Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Rare Sharing of Data Led To Results In Alzheimer's Research

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the never-forget dept.

Medicine 159

jamie passes along a story in the NY Times about how an unprecedented level of openness and data-sharing among scientists involved in the study of Alzheimer's disease has yielded a wealth of new research papers and may become the template for making progress in dealing with other afflictions. Quoting: "The key to the Alzheimer's project was an agreement as ambitious as its goal: not just to raise money, not just to do research on a vast scale, but also to share all the data, making every single finding public immediately, available to anyone with a computer anywhere in the world. No one would own the data. No one could submit patent applications, though private companies would ultimately profit from any drugs or imaging tests developed as a result of the effort. 'It was unbelievable,' said Dr. John Q. Trojanowski, an Alzheimer's researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. 'It's not science the way most of us have practiced it in our careers. But we all realized that we would never get biomarkers unless all of us parked our egos and intellectual-property noses outside the door and agreed that all of our data would be public immediately.'"

cancel ×

159 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

This is real science. (5, Insightful)

Raelus (859126) | about 4 years ago | (#33245754)

Stop trying to replace it with a capitalistic mockery of science.

Re:This is real science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33245772)

+1

Re:This is real science. (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#33245916)

agreed

Re:This is real science. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33245834)

SHUT UP YOU , YOU, YOU COMMIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING"
FITLER THIS!

Re:This is real science. (5, Funny)

AltairDusk (1757788) | about 4 years ago | (#33246012)

FITLER THIS!

Fitler? Did Hitler buy a gym?

Re:This is real science. (0, Redundant)

wealthychef (584778) | about 4 years ago | (#33247984)

OMFG ROTFLOL! Did Hitler buy a gym? OMG stop I can't breathe

Re:This is real science. (1)

Sylak (1611137) | about 4 years ago | (#33246434)

This should be modded Funny not flaimbait...

Re:This is real science. (0)

Moridineas (213502) | about 4 years ago | (#33245864)

Stop trying to replace it with a capitalistic mockery of science.

I'm not quite sure what relevance your sentence has to this post, but would you care to expound? What exactly is a capitalistic mockery of science?

Re:This is real science. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33245966)

The mess we have where potentially-useful information is kept secret and proprietary, in the name of profit or even just potential profit.

Re:This is real science. (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | about 4 years ago | (#33246604)

The mess we have where potentially-useful information is kept secret and proprietary, in the name of profit or even just potential profit.

The problem is that research only gets corporately funded if the corporation believes it can make a long term profit from the research. For diseases, the long term profit is usually in the form of selling the drugs that are developed. The cynic in me thinks that corporations would prefer developing maintenance type drugs instead of curative drugs (eg why cure aids when you can sell a drug to kept in check). The realist in me says that the scientists doing the research would rather develop a full cure, but often the short term goal of managing the disease is easier to achieve.

Re:This is real science. (2, Informative)

dpilot (134227) | about 4 years ago | (#33248438)

Has the cynic in you heard about the new prostate cancer vaccine? They've decided to charge $90k for it, because that's the average cost of treatment for prostate cancer, and people should be willing to pay just as much to avoid the treatment as they would to have it. I'm not kidding.

**Pardon me, it's not $90k, it's $93k. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-04-30-prostatevaccine30_ST_N.htm [usatoday.com]
Reading TFA, the vaccine is a very patient-specific thing, and didn't mention the equivalent-cost pricing. I heard that part on the radio.

Re:This is real science. (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33246028)

I see this is getting modded down because people don't appreciate critical questions. Quite ironic given the context. Not to speak for Moridineas, but I think the point he is getting at is that science is a process that has no intrinsic position on economics (except where one is applying the scientific method to study economics). Therefore science where conducted properly is no better or worse in a given economic order. Of course where we talking about this issue of the free exchange of information that may help scientists to have access to more data upon which to conduct the process, but it does not change the process itself, only the scope of input.

Re:This is real science. (5, Insightful)

TheEyes (1686556) | about 4 years ago | (#33246036)

The patent craziness.

For some bizarre reason, the US, the EU, and many other places have decided that it's okay to patent basic concepts: human and animal genes, business methods, math (also known as software patents), etc, rather than the end-stage products that patents were originally meant to cover. As a result, many fields of innovation are grinding to a halt, as people scramble to place roadblocks and paywalls across the road of innovation. Biology can't go anywhere because dozens of different groups have patents on basic testing procedures and even the genes themselves. Computer programmers can't get anywhere because programming has become a minefield, where bits arranged in certain ways can suddenly see you being sued for millions of dollars.

The moment the walls are lowered, even for a short period in a limited field, great things can be accomplished in a short amount of time, but the exceptions will remain exceptions if the non-innovators keep thinking there's profit to be made in continual delay.

Re:This is real science. (5, Insightful)

xMilkmanDanx (866344) | about 4 years ago | (#33246318)

+9000

all fundamental science should NEVER be patentable. mother nature has prior art

Re:This is real science. (1)

pooh666 (624584) | about 4 years ago | (#33247556)

Just Amen...

Re:This is real science. (2, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | about 4 years ago | (#33246528)

You're greatly exaggerating by saying biology and computer programming can't get anywhere because of patents. It's rare to have a problem with software patents. When there is a problem, it makes the news on Slashdot. And then again the next week. And the month after that.

