Science Commons’ John Wilbanks in Popular Science
Kaitlin Thaney, July 19th, 2007
This just in from PopSci.com …
Using innovative copyrights and a Web 2.0 platform, John Wilbanks may just transform how scientific discoveries are made
by Abby Seiff
When Pasteur had his eureka moment, the processes leading up to it were barely different than Archimedes’s. The scientist hypothesized, created his tools, and executed his experiments with little need for input from his colleagues. My, how things have changed. As science has become increasingly complex and interconnected, even the smallest a-ha instance demands that researchers spend the bulk of their time on grunt work – combing through relevant journal articles that are poorly annotated, begging colleagues for necessary materials (a biologist may need specific cell lines, for instance), and tracking down data sets. As scientific goals grow more multifaceted, the challenges for research and developments lie not only in the experiments themselves, but also in the transfer of information among peers.
Enter John Wilbanks, executive director of the Science Commons initiative, and the six-year-old innovation of its parent organization, Creative Commons – an intelligent, understandable copyright that’s revolutionizing how everything from photos to publications are shared. Wilbanks and his team (which includes Nobel Prize winners Joshua Lederberg and John Sulston) are focused on three areas where roadblocks to scientific discovery are most common: in accessing literature, obtaining materials and sharing data. [...]“