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{bio,medical} informatics

Monday, December 01, 2003

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find related articles. powered by google. ABC Science Online Push to free up biotech tools for all

"Jefferson called for a "democratisation of innovation" based on "open source genetics". Central to this concept was a distinction between the tools of innovation and the products of innovation."

Tools of genetics and modern biology should be made freely available just as computer programming tools were shared in the open source software movement, he said."

redux [05.09.01]
find related articles. powered by google. IEEE Spectrum Open-Source Biology And Its Impact on Industry

"The toolbox of biochemistry, the parts list--"the kernel," to stretch the software analogy--is shared by all organisms on the planet. In general, organisms differ from one another because of their order of gene expression or because of relatively subtle perturbations to protein structures common to all forms of terrestrial life. That is, innovation in the natural world in some sense has always followed the idea of a service and flow economy. If the environment is static, only when an organism figures out how to use the old toolbox to provide itself, or another organism, with a new service is advantage conferred.

The analogy to future industrial applications of biology is clear: When molecular biologists figure out the kernel of biology, innovation by humans will consist of tweaking the parts to provide new services. Because of the sheer amount of information, it is unlikely that a single corporate entity could maintain a monopoly on the kernel. Eventually, as design tasks increase in number and sophistication, corporations will have to share techniques and this information will inevitably spread widely, reaching all levels of technical ability--the currency of the day will be innovation and design. As with every other technology developed by humans, biological technology will be broadly disseminated."

Technology based on intentional, open-source biology is on its way, whether we like it or not, and the opportunity it represents will just begin to emerge in the next 50 years."

redux [11.20.02]
find related articles. powered by google. IBM developerworks Open source in the biosciences

"Until recently, open source has often appeared to bioscientists as some sort of novelty, or, worse, a threat to IP protection. In the last few years, though, solid achievements in clustering, genomic data management, Web publication, and scores of specific "vertical" applications have established open source as a serious technical alternative.

Big Pharma and other biosciences are just starting to realize how open source can systematically cut costs, improve security, allow their own workers to shift attention back to their "core competences" from proprietary IT expertise, and even promote better science. We're in the midst of a dramatic evangelical movement that teaches better ways for open source IT to support bioscientific goals. Perhaps the most consequential shift is that participants have begun to understand that standards-based open source can enhance biosciences' fundamental values. These are exciting times for open source bioinformatics."

redux [09.30.02]
find related articles. powered by google. Genomeweb Is Bioinformatics--and Open-Source Software--in ABI's Future?

"Brenner, for example, stressed that while open sourcing "has potential in a generic sort of way," success depends on the operational and business models of specific companies.

Even considering a move to open sourcing can meet with resistance. "All of the instrument companies were brought up in closed-source shops, so they would have to change this fundamental attitude," explained Hood."

find related articles. powered by google. Bio-IT World Open Source: Not Yet a Closed Case

"THE OPEN SOURCE MOVEMENT has gained significant momentum of late, particularly within the bioinformatics field. While open source licenses vary widely, distribution of open source software typically requires delivery of both the object code and the source code. Most commercial software is delivered only in object code form, which is not easily read and modified by programmers.

The decision of whether to use open source software requires a careful analysis of various factors. In the right situations, open source software can be an excellent choice. In other cases, it can be disastrous."

redux [08.21.02]
find related articles. powered by google. Genomeweb How Good is Greed for Open-Source Bioinformatics?

"Want to make money from open-source bioinformatics? As long as it's not too much you might be OK.

This was the verdict of a panel of academics and business executives who had convened last week to talk broadly about open-source bioinformatics. But the discussion, which took place at the IEEE Computer Society bioinformatics conference at Stanford University, frequently veered to whether one could, or even should, make money from it.

The answer was a resounding maybe."

redux [01.16.02]
find related articles. powered by google. O'Reilly Network Does Publicly Funded Research Have to Result in Open Source Code?

"A debate is heating up in the academic community over whether software that is generated by publicly funded research must be released with an open source license. The Internet is one example of how releasing research code benefited the public, but the trend seems to be changing now, and universities are more likely to consider the profit opportunity. The Bayh-Dole Act paved the way for the privatization of publicly funded resources, but not everyone is happy with the results.

