Monday, November 28, 2005

What if...

The human genome sequence is freely downloadable from Genbank and the European Bioinformatics Institute - thanks to the efforts of early open access pioneers.

What is this had not been the case?

Imagine that various different learned societies each ended up with the rights to a chunk of chromosome, and sold access rights to the DNA sequence in order to fund their charitable activities.

One can only imagine the furore that would have blown up if it had then been proposed to open up access to the DNA sequences.

Instead of an open access environment which allows all of humankind to put all of our greatest assets - the 6 billion or so human minds on the planet - into advancing medical knowledge, we could have had dollars for a few, comfortable conferences and lectures for the wealthy, and exclusion for everyone else.

Thanks to my anonymous friend and co-writer.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

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