Re:This is real science. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246918)

It's not rare it just doesn't always make court as sometimes it has the intended effect of keeping the competition at bay. I've consulted at 2 different companies that decided to take less than optimal solutions in one case and in another abandon a business expansion plan due to patents held by software patents held by outside companies who were known to be litigious. Both companies were small shops where they couldn't afford a protracted legal battle so they found less risky places or ways to invest their capital. In the case of the first it eventually went out of business though this was unrelated to the issue at hand. In the second case I think they're still around but I haven't talked to anyone there in probably 5 years. Since consulted at only 14 clients during my consulting days which ended last year as I became a corporate whore and I've run into it twice I'd say that makes it decidedly not rare...unless of course I'm just an anomaly who has run into more than my fair share of patent lunacy.

Re:This is real science. (4, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 years ago | (#33246958)

Real patent problems almost never to never make news. They are about people dropping research outright, without ever getting to the point of infringing patents, because of simple FEAR or infringement, or because when they start, the lawyer tells them to drop it because of the aforementioned risk. Number of such cases dwarfs the cases that actually progress to level of getting actual patent problems.

Yes, it is this bad. What you see on slashdot doesn't count as a tip of an iceberg - it's more of a few ice crystals from the tip of the iceberg at best.

Re:This is real science. (1)

wealthychef (584778) | about 4 years ago | (#33248004)

bunratty sez:

It's rare to have a problem with software patents. When there is a problem, it makes the news on Slashdot. And then again the next week. And the month after that.

Luckyo retorts:

What you see on slashdot doesn't count as a tip of an iceberg - it's more of a few ice crystals from the tip of the iceberg at best.

Citation please? I'm curious who has the facts on their side.

Abundant science needs a funding paradigm shift (4, Informative)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 4 years ago | (#33247098)

Something I wrote on that begins: http://www.pdfernhout.net/open-letter-to-grantmakers-and-donors-on-copyright-policy.html [pdfernhout.net]
"Foundations, other grantmaking agencies handling public tax-exempt dollars, and charitable donors need to consider the implications for their grantmaking or donation policies if they use a now obsolete charitable model of subsidizing proprietary publishing and proprietary research. In order to improve the effectiveness and collaborativeness of the non-profit sector overall, it is suggested these grantmaking organizations and donors move to requiring grantees to make any resulting copyrighted digital materials freely available on the internet, including free licenses granting the right for others to make and redistribute new derivative works without further permission. It is also suggested patents resulting from charitably subsidized research research also be made freely available for general use. The alternative of allowing charitable dollars to result in proprietary copyrights and proprietary patents is corrupting the non-profit sector as it results in a conflict of interest between a non-profit's primary mission of helping humanity through freely sharing knowledge (made possible at little cost by the internet) and a desire to maximize short term revenues through charging licensing fees for access to patents and copyrights. In essence, with the change of publishing and communication economics made possible by the wide spread use of the internet, tax-exempt non-profits have become, perhaps unwittingly, caught up in a new form of "self-dealing", and it is up to donors and grantmakers (and eventually lawmakers) to prevent this by requiring free licensing of results as a condition of their grants and donations. "

I sent a longer version to the Markle Foundation in 2001, two years before this open partnership on Alzheimer's started:
    http://www.pdfernhout.net/on-funding-digital-public-works.html [pdfernhout.net]
Maybe it helped? :-)

By the way, adequate vitamin D and eating organic whole foods heavy on vegetables, fruits, and beans (with a few selected supplements like B12 and DHA) may help delay Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia greatly; see:
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/treatment.shtml [vitamindcouncil.org]
http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/cat-alzheimers-disease.html [diseaseproof.com]

So, the answers are out there even without people cooperating to make some magic bullet. The cooperation through basic publications and the hard work of a few key people like Dr. John Cannell and Dr. Joel Fuhrman putting together such information has made huge difference. Now if just more people would pay attention to these findings -- but unfortunately there is not much profit in emphasizing getting mdoerate sunlight exposure (or taking cheap supplements) and eating right, so that is another part of the partadigm problem of a for-profit health care and R&D system.

Moderate exercise and some other things can help too (see Dr. Andrew Weil for the bigger picture of the holistic side fo health, though his nutrition advice is not quite as good as the above links) but again, there is not the huge profits in that as, say, doing triple bypasses.

Good post (1)

zogger (617870) | about 4 years ago | (#33247340)

Really. Same as with cars, change oil regularly, less engine troubles. Prevention beats cure, all the time.

Re:Good post (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 4 years ago | (#33247932)

Thanks.

By the way, a bit unrelated, but on cars and oil, :-) here is a post by me on why luxury safer electric cars should be given out free to everyone in the USA in order to lower taxes (so, sometimes redesign of a magic bullet is cheaper: :-)
    "Why luxury safer electric cars should be free-to-the-user"
    http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/msg/09eb7f4c973349f2?hl=en [google.com]

And that does not even take into account using the cars as part of a smart grid, or the possibility our electric and natural gas use might go *down* if we stopped refining oil into gasoline:
    http://www.evnut.com/gasoline_oil.htm [evnut.com]
"So I can get 24 miles in my ICE on a gallon of gasoline, or I can get 41 miles (at 300wh/mile) in my RAV4EV just using the energy to refine that gallon. Alternatively - energy use (electricity and natural gas) state wide goes DOWN if a mile in a RAV4EV is substituted for a mile in an ICE!"

