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Recent decades have witnessed an ever-increasing range and volume of digital data. All elements of the pillars of science--whether observation, experiment, or theory and modeling--are being transformed by the continuous cycle of generation, dissemination, and use of factual information. This is even more so in terms of the re-using and re-purposing of digital scientific data beyond the original intent of the data collectors, often with dramatic results.

We all know about the potential benefits and impacts of digital data, but we are also aware of the barriers, the challenges in maximizing the access, and use of such data. There is thus a need to think about how a data infrastructure can enhance capabilities for finding, using, and integrating information to accelerate discovery and innovation. How can we best implement an accessible, interoperable digital environment so that the data can be repeatedly used by a wide variety of users in different settings and with different applications?

With this objective: to use the microbial communities and microbial data, literature, and the research materials themselves as a test case, the Board on Research Data and Information held an International Symposium on Designing the Microbial Research Commons at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC on 8-9 October 2009. The symposium addressed topics such as models to lower the transaction costs and support access to and use of microbiological materials and digital resources from the perspective of publicly funded research, public-private interactions, and developing country concerns. The overall goal of the symposium was to stimulate more research and implementation of improved legal and institutional models for publicly funded research in microbiology.

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 2011. Designing the Microbial Research Commons: Proceedings of an International Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

228 pages | 8.5 x 11 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-21979-2
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-21982-2
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xii
1. Introduction 1-2
2. Microbiology in the 21st Century 3-12
3. Breaking Anti-Commons Constraints on Global Scientific Research: Some New Moves in "Legal Jujitsu" 13-24
4. An Industry Perspective: Development of an MTA Harmonious with a Microbial Research Commons 25-30
5. Developing Country Perspective: Microbial Research Commons Including Viruses 31-42
6. A Compensatory Liability Regime to Promote the Exchange of Microbial Genetic Resources for Research and Benefit Sharing 43-54
7. The Agricultural Research Service Culture Collection: Germplasm Accessions and Research Programs 55-62
8. American Type Culture Collection: A Model for Biological Materials Resource Management 63-68
9. Contracting to Preserve Open Science: Lessons for a Microbial Research Commons 69-76
10. Designing the Digital Commons in Microbiology - Moving from Restrictive Dissemination of Publicly Funded Knowledge to Open Knowledge Environments: A Case Study in Microbiology 77-90
11. The Web-Enabled Research Commons: Applications, Goals, and Trends 91-102
13. Toward a Biomedical Research Commons: A View from the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health 103-110
14. Academic Publications 111-114
15. StrainInfo: Reducing Microbial Data Entropy 115-120
16. Research and Applications in Energy and Environment 121-128
18. Proposal for a Microbial Semi-Commons: Perspectives from the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups 129-136
19. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources 137-144
20. Microbial Commons: Governing Complex Knowledge Assets 145-160
22. Accessing Microbiological Data: A User's Perspective 161-164
23. The Microbial Commons: Journals and Professional Societies 165-168
24. Microbial Commons: Overview of the Governance Considerations - A Framework for Discussion 169-176
25. Institutional Design and Governance in the Microbial Research Commons 177-184
26. International Developments: A Context for theCreation of a Microbiology Commons 185-190
27. Options for Governing the Microbial Commons 191-200
28. Access and Benefit Sharing under the CBD and Access to Materials for Research 201-208
29. Closing Observations 209-210
Appendix A – Microbial Commons Symposium Agenda 211-214
Appendix B – Microbial Commons Symposium Participants 215-216

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