Programs: Science and Policy
AAAS-SIPPI Annual Meeting Symposium: Scientific Research, Traditional Knowledge, and the Research Commons
19 Feb 2006 13:45
St. Louis, MO
The idea of a research "commons" is growing in many fields of science: archaeology, geography, biology, physics, and more. But previous work on traditional knowledge has demonstrated resistance to this idea, instead relying on access, benefit sharing, and prior informed consent guidelines. As technologies such as synthetic and systems biology grow more advanced, more information contained in the land, flora, and fauna of developing countries is becoming traditional knowledge. This impacts the ability of researchers to gather and disseminate raw data: the fear of cultural and scientific appropriation restricts access to rainforests and anthropologists can be hamstrung in field work. Invaluable information and knowledge is lost for fear of theft, and modern technologies are not brought to bear to document crucial information on biodiversity. A "commons" approach, in which knowledge is published with "some rights reserved" such as commercial rights, represents a potential avenue to open up more knowledge than the traditional approaches of all rights reserved versus the public domain. Speakers will address, How can standard approaches to licensing physical and intellectual property impact resistance to open, standards-based sharing? What are the scientific impacts of synthetic and systems biology on anthropology, archaeology, marine biology, and ethnobotany? What has been the impact of existing standard approaches in licensing scientific knowledge?