The question is, why did mainstream academics ignore or laugh at someone like Amory Lovins for so long?
    http://www.oilendgame.com/ [oilendgame.com]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brittle_Power [wikipedia.org]
"The book argues that U.S. domestic energy infrastructure is very vulnerable to disruption, by accident or malice, often even more so than imported oil. According to the authors, a resilient energy system is feasible, costs less, works better, is favoured in the market, but is rejected by U.S. policy.[1] In the preface to the 2001 edition, Lovins explains that these themes are still very current."

So, basically renewable have been *cheaper* than fossil fuels since the 1970s when you include all externalities (pollution, health consequences, military, risk), but those costs are not paid at the pump, but on your taxes, your health care bill, or paid by ongoing suffering or problems faced by future generations. But instead we have endless economists parading about for decades shouting at us that renewables (solar thermal, wind, geothermal) are too costly, when it turns out that is actually a total lie (it's like saying that not changing the oil in your car is cheaper because it costs $20 for an oil change and you don't need it *today* and your rich uncle will buy you a new car anyway if the engine dies in this one). Meanwhile, Portugal just does renewable energy anyway:
    "Portugal Gives Itself a Clean-Energy Makeover"
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/science/earth/10portugal.html [nytimes.com]
As does China:
    "Our One-Party Democracy"
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/opinion/09friedman.html [nytimes.com]
But I know of someone who said she helped design a totally solar house in NJ that got bought and bulldozed by an oil company decades ago...

Science and technology is shaped in large part by strong economic interests. A book about the politics of the telephone including how companies fought municipalities that wanted buried cables instead of telephone poles everywhere:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=0yE-CP4SmlYC [google.com]
A professor who writes about these sorts of things:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langdon_Winner [wikipedia.org]
An essay in the Atlantic on "The Kept University":
    http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/2000/03/press.htm [theatlantic.com]

Still, the original article on Alzheimer's researchers cooperating bucks the trend, so I can hope for more, especially with the FOSS movement.

Medicine (1)

zogger (617870) | about 4 years ago | (#33248562)

I gave long thought it would benefit society by requiring the open sourcing of all medical knowledge. As it is now for the most part, a profit center, yet the profit takes away from the general productivity, it doesn't add to it, it just helps it a little by not getting any worse. As such, it is more profitable to have healthier people with less medical expenses. Medical expenses fall under the "broken windows fallacy" of economics.

As to alt energy, I hear ya. I also like how it is suitable for decentralization, which increases security (more points of production, less chance of cascading failures) and can help to drop cost, as individuals can eventually pay off their own means of production, which is the same as locking in a futures contract on commodities.

I'm part way there. I have some solar PV, and rely on solid state nuclear fusion batteries..errr.. my firewood stash. Actually out splitting some today in this heat. Not a lot, I did three large rounds today, but I try to do some every day, year round. Sort of get paid to workout. At least that is what I psych myself out with, ha!

There's just so much that *could* be done all over, to help the economy, to improve healthcare, to improve the energy situation..waiting for the big change from the establishment won't work, it is up to the individual to just do it themselves. A million, ten million, whatever, individuals doing it IS change. Route around the government and entrenched corporate bottlenecks.

This is why I embrace modern survivalism, or practical preparedness, getting independent of as much as possible in your basic day to day human needs allows you to be wealthier, without the necessity of having to count your wealth in the terms of their scam fiat currency units.

the system today is set up and run to transfer your labor upstream into as few of hands as possible. All you have to do is...stop doing that. the more people work directly for themselves, the better off they get and the more of their labor that goes to enrich them, and not to further enrich already obscenely wealth entities.

Examples, pay off your land, then build your house as you can afford the materials. Result, no interest payments, no mortgage required, a nice home, at a fraction of the money-your labor-required. Most people don't realize how attractive this is as an option, you can have a paid off home in a few years, rather than a thirty year note that winds up costing you quadruple or more *for the same house*.

a garden..people don't realize how much wealth creation they can get from a garden,beats most any stock on the stock exchange. Example, this year we grew -as part of our gardens- around 20 watermelons. cost was a few seeds, saved from previous melons, maybe one gallon total fuel for my tiny tractor to rototill the area up, and maybe another buck or two for electricity to run the well for the few times we watered it. At even wholesale prices, we spent a few bucks and made over 40 bucks, and at retail, say around five bucks per (organic) melon, which is still cheap, we made about a hundred dollars worth of fine melons, which we have been eating and giving some away. It's a tremendous solar powered force multiplier and wealth multiplier. If say around half the suburban lawns out there were repurposed to productive gardens, that would add billions to the economy, and also drop energy demand. there is already expense and energy use going to keep the lawns cut, the same energy could be put into food production. And people would still have half their lawn to enjoy...

Insulation, run buildings up to R55 or 60 level, with some appropriate other tricks, and we could drop heating and cooling demands down to less than a third, for as long as the building is standing. People just don't run the numbers to see what an incredible deal this is economically, plus to lessen energy demand and improve the environment that way.

