open source

A Setback for Open Science?

"Open Science" took a real walloping this week. First, Gina Kolata from the New York Times published an article exposing the increasingly predatory nature of open access journals. Then, Evegeny Mosorov, author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, published an essay over at The Baffler that quite deconstructs the "open source" movement along with the guy who created it, conference producer Tim O Reilly. And Tuesday, we heard that Mendeley, a portal that opens up access to scientific research is to be bought out by the publishing giant, Reed Elsevier for about $70 million, a move that one commenter compared to "Haliburton buying Greenpeace."

I was introduced to the open science movement by Joseph Jackson, organizer of the Open Science Summit. My first question was how would business models even function in an environment of giving things away for free. I’ve always been leary of such offers. Everything comes at a price. “It’s free as in freedom, not free beer,” Joseph was quick to tell me at a the conference pre-reception held at his DIY bio lab in Sunnyvale where he handed out . . . . free beer.

Who can argue with “open?” It’s such a great term, as Mosorov argues in his essay. It's a big tent that can house a large crowd. Going to Jackson’s conferences, I’ve got to know that crowd a bit. The open access movement seems to be at the core of open science, and is certainly not without its appeal. What scientist doesn’t want free access to all the research that exists in a field? In our first video interview, we had Jonathan Eisen to the program just after he won the Benjamin Franklin award for open science. He’s the managing editor of one of the PLoS journals and brother to the co-foudner of the pioneering open access publication, Michael Eisen. When we interviewed Jonathan, he’d just uploaded all his dad’s research papers to Mendeley. Why? So anyone could read them. And for free. To the Eisen brothers, "paywall" is an evil term.

Clinical Trials Go Open Source with Marc Desgrousilliers, Clinovo

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Marc Desgrousilliers, CTO, Clinovo Bio and Contact Info

Chapters: (Advance the marker)

1:26 Why does open source make sense for clinical trial software?

7:47 What are the objections to adopting open source?

11:12 Will adoption speed up clinical trials?

14:15 Is this the future?

18:16 Do FDA regulations pose special challenges?

22:04 BONUS: Swimming with sharks, literally

We've been tracking the open science movement here at Mendelspod with shows on open access publishing, platforms for collaboration and sharing data, and genome sharing for research. But what about open source software? Does this trend so strong in the IT world translate over to the life sciences. Marc Desgrousilliers, CTO of Clinovo says yes. Marc comes from the world of IT, spending several years at Microsoft where he led the development of Windows' network management. Marc is passionate about open source and the benefits that come from using software that is developed by the larger community. First of all the software has no licensing fees. (Clinovo makes their money on services that go along with the software.) Users are not dependent upon one software vendor. In addition, Marc points out, when software is designed by a large community free of charge, the user/designer volunteers tend to me very passionate about upgrades and development of the software. Are there special issues related to FDA regulation for open source software? Marc tells of his experience with the Clinovo software and of the validation they provide.