In:  Other  

Reflections of my trip to Shanghai – huge potential for OA

StephGWwborderI wrote this post on the plane back from my trip to Shanghai after a multiple day delay that (looking on the bright side) allowed me to see some of the sights courtesy of Hainan Airways!

I was invited to speak at the 3rd International Academic Publishing Forum on August 19th. Organized by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University press, the event brought together nearly 60 Chinese University Presses and representatives from some Western academic publishers – Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, Sage, Brill and ScienceOpen –to discuss what we can learn from one another.

My most powerful impression was the high value China places on knowledge. Mr. Shulin Wu, Vice-Chairman of the Publishers Association of China said in his in his keynote speech that the government regards “knowledge production to be as important as mining or oil”. And China is set to surpass both the US and the EU in spending on research and development by 2020. Communicating this knowledge, therefore, also has a high priority and falls mainly to the university presses. Their main short-term goals expressed over the two days were internationalization and digitalization of their content, with language seen as the main hurdle. Certainly all had a plan for going global.

But some publishers, including myself, were already thinking beyond internationalization and digitalization to the next step in academic publishing. Jason Wu hit the nail on the head by describing Wiley’s process of transformation “from publishing business to global provider of knowledge and learning services.” Solutions for researchers must be digital, global, mobile, interdisciplinary (Bryan Davies of Elsevier quoted a study that found 44% of researchers look for information outside of their own field). And Open Access is a good place to start.

The Open Access business model for journal publishing is perfect for Chinese publishers who have until now been dependent on cooperation with Western publishers to get their authors heard. Chinese scientists who do world-class research can publish in “world-class” journals such as Science or Nature, but publishers here were asking the hard question of themselves – why are so few of those world-class journals published in China? While Open Access cannot itself address the problem of reputation, it can insure that research can be read immediately and globally, without a team of sales representatives on every continent. As essentially non-profit entities with a mission to communicate China’s research successes to the world they are uniquely situated. With access to so much outstanding research, I sincerely hope that Chinese publishers will embrace this opportunity.

Taking the Shanghai subway I can attest that young Chinese are constantly networking on their mobile devices. A scientific networking and research platform like ScienceOpen in China would have a good chance to catch the imagination of young scientists. But time will tell how open this generation will be allowed to be. During my stay the Chinese government shut down up to 50 online news websites and nearly 400 Weibo and WeChat accounts for spreading “rumours” of the recent chemical explosion which took 129 lives. Twitter, Facebook, Google and many other sites were blocked during my visit, which left me feeling rather cut off from the rest of the world.

It was a crazy week – from the crowds and flashing neon of Shanghai to the peaceful magnificence of the Great Wall. I came away with a sense of the huge potential in China and the feeling that China needs Open Access and the Open Access movement needs China.

In:  Announcements  

Invitation to Shanghai and the growth of Chinese OA

Image credit: Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai, bfick, Flickr, CC BY
Image credit: Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai, bfick, Flickr, CC BY

Here’s some interesting news, Stephanie (our CEO) is in Shanghai, China. She went at the invitation of Shing Jiao Tong University Press in their organizing role for the Third International Academic Publishing Forum on August 19th, held during the Shanghai Book Fair (Aug. 19-25).

All I can say is lucky her! It’s a huge privilege and honor to attend such an event in such a historic city.

The forum is hosted by the Association of Chinese University Presses, Shanghai Press & Publication Administration, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Trends of International Academic and Professional Publishing;
  • Strengthening Co-operation between Chinese and International Publishers;
  • New Governmental Support for “China Book International” Program;
  • Identifying Needs of Chinese Academic Community and Libraries

Those participating in the discussions include state administration officials, leaders from major Chinese publishing houses, libraries and top scholars. International publishers including Nature, Cambridge University Press, Sage and Routledge have also been invited.

Stephanie will be presenting a paper she wrote (hopefully to be published in the Journal of Chinese Editors) on rethinking scientific publishing in an era when “Sharing rather than ownership is the new normal for the upcoming generation of open researchers“.

