us contributing articles and money to Wikipedia, and then Wikipedia says, "Hey, here are some articles that you can read for free --we won't charge you any money."

      <sarcasm>Thanks a lot, Novartis, for your huge contribution! I will express my gratitude by blinking my eyes. Once. (Jus
  • Yeah, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guruevi (827432) <eviNO@SPAMsmokingcube.be> on Monday February 12, 2007 @03:27PM (#17987530) Homepage
    closed source is so much more secure... what we need is developers, developers, developers, yeah, whoo

    Seriously, I think all findings on the human genome project should be open. It took a huge effort and even persons at home let spare cycles run on this project. Our bodies, and what's inside should be open since it's not something 'they' invented, manufactured or engineered. Whatever drugs they're developing could be closed, but generics should definitely be allowed too.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SportyGeek (694769)
      Mod parent up. I also believe that many of these pharmaceutical companies should make their sequencing data of other organisms (read: pathogens) available to the public. This will make the drug discovery process much faster when more minds are thrown into the mix. Keeping data like this behind closed doors may be a good business model, but it certainly does not help the state of affairs in infectious diseases.
      • by DAtkins (768457)
        This information is usualy developed at the university level at this time - therefore, the amino acid signature for viruses are currently published in bioinformatic journals. A friend of mine is working on his CS doctorate, writing a sequencer that will sequence a virus (Hep C if you care) in under a week. Plus a bunch of other crap that blows my mind.

        In this case, not only is the sequence published, so is the program. So if you happen to have a million dollar sequencer, you could do this yourself :)
        • Your friend's work sounds exciting. Your friend may be writing a program, but it does not do the sequencing. The sequencer (Sanger, 454, Solexa, etc) and base-calling software does all of that. Is your friend working on a comparative genome assembler like the AMOS Assembler [sourceforge.net]? I'd be very interested to find out :)
      • Hey, I've chosen a career path that gives me work I enjoy and a paycheck I really enjoy. It's a good business model, but I'm certainly not helping the state of affairs in infectious diseases.

        I bet it's the same way with you, right?

        So why should pharmaceutical companies be any different?

        (Heck, since Novartis is actually working with infectious diseases, and is actually releasing some of their work product, they're already doing more to help the state of affairs in infectious diseases than the two of us put
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by harvardian (140312)
      As a clarification, this research isn't part of the Human Genome Project. It's research that uses the results from the human genome project to identify genes associated with diabetes.

      Or, in Slashdot-ese:

      Step 1: Identify all of the human genes (the HGP)
      Step 2: Find which of these genes are associated with diabetes
      Step 3: ???
      Step 4: Profit!
    • Very true. Closed source as you put it, led to the problems of Vioxx (Rofecoxib) and Celebrex (Celecoxib) cover ups with regards to heart attack risk, in the sense that the drug companies were not forthcoming on research which showed negative outcomes and only sold the good news to the FDA (although this is now a prohibited practice). This is not going to happen very often any more, since the payouts from lost lawsuits far outweigh the profits.

      Placing the genetic information into the open arena may resul

  • Remember this: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ubi_NL (313657) <joris&ideeel,nl> on Monday February 12, 2007 @03:36PM (#17987640) Journal
    As a research scientist this move doesn't sound too strange.
    However keep in mind that they are not providing the world with their raw data.
    Rest assured that the milked it for anything that could give a profit, stripped that off and released the rest.
    This is how it happens with large scale datasets all the time.

  • This is exactly how it should be for all the other nasty diseases we humans suffer from. Cancer, HIV, etc... maybe even the common cold could be brought down some levels with enough folks with access to all the data.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SportyGeek (694769)
      There is actually a lot of data associated with human disease that has been made available to the public. There are three main DNA databases throughout the world: NCBI from the US [nih.gov], EMBL from Europe [ebi.ac.uk], and DDBJ from Japan [nig.ac.jp]. These public sequence databases have a plethora of links associated with them that you can explore and find out more about the biology of human disease from sequences to academic papers. An example of is the The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man. The down side, of course, is that many
    • The data on the common cold has been available for a long time. Have you accessed it recently?
  • by nickv111 (1026562) on Monday February 12, 2007 @03:42PM (#17987730)
    Patents on the medical and biological industry, while potentially good for the companies, are truly terrible for the rest of the world. The last thing we need is more expensive medicine, and having biological trade secrets released will help humanity as a whole.

