In my opinion, there are primarily two scientific cultures in the world.
The first is locking down intellectual progress with patents and paywalled journals in economically developed countries.
The second culture is represented by economically developing countries. In these societies silos of knowledge are rarer, in part, because the countries may have limited resources to institute the in-depth intellectual property legal systems. Further, researchers and students in these societies may even be cut out from journals due to a lack of funding, so their current understanding of scientific progress may not be as current as in the other culture, creating a knowledge divide.
With two separate knowledge systems which are even in conflict, is there a system that can engage both cultures into a unified global scientific community?
From my position, a unified system should further the dissemination of knowledge around the world and even serve as an economic development engine to the economically developing countries.
A promise of “Open Science” could be such a unification.
This is not to say the silo system in the economically developed countries needs to go away. Rather, there is room for a hybrid model — one with open sourced intellectual properties that do not make it into markets in economically developed countries.
There is approximately $4 trillion worth of orphan intellectual properties (IP) sitting dormant (Hovis, April 2014). Some because there was not enough funding to continue its prosecution. Some is orphan because there was not a licensee qualified to pursue the IP. And of course the IP may not have been seen as important or valuable to the market and is not maintained.
However, one person’s trash can be another’s treasure.
When orphan IP is opened and provides the opportunity for interdisciplinary interaction, unique applications and research may be evolve that was never envisioned by the inventor(s).
By bringing the scientific community together around orphan IP, research could be moved forward in a collaborative way, while stimulating economic development.
What are your thoughts?