It’s encouraging to observe the support for Open Access in China expressed in the Nature/Palgrave Macmillan Annual Author Insights Survey which had responses from 22,000 authors:

  • Chinese authors are much more likely to receive support to publish their research via open access (OA) than their global colleagues and an increasing proportion are choosing to do so exclusively.
  • 92% of Chinese researchers who took part had sufficient funds to publish their research in OA journals, substantially higher than the global average 68% of researchers from the rest of the world.
  • 20% of Chinese authors report having published exclusively in OA journals in the last 3 years.

There’s also plenty of reading for Stephanie to do during her trip! There‘s a piece on China on the Global Open Access Portal and another from BMC entitled “A window on Open Access publishing in China“. Finally, this paper Development of open access in China: strategies, practices, challenges in the journal Insights by Xialon Zhang from the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences

We can’t wait to hear all about her visit either during it (if that’s technically possible) or afterwards.

In:  Announcements  

United here – open and toll access research

Image credit: Hugs are healing by Ganesha.isis, Flickr, CC BY

We couldn’t resist using this photo to illustrate the news that we have just added the openly available content (which can be quite basic) from 2.5 million toll access articles to ScienceOpen. This number will rise over the next few days until we have a total of approx. 10 million articles on the platform.

The finger on the left represents the 1.6 million Open Access (OA) articles which were on the platform yesterday. It can be seen warmly embracing the skeptical subscription finger on the right!

For those of you who are wondering how we did this, we traced the references of the OA articles we already hosted back to their roots and added their title and author information plus the abstract if available. If you are contemplating how these two unlikely bedfellows are going to get along and why we would bother trying to force this relationship, let us explain.

The current situation is that despite huge efforts by publishers such as PLOS, BMC and many who have come after them, the percentage of Gold OA content is below 15% of the total published in a year. The reality of life as a researcher is that they need keep up with the latest work regardless of whether it is openly communicated or not. In the interests of utility, we wanted to unite the universe of research in one place, even if, sadly, it is not all yet fully available to read, re-use and mine.

Tracking the references of OA articles showed us which articles have been cited and how often, without needing to purchase access to expensive and proprietary databases! For each article, we are now able to show how many articles elsewhere refer to it. Moreover we can track real time social media coverage (Twitter, Google+, Mendeley and others). By searching ScienceOpen, users can now quickly find articles with the most citations or article impact in any discipline. A click on the number of citations shows all the citing articles and their own citations, and so on. We also provide all openly available author information.

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Professor Dr Alexander Grossmann, President, ScienceOpen Berlin – Boston

Here’s what co-founder Alexander Grossmann said about this latest release:

When I first thought about the concept of ScienceOpen about 3 years ago, I had this exact vision in mind. It is terrific to see it come to life now and I hope that researchers will find it useful in their daily lives. As research steadily becomes more open, I believe that the significance of what we have built will become clearer.

This next iteration of ScienceOpen brings us closer to the goal of unlocking the true promise of knowledge in the following ways:

1. By juxtaposing open and closed content (and having previously added user tools such as the ability to curate article Collections), we hope to remind researchers how much value is lost when they choose to publish in a toll environment. Community Editors can combine any selection of articles together in a Collection but their audience can only read those that are open.

2. By providing Collections as an alternative to journals from large publishers with their associated Impact Factors, we hope to catalyze the change initiated by DORA and realign the balance of power towards the researcher.

3. By believing that the future of scholarly communication lies beyond the journal, even beyond the article and that research will gradually become more open, we hope to be one of the first sites that is positioned to encourage the adoption of text mining and other tools that help explore connections between the literature.

4. By adding metrics to every article, and allowing users to sort and filter content based on them (or other criteria that they pick), the different usage patterns of OA content will become more apparent and the benefits of picking it will be clearer.

These features are the first of many in what we hope will be an iterative process of improvements in response to user feedback. Please do tell us what you think via Twitter, Facebook or by commenting on this post.

 

 

 

In:  Announcements  

“10 to watch” from annual OA report includes ScienceOpen!

Outsell
Image credit: the cover of Open Access 2015: Market Size, Share, Forecast, and Trends, by Outsell Inc.

In the field of publishing and open access, there’s a surplus of excellent reports to read and digest. One that I make time to read each year is from Outsell Inc and is entitled “Open Access: Market Size, Share, Forecast, and Trends”. You can find their 2015 report here.