    I've done a little research on AIDS, for example, and to give you an example of what patents do for the cost of medicine, take a look at this quote from the New York Times article, "Look at Brazil." [nytimes.com]

    "Until a year ago, the triple therapy that has made AIDS a manageable disease in wealthy nations was considered realistic only for those who could afford to pay $10,000 to $15,000 a year or lived in societies that could."

    In developing countries, the cost of patented medication is the reason why many families cannot afford it and so many suffer from it. Now look at another quote from the same article:

    "Brazil now produces some triple therapy for $3,000 a year and expects to do much better, and the price could potentially drop to $700 a year or even less."

    Many countries cannot do this for fear of economic sanctions, which means the next logical step would be for companies to open up their medical and biological information, for the good of humanity. Not only will this help potential consumers of this medication, but also provide a base for other companies to build on to excel each other's knowledge.
    • obsession with cost (Score:2, Interesting)

      by roman_mir (125474)
      I don't understand this obsession with the cost of the drugs. It is not like it is obvious how to treat AIDS for example, it definitely takes decades of research and development and it requires funds. If a company or even a person finds something that helps in this fields, I do not see any problems with them being able to charge and arm and a leg for the treatment, after all, if you do not pay the arm and the leg, you will lose both arms, both legs, the torso and the head to the disease. At the end it is
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jc42 (318812)
        I do not see any problems with them being able to charge and arm and a leg for the treatment, after all, if you do not pay the arm and the leg, you will lose both arms, both legs, the torso and the head to the disease.

        Well, people do have a history of being upset with someone who says "Your money or your life." ;-)

        We might chalk it up to basic human irrationality. After all, there are several popular economic theories that explain to us why the companies' behavior is rational. And we all know that we're go
    • An excellent article, but the catch is this. The reason that AIDS drugs exist is because of research. Drug companies have to pay for research, and research costs an extraordinary amount of money.

      Especially with a disease like HIV, more and more research is needed to combat the ever-changing virus. AIDS today is not AIDS of a few years ago, and even with excellent compliance to medical regimen, our current array of antivirals will soon be inadequate therapy for HIV and AIDS patients.

      Now, I agree that 10-1
    • You are quite right when you say that patent may be good for the pharmaceutical companies, but are terrible for the rest of the world.

      In India, Novartis is using all its legal muscle to challenge a provision in the Indian patent law that has made it possible for India to develop a strong generic drugs industry. This has made affordable medicines available not only in India, but to other developing countries as well. If Novartis wins the case, this could mean that access to affordable drugs in the third w

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DoctorPhil (875161)
      By your reasoning, nickv111, everybody would get everything cheaper if patent terms were shorter, or eliminated. And copyrights - they're a lot like patents. We should eliminate them, too. Then everybody could get everything for free!

      Just like Soviet Russia. You can have everything in an empty shop for free.

      The real cause of high prices in medications is the FDA approval process. It costs, on AVERAGE, about a BILLION dollars to get a drug approved in the US. A patent lasts 20 years, and it takes a

      • Oops - part of that math is wrong.

        $3 billion, after 10 years at 20% interest, is $18 billion. To make money at a rate such that, after 10 years, they will have made as much money as if they had invested it at 20%, the company has to make a profit of about $600,000,000 per year.

        The figure of 20% may be too high for large, stable companies. I don't know what the right figure would be. 10% is obviously too low.

      • by Dunbal (464142) on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:01PM (#17989640)
        So, in fact, the pharama company has to make $900,000,000 in PROFIT, each year for 10 years, just to make up for the cost of getting FDA approval.

              You know, drug companies don't suddenly stop making profit once the patent expires and competition begins. Look at how many companies sell plain old acetyl-salicilate (aka aspirin). They're obviously making money. So that's the first hole in your argument right there.

              Secondly, drug companies seem to forget that not everyone has a US income level. The price of medication is the same or more expensive outside the US than inside. This is to prevent people from "smuggling" meds into the US that were bought cheaper elsewhere. God forbid! So instead of getting into a 20 times bigger WORLD market, they decide to produce less, at a higher price. North americans can afford it - barely. And only the upper class everywhere else. And the rest, well, they just die younger. Who cares, right?

              Oh and as a doctor I've been invited to many, MANY dinners - at 5 star hotels, by pharmaceutical companies. I've had friends who have been flown to exotic locations for conferences on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. They want to give me lots of promotional things, from notepads to calculators and clocks, trying to recruit me as a salesman - they think my prescription pad is for hire. This costs money too.