How I wish science was done (1)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | about 4 years ago | (#33248666)

I agree with you also. In my idealistic mind, I would love to see heavy government investment into the university system. Then, in return, the universities would be bound to releasing all discoveries under automatically granted open-source patents and/or equivalent in copyright. This would allow all universities to build previous successes and companies to utilize this output for profit (as they are selling a tangible product made from the scientific discoveries and not the scientific discoveries themselves - ie, they are selling a pill containing a chemical compound, and not the scientific breakthroughs that are represented in the discovery of that chemical compound's structure).

Of course, this is not an ideal solution. Two arguments rise up to the top right away. The first is the exclamations of "COMMUNISM!!!" - as anything run by a state in the US is immediately considered evil communism, even if the benefits to society are far greater and foster an environment of discovery. The second is "politicizing science" - and, yes, it would be. A political entity would be giving out the grants (just as they do now to some extent), and so there would always be accusations that "liberals" are trying to "push their global warming (now extreme climate change) agenda" or that "conservatives" are trying to promote "capitalistic market philosophies". Unfortunately, in any condition of limited resources there will be politicization of that resources distribution... because that's what politics is for, a study of the social dynamics in which a collection of individuals come to a communal consensus.

Re:This is real science. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33245884)

This is one of the reasons the field of astronomy has made such amazing advances. There is no money to be made in figuring out how the universe works so everyone is very open about their work.

Re:This is real science. (2, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#33246516)

"There is no money to be made in figuring out how the universe works"

Teleportation? Possibility of warping space to move around the galaxy? No money, what?

Re:This is real science. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 4 years ago | (#33246594)

Good thing the Wall Street types are not fans of scifi.

Re:This is real science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33247608)

"There is no money to be made in figuring out how the universe works"

Teleportation? Possibility of warping space to move around the galaxy? No money, what?

Since that's science fiction, I think the real scientists are safe. :-)

Re:This is real science. (3, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 4 years ago | (#33248050)

Current business is "make money within 6 months or GTFO".

Yeah, I'm exaggerating, but not by a whole lot. Even in the best of cases, things like extrasolar planet discoveries, the LHC or other "fundamental" science don't have applications within 10 if not 20 or 50 years, maybe more. They're of no use to business even though business will thrive on it in the future.

Re:This is real science. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33247002)

Makes you wonder why U of East Anglia (et al) wouldn't share the global warming data.

Re:This is real science. (4, Insightful)

immakiku (777365) | about 4 years ago | (#33245886)

Indeed. Back in the day Science and math was shared freely through notes and letters among intellectuals. The scientists of that era actually achieved their potentials for the most part.

In our time, we have much better ways to communicate, yet our abilities are stifled far below maximum potential because of what appears to be petty reasons

Re:This is real science. (4, Interesting)

Moridineas (213502) | about 4 years ago | (#33245934)

Back in the day Science and math was shared freely

Back in what day?

Re:This is real science. (5, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | about 4 years ago | (#33246042)

Back when Tycho Brahe refused to give Kepler access to his observations of the night sky and Darwin didn't publish his ideas until decades after he first had them. And when Mendel fudged his data about heredity and Millikan threw away data he didn't like about the charge of an electron. Oh, wait.

Mod Parent Up - This is just nostalgic romanticism (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#33246100)

Please, rivalry and secrecy have been the way of things since the dawn of human history, ffs...

Re:Mod Parent Up - This is just nostalgic romantic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246532)

That recently, huh? "No no! These 6in teeth are for... you know... nothing!"

Re:This is real science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246246)

All that is true, closed and petty science is not new.

That said, open science where we all work together to solve problems for the common good might just be <reverb>THE SCIENCE OF THE FUTURE</reverb>

Re:This is real science. (4, Informative)

dan828 (753380) | about 4 years ago | (#33246308)

It's not that Darwin didn't want to publish his ideas, he shared them with his friends readily enough. He just didn't want to deal with the religious and political shit storm that his work was going to cause. It wasn't until he was about to get scooped by Wallace that his friends convinced him to jointly present a paper with Wallace.

Re:This is real science. (5, Insightful)

immakiku (777365) | about 4 years ago | (#33246348)

In those cases the reasons are all personal, whereas now the hiding and protecting of research seems codified into our society.

Re:This is real science. (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 4 years ago | (#33246506)

Oh, you mean like making ideas public by publication in journals and filing patents so innovative ideas are made public. Wait, what?

Re:This is real science. (2, Insightful)

immakiku (777365) | about 4 years ago | (#33246648)

Ideas are patented, but actual research is still hidden until it's profitable. Even then the research is not 100% made public. Compare this to the RFC style progression of research in which people had no reservations about participating.

Re:This is real science. (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 4 years ago | (#33246914)

whereas now the hiding and protecting of research seems codified into our society.

Maybe that's because various scientists and researchers don't want to deal with the headache and pain that comes along with some misinformed boob misinterpreting valid data and ranting about how it's proof the the researcher/scientist is a fraud and criminal. The whole climate change debate thing comes to mind. When climate researchers' data did get out in the open, various news sources jumped all over the researchers like a pack of ravenous wolves. Hell, there was literally an army of bloggers who were actively seeking any nit they could find to discredit the research.

I don't mean to imply that particular example showed "good" science being questioned by "wrong" people. I don't have enough knowledge about the subject to say one way or another. However, my point is that, given the rampant belligerence towards science displayed in modern society, researchers may want to hide and protect their data just because they don't want their picture stamped on the front of the New York Times with the headline "Friend or Fraud?!" across it.

