Copyrighting science

In Copyright, Health industry on September 17, 2010 by Hanna

I feel strongly that because science is about knowledge and knowledge sharing leads to better outcomes as well as some idealistic notion that truth should be available to all (haha what a minefield) then paying for journal articles from publishers is quite wrong on many levels. This BMJ article ‘Why are we copyrighting science?‘ (BMJ 2010; 341:c4738 doi: 10.1136/bmj.c4738 (Published 16 September 2010)) says open access is a good example of where the rest of medicine can go. The authors lament the lack of freely available rating scales “Rating scales are an integral part of research in psychiatry. Most psychiatry diagnoses do not have external validating criteria, so scales help in structured gathering of information and in use of standard criteria for diagnosis.” Unfortunately even when the original is no longer copyrighted the newer additions become so ‘evergreening’ like drug patent extensions. This has been bleeding into genetics, something ultimately ridiculous as we wander around, living containers of the stuff, should be be paying fees for breathing? “Intellectual property rights in the form of copyright of scientific publications and patents of drugs and genetic material restrict access to vital scientific knowledge.” Quite so.

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