              If only they understood that although I might read about the new wonderdrug in medical journals, what I usually prescribe is the cheapest medication around. It's what my patients want. I always give them a choice - the latest thing is X, the cheapest is Y. Invariably they choose Y.

              Big pharma should get that in their heads. The old products that they are still selling, even without patents, is what should fund the research. Someone who has taken lipitor for the past 10 years and is happy with it is probably not going to change in the NEXT 10 years.

              They should not gouge people on a new med because a) they can, due to a monopoly situation and b) try to justify this gouging because of "the cost of research".

              But then again, pharmacology has always been about commerce and making money. Healing the patient is incidental.
        • by Nyph2 (916653)
          You know, drug companies don't suddenly stop making profit once the patent expires and competition begins. Look at how many companies sell plain old acetyl-salicilate (aka aspirin). They're obviously making money. So that's the first hole in your argument right there.

          The issue with this is it's any company getting this money, not a government enforced monopoly. To the company who paid for R&D, this is looks like a bad deal. What needs to happen is something like the government buying these patents
        • You completely ignored my point, which was that you could lower the cost of the drugs by lowering the cost of FDA approval. European approval is not so outrageously expensive.
      • By your reasoning, nickv111, everybody would get everything cheaper if patent terms were shorter, or eliminated. And copyrights - they're a lot like patents. We should eliminate them, too. Then everybody could get everything for free! Just like Soviet Russia.

        You bring up an interesting point. Soviet Russia used invasive government coercion to benefit the public good. Now patent law uses invasive government coercion to benefit the public good.

        In the end, the countries that let their people produce with
  • I call BS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cinnamon colbert (732724) on Monday February 12, 2007 @03:54PM (#17987914) Journal
    What this means is they can't figure out how to use the info before the patents expire. The idea that novartis or any other drug company would let loose proprietary info on a gene they thought would lead them to a drug for diabetes is ludicrous.
  • But will anyone who uses this information for their own research follow suit? I strongly doubt this single act of gracious openness will inspire any other big pharmco to do the same with whatever findings they come across using this free information.
  • I suspect that they have 20,000 patents already lined up, one on each of the interesting genes. With this they could enlist others to do the leg work to figure out how to use the gene information, secure in the knowledge that they can use their patents to get a piece of whatever anyone comes up with.

    Pharma patents are the worst of an evil bunch.
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      I suspect that they have 20,000 patents already lined up, one on each of the interesting genes.

            That's ok. I've patented all the STOP codons. No one can make a protein without handing me cash. Be warned! :P
  • Hurray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blueZhift (652272) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:25PM (#17988338) Homepage Journal
    This sounds like pretty good news. While I see nothing wrong with corporations wanting to make a profit, there are, I think, serious ethical problems with withholding information that could save many lives. And in particular, I think that the information in the human genome is something that belongs to all of humankind. Working together, not only will lives be saved and enhanced, but some serious money will be made as well, sooner rather than later.
  • This is not really about 'open source', it's about 'Big Pharma' trying to address its problems by leveraging its (diminishing) assets, and trying to access multiple sources of innovation. See the informative article in 'The Economist' - Jan 25th - 'Billion dollar pills' (Economist.com). Since it's a subscription site, here are a few extracts, (fair use): "The industry's share prices have performed pitifully and a new report from Accenture, a consultancy, calculates that a whopping $1 trillion of "enterpri
    • by Dunbal (464142) on Monday February 12, 2007 @05:37PM (#17989342)
      large corporations seem to have to have problems 'institutionalising innovation', and thus end up like Cisco, Microsoft & others - spending fortunes on R&D, but then spending even more on buying ideas in from start-ups or Academe.

            As a physician I am often shocked to think about how much pharmaceutical companies charge for medications. Especially considering that my practice is in the "third world", price is the absolute foremost concern for all my patients when it comes to prescribing a medication. They will often insist on an inferior generic product instead of paying three or four times as much for a newer, better drug. I understand that research is expensive.

            I also know that a lot of money is spent "visiting" doctors trying to convince us that their product is the "best", organizing "conferences" for us (which are nothing more than sales pitches) with free dinner included, etc. Not to mention all the free pens, calculators, calendars and other promotional materials. Some of my colleagues virtually thrive on this stuff. I for one would rather see cheaper medication. Less price, higher volume is what I think they should be looking at. And if they can't make profit on volume, then they should stop trying to push that product as if it was the new Holy Grail - only the very rich will buy it - period.

