Viral Spiral – Open Source Science

“Viral Spiral” by David Bollier is a fascinating read on the development of “open source” as it applies to software, copyrights and the economic and social impact of participatory global commons and communication.

A recent example, reported in two seemingly disparate groups, AIDS biochemical researchers and online gamers, collaborated in illustrating an enzyme crucial to the research.  The researchers worked on the task for approximately 10 years; the gamers completed the task communally in weeks.  As Bollier notes in his book,

“This is why so many ordinary people – without necessarily having degrees, institutional affiliations, or wealth – are embarking upon projects that, in big and small ways, are building a new order of culture and commerce.  It is an emerging universe of economic, social, and cultural activity animated by self-directed amateurs, citizens, artists, entrepreneurs, and irregulars.”


Expanding on “open source” science collaborations, Michael Woelfle, Piero Olliaro and Matthew H. Todd share their views in the article, “Open Science is a Research Accelerator.”

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