I'm not saying that's the way it should be, but that could be one of the reasons for the general attitude of protectionism displayed so often today.

Re:This is real science. (2, Interesting)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 4 years ago | (#33247532)

No, the real reason is institutional. Scientific careers are made by holding your cards close to your chest for as long as possible, then publishing impressive conclusions while still keeping your most important data either cryptic or unstructured. The "business model" is a mess, and it isn't about the misinterpreting boob, it's about the people who *would* understand your work.

This story (about the breakthrough in Alzheimer's work) is a very good one to spread around, because it will produce some strong pressure to follow suit in other medical fields. Once enough of the right people start to realize that we could make serious in-roads against cancer if a collaborative approach was taken, the forces to change the status quo will become unstoppable.

Another reason (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33248598)

Don't forget the old adage of "publish or perish", as a professor's worth is not measured in salt but in publications turned out. Thus, a professor that knows their material, makes new discoveries that they share openly, and is an excellent teacher most likely will not make tenure. It is one more reason why text books are such a burden to so many students. (Oh, and for industrial scientists, they have no reason to publish - as you said, it is a for-profit business model so why would you ever publish trade secrets?)

Re:This is real science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246098)

In the days before profit was the target and mega-corporations didn't control governments. Although it wasn't all rosy with information freely shared. Just read up on Newton's invention of calculus being kept secret so he could make money using it, only for Leibniz to come up with a similar idea (the notation we use today in mathematics) around the same time. Even today people will argue for both sides, 350 years later! This wouldn't have happened it Newton was their first and published.

Re:This is real science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33245984)

Back in the day, scientists were stabbed, poisoned, burned, and generally abused by those in power.

Re:This is real science. (5, Funny)

Atrox666 (957601) | about 4 years ago | (#33246076)

Since public sharing of information saves lives, not sharing is tanamount to murder or at least negligent homicide.

Intellectual Property kills.

Re:This is real science. (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | about 4 years ago | (#33246296)

Sadly, your comment is much more insightful than funny.

Re:This is real science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246590)

It's sad because it's true

Re:This is real science. (1)

pooh666 (624584) | about 4 years ago | (#33247580)

Why the hell is this modded funny? Anyone with Parkinson's here?

Re:This is real science. (1)

dpilot (134227) | about 4 years ago | (#33248418)

Can you prove it, beyond a shadow of a doubt?!?
Can you show me the smoking gun, how witholding of a specific piece of information caused a specific death?!?

I didn't think so. Therefore your entire argument is worthless, which of course means that the ONLY True Path to scientific knowledge and prosperity for all remains Free Market Capitalism and strong enforcement of Intellectual Property Law.

** Insert sarcasm emoticon here. The problem is not so much that some people might think this an annoying serious argument as that some people might agree with it.

Re:This is real science. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33247336)

In our time, we have much better ways to communicate, yet our abilities are stifled far below maximum potential because of what appears to be petty reasons

My impression is that in research, being selfish with data and patenting things is the exception, not the norm. In much of the hot research you read about on front-page NY times, like curing cancer, sure, there's a lot of money to be made there so people are going to be greedy. But most research isn't so profitable. Pretty much all basic biology, there's little to be patented there.

For example it seems to me that if someone isn't sharing their data in my field (cell biology) it's because they don't fully trust their data, no one else has asked for it / cares about their data before they publish it, they're overly paranoid that someone will scoop them, or they're just selfish. (in order of decreasing frequency)

Personally, slashdot is stifling my scientific abilities a lot more than people being greedy with data.

Re:This is real science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246038)

A M E N !

Re:This is real science. (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 4 years ago | (#33246244)

Research funded by capitalism does not "replace" any other type of research; it supplements it. More science is a good thing.

Though I would strongly support any legislation requiring all privately-funded research to be published. It is a shame that good research goes unpublished today because its conclusions are not beneficial to its financiers.

Re:This is real science. (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 4 years ago | (#33246464)

Yep, this is how all the ideals of science are flushed down the toilets, and medicine probably is the worst offender of them all despite their "science" rhetoric, never mind their shoddy deployment of statistics.

Re:This is real science. (1)

The AtomicPunk (450829) | about 4 years ago | (#33247376)

You mean a corporatist mockery of science. Capitalism was killed many many years ago.

Re:This is real science. (1)

smaddox (928261) | about 4 years ago | (#33247748)

I'm all for openness, but there's some reason to believe that the person taking the data is the person best fit to analyze the data. However, in the medical field, this may not be true. Since all good studies in medicine will be double blind, there should be no problem with outsiders analyzing the data. Let's not get carried away and assume this would work for all scientific fields, though.

Again, openness is good, but sometimes faulty data won't be discovered to be faulty until the scientist who took it has time to analyze it and think about it. If such faulty data were made immediately public, there would be all number of people trying to support their pet theory with said faulty data.

I share my data all the time... (2, Funny)

Palestrina (715471) | about 4 years ago | (#33245758)

...but I sometimes forget where I put it.

Re:I share my data all the time... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33245944)

Don't worry, your government is taking care of it for you.

Re:I share my data all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33245970)

on the cloud?

Re:I share my data all the time... (1)

rvw (755107) | about 4 years ago | (#33246170)

...but I sometimes forget where I put it.

Just use facebook, and nothing will ever get lost, even your login.

