Republican vision of Open Source Research

from Peter Suber’s blog:

Tommy Thompson, Republican presidential candidate and former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, has announced his science platform: double the budget of the NIH (to $58 billion/year), cure breast cancer in 10 years, and this:

Create an open source research community on the Internet where research can be organized and discussions can be conducted with experts. This online community will be a centralized repository for research where all of the world’s people can contribute their time, money or expertise toward helping with this global fight.

PS: I can’t find anything in his press release or campaign site to explain what he means by this.

PMR: This seems amazing. I am an illiterate in US politics but it’s gratifying to know that Open Source Research has a high-enough profile that it is taken seriously at political level. It’s clear that we should be able to keep pushing politicians on this issue. It’s good for science, good for humanity. If we are going to save the planet we need Open Science as well as cycling to work. People and organizations who hide science and hide data through inertia or private gain are going to have an increasingly difficult position justifying their actions to the community.
We should remember that the US managed the moon-shot and also built the National Cancer Institute to cure cancer. The physical world seems to be easier than the biological world but I am certain of one thing: we shall need all the shared infromation we can get. Publishers, information companies, pharma – think about different ways of doing things. The answer may already be out there.

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3 Responses to Republican vision of Open Source Research

  1. Unfortunately it is hard to tell what this means exactly until it gets implemented. People can have very different ideas of what they mean by Open Science. Still, this is a step in the right direction.

  2. One should also note that Gov. Tommy Thompson is at best a second tier candidate among the Republican candidates. His campaign has garnered very little attention and this announcement will likely remain of little interest and attention in the media.
    Nonetheless, it is interesting that at least one person running for president has mentioned “open science”. Perhaps, someone should create a You-Tube question on this topic to be asked to the republican candidates in their up[coming You Tube debate?

  3. Bill says:

    Not to be the perennial wet blanket, but
    1. never trust a Republican.
    2. the last time the NIH budget was doubled in one year it badly damaged US science. The problem was that researchers and administrators acted according to the First Rule of Gummint Money: spend it now, lest it be taken away tomorrow. Every available warm body was thrust into a full professorship, from grad students to gardeners. Not only was this a counterproductive influx of second-raters but it led to an unsustainable demand for even more funds to fill all those new labs with equipment and hands. This in turn has grown into the kind of cut-throat competition which is eating away at the efficiency and integrity of the scientific endeavour. Another round of such bloating is the last thing science needs, but politicians are more likely to throw a one-off lump of money at something than to make a long-term commitment to steady improvement.
    3. never trust a Republican.
    4. never trust a Republican.
    5. etc.

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