It goes without saying that we were delighted to be featured in the “10 to watch” section of the report and the final paragraph of their write up was particularly pleasing:

ScienceOpen [It] is a creative and simple structure with impressive editorial and advisory boards, but marketing has been minimal, unlike with other OA-related publications or publishers. With increased press exposure and marketing by means other than social media, SO can be a top-tier publication.

Outsell’s inclusion criteria for this section are as follows: “We expect the actions of the following 10 companies and organizations, some already active participants and some emerging as a result of open access, to have an impact on the market going forward”.

Figure 1 of the report is also well worth examining since it shows that the early heady days of growth in OA revenue have disappeared to be replaced by a steadier rate of 15%. To set this performance in context, it’s worth knowing that the STM market generated $26.2 billion and the journals market $6.8 billion last year!

Image credit: Open Access: Market Size, Share, Forecast, and Trends

Here’s what Liz Allen, our VP of Marketing said about the analyst’s observations:

To be included in this top 10 list after just over a year in operation and with a small marketing budget is very gratifying. It really does demonstrate the power of social media to reach into certain communities but these are largely ones that have an inherent interest in all matters “open” and are responsive to our approach. The next step is to reach beyond this group and continue to show the benefits of a democratic approach to knowledge sharing and conversely to illustrate what is not possible when knowledge is closed.

And the good news will continue – watch this space for further announcements coming soon!

In:  Announcements  

We vote no Grexit from the research conversation! Greek authors publish free

No Grexit

In a gesture of solidarity with the Greek research community, we’re announcing that authors funded by Greek Research Institutions can publish free on ScienceOpen until the end of 2015.

If we could wave a magic wand and eliminate the debt too, we would do so, but since that’s beyond our control, we are pleased to do what we can to assist.

These unprecedented financial constraints have also caused Greek researchers to lose access to newly published research. This is because the Hellenic Academic Libraries Link (HEAL-Link) has terminated all licenses after being unable to collect the remaining half of the subscription budget for the current year. Although not a like-for-like replacement, ScienceOpen offers a valuable Open Access aggregation service with over 1.5 million articles that are freely available for everyone to use. We urge the Greek community to make full use of it now and in the future.

For Greek (and all) researchers who wish to have their voices heard in the international research community, we provide opportunities for those with five or more peer-reviewed publications on their ORCID to participate in Post-Publication Peer Review (PPPR) and share their expertise with the world.

For Earlier Career Researchers (ECR) in Greece, stymied by the lack of jobs and mobility, we pledge to make a special effort to highlight any articles published on our platform through social media and blog posts to elevate their visibility within the global community. You may find some more thoughts about ScienceOpen, Open Access, and PPPR for ECR in our blog roll here.

We hope that this offer goes some small way to demonstrating to the Greek research community that they are not alone and that our offices in Berlin, Boston and San Francisco stand in unity with them. We welcome other publishers to join this initiative.

Alexander Grossmann
President
ScienceOpen

Image Credits: Alexander Grossmann (CC-BY 4.0)

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the Summer of Love (for Posters) – vote for your favorite!

Haight – Ashbury by Doug Wertman, Flickr, CC-BY

What’s not to love about this quintessentially San Francisco photo? As some of you know, ScienceOpen has offices in Berlin, Boston and San Francisco.

It has a “rainbow” feel, appropriate for the recent US legal ruling on marriage equality. Ben and Jerry’s carries a brand of ice-cream named Cherry Garcia after the late Jerry, lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead, founded in 1965 in California. And of course, the corner of Haight and Ashbury is the epicenter of the Summer of Love, a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on this neighborhood in San Francisco. All these facts I have learned since living here and becoming a citizen (required knowledge to pass the test!).

For all you Earlier Career Researchers (and those who mentor them) who are currently on Summer Break but are almost certainly still working and have published a poster with us, here’s an opportunity to activate your social media networks and win yourself a $150 Amazon Gift Card!

Here’s how this competition works:

  • Make sure that you have published a poster with us.  Any name on the author list counts
  • Promote your poster on social media, ask your network to vote for your poster by giving it a +1
  • If you are active on Twitter, remember to include @Science_Open in your tweet
  • The poster with the most recommendations wins and each author receives a $150 Amazon giftcard

This competition will remain open from 11am PST July 6th until 11am PST August 31st and the winner will be announced on September 1st 2015.