Warning, the storey is closed off! (3, Interesting)

sackvillian (1476885) | about 4 years ago | (#33245784)

My new definition of irony:

A story on great leaps in progress being made because of openness being closed off behind a paywall.

Re:Warning, the storey is closed off! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33245832)

My new definition of irony:

A story on great leaps in progress being made because of openness being closed off behind a paywall.

Well, it's not a paywall. Registration is free.

That said, it is still annoying.

Re:Warning, the storey is closed off! (3, Informative)

Surt (22457) | about 4 years ago | (#33245986)

BugMeNot is your friend.

Re:Warning, the storey is closed off! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246326)

Well, it's not a paywall. Registration is free.

That said, it is still annoying.

For the NYTimes you can just use referrer spoofing (something you should be doing anyway to increase your privacy).

Get the RefControl add-on [mozilla.org] and set it to use "http://google.com/" as the referrer for anything at the site "nytimes.com"

I've doing that for many years without a hitch. For all other sites, I tell RefControl to default to "<Forge> (3rd Party)"

Re:Warning, the storey is closed off! (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 years ago | (#33246514)

Well, it's not a paywall. Registration is free.

That said, it is still annoying.

I clicked the NYT link again and it popped up without the registration page.
Their login system is quirky, with or without cookies enabled.

Re:Warning, the storey is closed off! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246022)

Here's a link to the article minus the big brotherism: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100813/09592010617.shtml

Uh, wow (4, Insightful)

Rijnzael (1294596) | about 4 years ago | (#33245790)

It's great to see that they suspended profit and property motive for the pursuit of something that can improve the lives of humanity as a whole. It's a nice change, even if temporary, against the backdrop of patented genes, seeds, and the like in our day and age.

*At least that's what it sounds like, I don't have an NYTimes login and don't have interest in one, so I didn't RTFA.

Re:Uh, wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33247694)

It's great to see that they suspended profit and property motive for the pursuit of something that can improve the lives of humanity as a whole.

No they didn't. The inventions, not the patents, are what ultimately generate the income. Since sharing the data results in a faster rate of invention and discovery, there will actually be increased profit available to be made. What they've given up is exclusive right to profit, which is based on the idea that you'll be much better off if you can just hold other people back. The ideal of capitalism is to provide benefits to others in return for profit, the idea of profiting by preventing others from benefiting from your work is something else entirely.

This is great news, and a great step forward. (5, Insightful)

Red_Chaos1 (95148) | about 4 years ago | (#33245870)

Now all we need is for this to become the norm.

Quite frankly I don't understand how it has been allowed for things like genes and sequences and such to be patented, and I think the notion that such things can be patented is ridiculous. But who am I, other some peon somewhere, right?

Re:This is great news, and a great step forward. (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 4 years ago | (#33245940)

But who am I, other some peon somewhere, right?

Actually, according to my cursory scan, you're a collection of Patented Nucleotide Sequences #47862, #32981, #441998, and #90210. A representative will be by shortly to either receive payment or present you with a Cease and Desist Existing order, and to conduct a more thorough scan for additional IP violations.

Re:This is great news, and a great step forward. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246222)

#90210. The Beverley Hills Nucleotide Sequence. I wonder if that's based on the discovery of Illudium Phosdex [urbandictionary.com] .

Re:This is great news, and a great step forward. (2, Funny)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 4 years ago | (#33248584)

Wouldn't that be called Cease and Decease?

Re:This is great news, and a great step forward. (1)

darien.train (1752510) | about 4 years ago | (#33246256)

Now all we need is for this to become the norm.

Quite frankly I don't understand how it has been allowed for things like genes and sequences and such to be patented, and I think the notion that such things can be patented is ridiculous. But who am I, other some peon somewhere, right?

I have a feeling that the whole patented gene stuff will come crashing down on the patent holders once genetics starts to have a practical reach into the public and consumer spaces.

How on earth are these patent holders going to enforce their patents? Couldn't some student make a patented gene in the college lab and distribute it in vials to thousands of people just to have in their pocket to show how silly that idea is? Couldn't we do this now even? I'd love to see some pharma company try and sue 50,000 students around the country or world for patent infringement. It worked great for the RIAA.

Re:This is great news, and a great step forward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33247998)

It's kind of depressing that something as simple as this should make the NYT front page.

Almost like an Onion article (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33245914)

"Scientists attempt to actually better society, are surprised to find that it works"

Re:Almost like an Onion article (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 4 years ago | (#33245974)

One could read most Onion editions as a real newspaper. The only problem is that this one would get out with some faifh on humanity.

It's not just Science... (2, Insightful)

Gaian-Orlanthii (1032980) | about 4 years ago | (#33245960)

...it's a Sudden Outbreak Of Common Sense. How come no-one else tagged it thus?

This is what I was always taught science was like. (2, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | about 4 years ago | (#33245962)

Sharing of data and ideas to further the cause of science and humanity.

Then greed took over and corrupted it completely.

It's nice to see a gleam of the dreams of progress can still exist somewhere.

Re:This is what I was always taught science was li (1)

j_presper_eckert (617907) | about 4 years ago | (#33246260)

It's rather reminiscent of Gorbachev-era glasnost. Since such openness lead to this awesome surprise, perhaps if carried further it can also point the way to the IP version of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. Who knows what else lies beyond? The terrain that beckons is certainly much more enriching to humanity-at-large than todays's walled gardens of data. Too often those gardens seem to be allowed little purpose other than than for their intellectual fruits to be monetized at all costs and defended against any influence that would delay that. It's very encouraging to see a group go so far against that trend!