            A case in point - the vaccine for HPV (cervical cancer's principle cause). It costs over $300 PER DOSE and you need 3 doses. Whoa, that's $1000. With the average monthly salary at around $350 a month here, how many of those do they expect to sell? Even in the US a lot of people would stop and think about this. And how many do they expect me to keep on hand in my fridge at that price, taking into account expiration dates, breakages, etc? Great concept. Completely useless at that price.

            Anyway, my $.02 worth. They shouldn't complain about being unprofitable - they've priced themselves out of the market. People will always get sick. They just can't afford to pay for the medication anymore.
      • they've priced themselves out of the market. People will always get sick. They just can't afford to pay for the medication anymore.

        There is a big confusion in this thread between generic drugs and on-patent drugs. It is barely acknowleged that a new drug costs close to a billion dollars to develop (yes, these costs are seperate from the marketing) - there is no understanding what it takes to recoup these costs - and if they are not recouped, guess what - close to no new drugs.
        The major drug companies have indeed hit something of a wall - the low-hanging fruit has been picked, and new advances are much more hard-won at this point.

  • by Puff Daddy (678869) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:41PM (#17988592)
    The study of biology was already open source. There is a wealth of data at the NCBI [nih.gov] and other sources. We are seeing a renaissance in molecular biology right now and I, for one, attribute it to the hard work of thousands of researchers freely sharing their work. It's not just the data either, it's [bioinfo.de] journals [plosjournals.org] and software [nih.gov], too. We have more information than we know how to handle, and it's being created much faster than it will ever be understood. It's gotten to a point where new fields of study are being created just to interpret the collected data and try to make some sense of it. Bioinformatics and computational biology are truly amazing fields, the only trouble is attempting to explain just what it is you do to friends and relatives. Trust me, it's not always easy.
  • Why this hype? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aschoff_nodule (890870) on Monday February 12, 2007 @04:45PM (#17988650)
    This is not the first time this has happened.

    A lot of private firms have identified disease susceptibility genes. There is a company in Iceland called 'deCode' - http://www.decode.com/ [decode.com] which has been doing this stuff for many years now, exploiting the fact the iceland has a relatively stable and homogenous genetic population. They have genetic data available for more than 25% of the population of Iceland and they have innumerable papers and free online resources.

    Not to mention the federal govt. has been doing this forever now and 'Human Genome Project' and 'Hapmap project' are well known.
  • A little bit of sanity in this world.
  • Where do I commit my code?
  • by Ignis Flatus (689403) on Monday February 12, 2007 @06:38PM (#17990102)
    If I invent something, but keep the details of my invention a secret, then that is certainly not free and not Open Source. But if I patent my invention, the use of the idea is still not free, but the knowledge practically is. Are patents Open Source?

    The reason I'm asking this is I wasn't sure from the article if the company was actually giving anything away. It is not clear to me if I invent a new drug based off the information they provided, do I now owe them a royalty?

    Open Source by patent (or copyright) is a great idea if you think you can make more money off licenses to others than by your own efforts. Secrecy is better if you think that your information is based on special insight and others will not be able to duplicate it independently for several decades. What they gave away (assuming they gave anything away) may not have much intrinsic value if it is easily duplicated by others.

  • For a change!
  • ... I would immediately order the full and complete release of any and all "IP" pertaining to human genome into the public domain. On the threat of capital punishment for failure to comply.
  • I applaud this and other companies who are releasing more and more of their data. However, lets not get too carried away with glorifying the biotech community for what appears to have been done here. The data release by Novartis and Broad is unusual in that there are few if any restrictions on the use of the data. But most of the other data I have seen from companies is released with so many restrictions on its use that it becomes almost worse to have seen it than not.
  • And on the other spectrum, Celera is using publicly available data from HGP while not allowing HGP to use their data freely.
  • In my daily paper it says this research was done by an international team that was co-led by Dr. Constantin Polychronakos of Montreal's McGill university. Maybe it is "open biology" because it was done by university scientists whose mission is doing public research, and not because Novartis suddenly got all philanthropic?
  • Nothing in TFA or from the Novartis or broad.mit.edu sites indicates that there is any licencing of the content they are making available. AFAICS they are giving it away free of charge and without restriction. This is public domain not open source isn't it?

    Also they are giving away the results of the research (e.g. data) - open source is not normally a term used in such circumstances. The Creative Commons licences (among others) were created because typical open source/free (as in speech) licencing models d
  • "Open source" is kind of "open technology". It has to do with some new _invention_

    Giving up raw data is not "open technology". It is "open data". Does not involve new _invention_, just digging the facts.

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