For those of you who are new to the concept of digital posters, you can find out more here. At ScienceOpen we publish them for FREE – your entry receives a DOI so that it can be found and cited plus it lives on long after the conference is over.

Sounds like a sweet summer offer to us!

 

In:  Collections  

New Global Health Article Collection from GHNGN now published – #review4GH!

ScienceOpen, the research and Open Access publishing network are delighted to announce that, together with partners The Global Health Next Generation Network (GHNGN) – a multidisciplinary group that strengthens the voice of students and young professionals in this field and encourages them to share scientific knowledge, today we have published a new Global Health article collection.

The objective of this Collection, is to encourage discussion on different topics in this field such as female genital mutilation, primary care in developing states and Epidemiology in Latin America and the Carribean.  We want to encourage the global health community to start an interactive conversation around this original and previously published research by participating in Post-Publication Peer Review (PPPR) which is a key part of the ScienceOpen service. Here’s a short video that explains how.

We have a meme and hashtags “#review4GH” and “#ScienceOpen4GH” to encourage others to participate in the online dialogue. The topics covered are complex and difficult but as a group that represents the future leaders of tomorrow’s global health world, the GHNGN are using social media to encourage their membership and beyond, to take part.

reviewit

The publication of this Collection is timely given their imminent 2nd International Conference in Barcelona on June 25th. They will be sharing their experiences of working with ScienceOpen on this Collection with those attending and encouraging them to add their articles to it so the Collection continues to live and grow. gh

The reason that they chose to forge a closer relationship with ScienceOpen is because of our active support of Earlier Career Researchers and the fact that we conveniently combine 3 services on one platform namely:

  1. Gold Open Access (OA) publishing – articles that are freely available to read and re-use
  2. Non-Anonymous Post-Publication Peer Review – for the most transparent feedback
  3. OA content aggregation – making it easier to browse and re-use the literature, regardless of publisher

For further information on this Collection please email Joceline Kranenburg, Partnership coordinator, GHNGN.

The catalyst for open clinical trials is the patient – Interview with Dr. Anula Jayasuriya

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Every year in May, I attend the Charité Entrepreneurship Summit, a unique event for international medical entrepreneurs and life science innovators organized by the Charité Foundation in Berlin. This ‘think-tank’ meeting connects sparkling ideas with pragmatic reality and facilitates a ‘one-of-a-kind’ scene for ‘let’s innovate and implement’ biomedical professionals and entrepreneurs from all over the world. This year, I had a special opportunity to meet and conduct an interview with Dr. Anula Jayasuriya, a wonderful personality and a talented scientist, physician, and investor. While contacting and talking with Anula Jayasuriya, I realized that she represents an amazing role model for every young scientist-entrepreneur. Here is some of food for thought from our conversation on entrepreneurship in medical sciences and open science.

Q1: The NIH has been one of the biggest forces behind the push towards increasing access to scientific information, but we are just at the beginning of the open science movement – open data being the next big hurdle. Do you see potential for an impact on the US health care system?

AJ: I think the NIH initiatives are very exciting, and open data will make a huge difference in the whole US health care system – but it will take time. At the end of the day, the NIH doesn’t make drugs, right? So we have to contend with industry. I wonder how it’s going to play out for pharma and biotech? Their business model is centered on protecting their innovations with IP and making money from products during the exclusivity period.

The moral imperative to share drug development data is that such information would greatly benefit patients and society. Let’s speculate that three big pharma companies working on development of the same category of drugs in their pipelines would be willing to share their failure results. This would be very important in preventing adverse reactions and health-related complications in patients. Perhaps these companies could form an industry consortium where every company was required to share their drug development failure data. There are many hurdles to be overcome before this can be a reality. For example, the first to fail is likely to benefit others but not itself. Money saved by averting future failures maybe eclipsed by lost revenues and compromised IP,  etc. Pharma has to see an economic incentive to share data. Perhaps there could be an attractive market for acquiring failure information? In any case, there would need to be a dramatic transformation and innovation around the existing IP-based “winner-take-all” industry business model.