Against the tide of privatization comes a group of bioinformatics researchers and programmers with an online petition to require that all software created by publicly funded research projects be licensed as open source. They have founded a group and a Web site,, to further this cause.

Here we present two opposing viewpoints on this issue."

redux [01.07.01]
find related articles. powered by google. IT-Analysis Open Source in Bioinformatics

"The Open Source movement is infectious, it seems. It has bubbled up in the field of bioinformatics - gene research software. Gene research is already a burgeoning area of activity, which is predicted to deliver numerous benefits to the health industry. It is also an area where software counts and where universities have managed to prosper from their activities. US universities lodge about 2000 patents each year, many in bioinformatics, and these patents contribute a good deal of revenue - an amount estimated at about $5 billion per annum, or ten percent of their total budgets. Thus Open Source activities in this area are not universally welcomed."

find related articles. powered by google. Salon Public money, private code

"Over the past several years, open-source software development has won high-profile adherents in the business world -- including the likes of IBM and Sun Microsystems. But it has always had its strongest fans in the academic world, where open-source software is seen as a natural extension of the idea that the fruits of academic research should be shared with everyone.

But now some academic programmers on the cutting edge have found that the licensing office is proving a more formidable obstacle to progress than the limits of their imagination and skill."

redux [11.26.01]
find related articles. powered by google. SiliconValley.Com Computer scientists push to publish code powering genetic research

"Before computer whiz Steven E. Brenner accepted his tenure-track research post at the University of California-Berkeley last year, he demanded that the school's intellectual property police leave him alone.

Brenner prevailed. He's now one of the few experts in the emerging field of bioinformatics with the freedom to distribute his work, software used in gene research.

``It's vital to what we do,'' says Brenner, who supports a movement to force universities to allow ``open source'' publishing of gene research software code."

redux [08.18.01]
find related articles. powered by google. GenomeWeb Legal Pitfalls of Free Bioinformatics Software May Loom Large

"Steve Brenner, assistant professor and leader of a computational genomics research group at the University of California, Berkeley, said he fears that many academic bioinformaticists are unaware of a legal risk they face on a daily basis: contributing to open source software projects without explicit permission from their institutions.

While many employers have clauses in their employment contracts that restrict the creation and use of open source software, bioinformatics programmers at universities are often not as attuned to copyright issues as their industry counterparts. This fact, Brenner said, raises the possibility that a good portion of biological open source software is currently being produced illegally."

"The issue seems to be coming to a head in the academic world now, as more universities are exploiting the revenue stream made possible by their copyright and patent holdings. ?If you?re a software developer, the university holds rights to your software, but if you?re an English professor or Law professor and publish a book, they?re not the least bit interested in copyright,? said Thomas Field, an attorney at the Franklin Pierce Law Center affiliated with the Association of University Technology Managers."

redux [11.05.01]
find related articles. powered by google. Boston Business Journal Legal issues surround programming bioinformatics

"Computers are supposed to help biotechnology, right? Isn't bioinformatics all the rage right now? Well, it is, but with popularity comes legal questions that many companies don't address until it's too late."

"It seems that many biotech companies don't realize that a computer vendor may have the rights to the software, and ultimately, the work that the biotech companies do.

For example, if a biotech company orders a computer network to help it sequence the genome of yeast, the company may ask the vendor to customize the software it will use to do the sequencing. However, the question is, who owns the right to that customized software--the biotech company or the software programmer?"

redux [08.23.01]
find related articles. powered by google. Stanford Medical Informatics Preprint Archive Open Source Initiatives in Bioinformatics

"This report outlines recent activity in open source software development within the discipline of bioinformatics. I present the relevant highlights of two bioinformatics meetings held in July 2001 in Copenhagen, Denmark: the Bioinformatics Open Source Conference and the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology Conference. The report also describes a large number of projects and groups important to bioinformatics open source software development. The appendices include meeting programs, the currently accepted definition of open source software, and descriptions of important online biological data sources."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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