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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 time.com: 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.”

http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/19/online-gamers-solve-a-tricky-aids-puzzle/

 

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

http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v3/n10/full/nchem.1149.html




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