NY Times on The Power of Open Data

The NY Times has an interesting article on the power of open data, noting progress on Alzheimer’s that is a function of scientists worldwide openly sharing data.


  1. You’d Think They Would Already Know This
    Okay, seriously, you have a bunch of medical researchers who are suggesting using some method of development that “had no precedent” — and what they suggest is that researchers should openly share all of the antecedents to their research results?

    Just… wow. So, we have a bunch of researchers who will publicly state that “It’s not [research] the way most of us have practiced it in our careers.” I don’t know how to break this to these people, but this radical change in your patterns that you’ve discovered? It’s called science. Publishing everything you’ve done to ensure replicability and so that “anyone can use it, publish papers, maybe even misinterpret it and publish information that [the original researchers believe] was wrong” — that’s the precise thing that moved us out of an age of alchemists and into the age of science. It’s precisely science that can “get people to work together and coordinate in a way that hadn’t been possible before,” that was the whole deal. You know, how as Bacon suggested it turns out things work better because “we [are] better off working together than individually.”

    Clearly, the whole notion of “intellectual property” has seriously befuddled our health (and other!) researchers to the point that they can’t even *discern* scientific from nonscientific research. This crazed ideology of ideas as property with “owners” has to be stopped. It’s destroying vital foundations of our society, and in health matters, we are well into the range where it can identifiably be said to be killing people. Madness.

  2. Also replicate a successful model
    I agree with A Smith. Sharing and collaboration benefits a society in general and increases knowledge exponentially. Think of the possibilities if this model were used in the fight against cancer, aids or other global plagues. The reality is that our drug patent system has rewarded hoarding of ideas, exploitation for profit, unscrupulous lobbying and political influence to the benefit of the very few whom “own” the imaginary “property”. It’s time to ditch this failed system altogether.