Re:This is what I was always taught science was li (3, Interesting)

Frans Faase (648933) | about 4 years ago | (#33246322)

I think it was also governments who decided that science should be made profitable and not being fully paid by taxes, especially when the costs for science seems to increase more and more. Many scientist nowadays, have no other way then to depend on fundraising, and that can only be done effectively with writing papers. In some fields, for example computer science, there are areas where people put all their energie in writing papers with actually no content, just speculations and promisses. There are incrowds who only visit their own conferences and go on producing papers after papers with no real results at all.

I have been following research around Alzheimer's Disease in the past four years, because my wife has Early Onset Alzeheimer's Disease (she is only 53), and also in this area, I have encountered papers that present no result, but only talk about a potential application of a certain mechanism, which sole purpose seems to be fund-raising. And in a sense, I do not object against those papers, because if there is one disease that does not receive enough funding, it is Alzheimer's Disease. The costs of Alzheimer's Disease for society as a whole is probable of the same order as that of all forms of cancer together, but only a fraction of the amount of research that is put into cancer is put into Alzheimer's Disease. Especially in western countries, with a relatively large percentage of people over the age of 65, the costs for Alzheimer's Disease are becoming a great burden.

Re:This is what I was always taught science was li (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | about 4 years ago | (#33246812)

Of course science has never been perfect, but the state of science as we know it today is a peace dividend of the post-Soviet era. That includes the anemic state of space exploration.

Once upon a time, everything was all about the US vs. the Soviets. Anything decision more complicated than choosing the "Soviet" or "US" was quaintly labeled "multilateral" and dismissed as vaguely tacky and uncooperative. In those days, there was a huge contest to see which form of society was the society could produce the most sustainable progress. We don't get this in modern civilization struggles because Communism had this doctrine of historical determinism. Communism (the communists said) would usher in a golden age for humanity, a society so perfect that history itself would become obsolete.

So, it was very important to show which economic and political system had the biggest progress balls. Can *you* go to the moon? Can *you* create wonder drugs that horrible diseases? Can *you* discover the fundamental laws of the universe? And we spent a lot of public money on this creative machismo contest. Well, not that much really when you look at what we got out of it, but a lot when you look at how much we're willing to spend to Benefit the Progress of Mankind [tm] today.

And then, we won.

Suddenly, the contest wasn't all that important any longer. We had all this expensive to keep running research capability, and no reason to spend the money. And somebody came up with a creative idea that was almost like money for nothing. We'd be able to sustain the growth in our research infrastructure without growing our public investment in it.

It's hard to realize this today, but the concept of university research institutions as primarily IP generating engines was novel in 1980. It even seemed almost a bit obscene, because only a few years prior academic research was ostensibly all about Benefiting the Progress of Mankind [tm].

Re:This is what I was always taught science was li (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33247028)

In a perfect world, full of unicorns and magic fairy dust, scientists would share everything and work together. But in the world we live in, each tries to be more successful than the next in order to remain employed and feed his family.

Now crossing a patent office desk: (3, Funny)

AltairDusk (1757788) | about 4 years ago | (#33246052)

"Method of patent free knowledge sharing between scientists."

Coming up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246080)

Free flow of information boosts scientific research. News at 11.

the end is nigh (1, Funny)

chichilalescu (1647065) | about 4 years ago | (#33246102)

more and more I wonder about the 2012 thing.

Re:the end is nigh (1)

gemtech (645045) | about 4 years ago | (#33248402)

that's my retirement plan. the world ends. no retirement money needed. I hope.

On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246366)

It's indeed good that, in this case, profit was put aside for "the greater good," as it were.

But what about all of the useful drugs that are produced by profit-seeking corporations? If, as all the chest-pounders in this thread would have it, "profit were just laid aside," would these corporations still exist? Would they still be conducting research that has undeniably benefited sick people? The answer is probably "no."

"Profit" has, unfortunately, become synonymous with "greed" in the minds of all too many people -- and it many cases, it unfortunately plays out that way. What's lost in such caricatures, however, is that "profit" is also a great motivator to conduct good research and produce quality products that people want to buy.

In my mind, there's a place for both models. All this shouting about the evils of profit and capitalism and how it destroys "real" science strikes me as more than a little naive.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

jd (1658) | about 4 years ago | (#33247192)

Profit has nothing to do with it. If the drug companies charged less, the drugs would be more widely purchased and there would likely be less of an underground market in them. The companies charge what the market will bear, NOT what will generate the most revenue. There is a huge difference.

Drug companies have been found experimenting on Africans without informed consent and without authorization. They have done so because it's a big continent and not one with governments likely to stir things up. They have also done so because the FDA and their equivalents in other countries make it mandatory to do a certain amount of testing prior to human testing. That takes time. Testing unauthorized drugs on a population that is unlikely to complain (if it survives) means that the FDA, et al, can get the paperwork for the testing shortly after animal testing is complete. Less time wasted = longer before the patents expire.

Then, there was the whole heliobacter scandal, when paid lobbyists abused Australian researchers who had shown that the billion dollar antacid market was really worth a tiny tiny fraction of that.

(As people might gather from my posts on this discussion, I really really HATE when paid freaks set science back for the sole benefit of their paymasters.)

Re:On the other hand... (1)

Oloryn (3236) | about 4 years ago | (#33248738)

Agreed. The real issue isn't profit in itself, it's are those pursuing profit willing to allow what they do for profit to be limited by appropriate morals and ethics? The profit motive is good in a context where other influences keep people from crossing moral and ethical lines in the pursuit of profit. Make the profit motive the 'only' good, and it can't help but turn corrupt, as there's nothing to limit what's done for profit. The problem isn't the profit motive itself, it's the lack of belief in sufficient moral and ethical codes with enough authority to keep people from going over the lines.

The ironic thing is that there are two groups that tend to conflate the profit motive and greed, and they're on the opposite ends of the economic political spectrum. The economic far left conflates them because they erroneously see the profit motive as an intrinsic evil, and the economic far right conflates them because they erroneously see the profit motive as an independent and non-overrideable good.

G. K. Chesterton nailed it when he observed that when a moral scheme (he actually said religious scheme) is shattered, the problem isn't only that the vices are let loose, the problem is even more that the virtues are let loose and run around independently, and a virtue separated from the other virtues that balance it wreaks havoc, not good.

Won't someone please think of the Elsevier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246428)

Peer review doesn't require publishing in a journal? Heresy!

My mom is afflicted with Dementia (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 4 years ago | (#33246566)

Alzheimer's disease cannot be diagnosed unless through pathology, but for those with probable cases, this is good news. I'm glad to see this sort of information sharing. Science used to move at the speed of journal publishing schedules. Hopefully this will be influential in bringing science into the 21st century.

Re:My mom is afflicted with Dementia (1)

jd (1658) | about 4 years ago | (#33247100)

You are correct, but MRI scans showing tau protein throttling the living daylights out of brain cells can be done whilst the patient is alive and, if not well, at least breathing.

My father's research into Alzheimer's was interesting. He was able to show that patients with kidney failure suffered a build-up of aluminium in their bodies - including their brains - and that Alzheimer-like symptoms were to be found in such patients. He was also able to show that using desfereoxamine (a treatment for iron toxicity, but aluminium is chemically close enough to iron for this to work) allowed medical staff to leech the aluminium from patients, and that when this was done no further brain damage occurred. Those old enough may vaguely recall him demonstrating this on Tomorrow's World.

In Norway, his papers were received with great enthusiasm. In the US, home of many chemical companies dealing with aluminium, his students were treated roughly - almost violently at times.

The world has gone on a long way since that research. It now seems likely that the aluminium aspect was a related brain disorder but not "classical" Alzheimer's. I welcome the change in attitude which has led to information being shared rather than being abused. I seriously doubt that the academics behind the scandalous treatment are even still around for the most part. But I won't be happy until US academia is willing to accept that science can conflict with sponsorships, that it is not just data that should be open but what conditions were attached to the data being what it is.

Trojanowski (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33246638)

Did the other people on the project really know their data was being shared? .... ;)

Head shaking (1)

NetNed (955141) | about 4 years ago | (#33246810)

Who would have thought a TEAM could accomplish more then the individual. I guess there is no "I" in team, but apparently there are a lot of d-bags in medicine that patent everything and profiteer off poorly treating peoples health.

Once again Open Source rules (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 4 years ago | (#33246846)

That said, one of the problems is that, when submitting research papers, you have to deposit your putative genes and all into the common databases, and some researchers have a nasty habit of kicking out a fast paper based on those newly submitted sequences before yours finishes the 38th draft before being published.

As to diagnosis, we're getting fairly good at that, but as another poster confirmed, we can't ascertain it exactly without taking your brain, which we don't do until you die and are no longer using it. In fact, for the best research, we really need to flash-freeze your brain within two hours of death.

Global Warming (1, Insightful)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about 4 years ago | (#33247032)

It would be interesting if the Global Warming priests would do something like this. Think of the knowledge that could be gained if they weren't so insistent about hiding everything, and making sure nobody can double check their results.

Forget the mother nature arguments... (2, Interesting)

Coppit (2441) | about 4 years ago | (#33247254)

If it's publicly funded, shouldn't the research results be publicly available?

Open Source Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33247664)

Taking a cue from Linux I see!

pandora88004 (0, Offtopic)

pandora88004 (1878232) | about 4 years ago | (#33248340)

rosetta stone rosetta stone [rosettasto...onsale.com] rosetta stone language rosetta stone language [rosettasto...onsale.com] rosetta stone spanish rosetta stone spanish [rosettasto...onsale.com] abercrombie and fitch abercrombie and fitch [afonsale.com] Abercrombie Fitch Abercrombie Fitch [afonsale.com] Abercrombie Clothing Abercrombie Clothing [afonsale.com] pandora pandora [pandoraschmuckladen.de] pandora schmuck pandora schmuck [pandoraschmuckladen.de] pandora armband pandora armband [pandoraschmuckladen.de] tiffany tiffany [tiffanysfree.com] tiffany jewellery tiffany jewellery [tiffanysfree.com] tiffany rings tiffany rings [tiffanysfree.com]

Trojanowski? (1)

loshwomp (468955) | about 4 years ago | (#33249000)

'It was unbelievable,' said Dr. John Q. Trojanowski

Oh right, like I'm going to trust any "free gift" data I get from a guy with a name like that!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>