Pharma has to see an economic incentive to share data

Q2: Do you believe that patient access to the clinical trial data and mandated data sharing will create a climate that could accelerate drug development and translational science research?

AJ: I believe that the biggest motivator and catalyst in this process of sharing clinical trial information will be the patient. We are entering a very exciting era of patient engagement. Going forward, I see patients playing active roles in clinical trials. As patient participation is essential to clinical drug development patients have the power to make the change. The passive patient is likely to become a memory of the past. Already today there is a US Government funded institute called PCORI (Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute) that is making grants to investigators who engage patients in clinical trial design. I see patients challenging Pharma, Biotech and Regulators to adapt to a world where patients are active decision makers alongside industry and regulators. The FDA today is caught in the middle of a rapidly transforming ethos. All stakeholders will need to adapt to a new equilibrium. Let me give you some examples. In 1993, I was working for Roche pharmaceuticals. This was during the early days of the HIV outbreak where there was an urgent need to develop new drugs to fight the devastating epidemic. Patient advocacy groups had a huge impact on getting pharma companies to work together and also influenced the FDA to act quickly and really make a difference (read more about Act Up). I saw first-hand how powerful the cooperative approach was. By the way, physicians were very pleased to see collaborations, which led to effective treatment and greatly benefited patients. But that was one narrow case in the past.

Today, I see changes taking place across several diseases, especially in fighting cancer and rare diseases. Patients, together with their families, are building tight communities to share and disseminate knowledge about their diseases. In the USA, there is a popular movement called “hacking your body”. This is a different kind of open innovation – the innovations are ones that have been “opened”/discovered by patients. The drive is coming from patients and their families. Now, patients are playing active roles, often going around regulatory barriers and industry specifications and advocating for themselves.  As a physician, I am immensely pleased to see engaged patients. There are likely to be some hiccups and missteps along the way but I think that in the long run it will lead to accelerated drug development and, most importantly, better patient outcomes.

I believe that the biggest motivator and catalyst in this process of sharing clinical trial information will be the patient… This is a different kind of open innovation – the innovations are ones that have been “opened”/discovered by patients.

In the US, patients are entitled to free access to their medical records. If patients who participated in clinical trials were also entitled to access to their clinical trial records and were able to communicate with co-participants in the same trial I think they could “hack” the trial, by comparing adverse events and outcomes. And they are likely to share these aggregated data openly even if industry does not. I see patients, their families and society as the key actors in improving their health care.

There are two important ways to improve and accelerate drug development: understanding the science behind drug failures, and developing a process of sharing information openly within trial participant and disease the communities through the internet.

It is very encouraging that the NCI (the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the US National Institutes of Health) has successfully mediated a unique public-private partnership called the lung map trial, a multi-pharma collaboration in lung cancer. Five pharmaceutical companies (Amgen, Genentech, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and AstraZeneca’s global biologics R&D arm, MedImmune) and Foundation Medicine (a cancer tumor genome analytics company) will collaborate to provide the treatment that is best suited to the individual patient – delivering personalized care.  Patients need to enroll only in a single trial to access drugs developed by five different pharma companies. This is a groundbreaking development – real progress.

In addition, there are many digital health start-up companies whose business models are based on selling anonymized clinical trial data. (Of course, there are several ethical, privacy and compliance considerations to be addressed, but let’s just put them aside for now.) The promise of “Big Data Analytics” as it applies to health care is that the aggregation of these data will lead to better outcome for patients. I am optimistic!

There are two important ways to improve and accelerate drug development: understanding the science behind drug failures, and developing a process of sharing information openly within trial participant and disease the communities through the internet.

(Read more here: Big data analytics in healthcare: promise and potential; Making Big Data Work: The Promise and Potential to …)

Q3: Do you think that big data, open science, and a worldwide network could in the future precisely tailor therapies to each patient’s individual requirement?

AJ: Precision medicine is the holy grail of health care. Tailoring cancer therapies makes a big difference in treatment outcomes today – cancer is the “low hanging fruit” due to easy access to the genomic analyses of tumors. Ultimately, delivering precision medicine relies on aggregating and analyzing data on a large number of areas: genomics, metabolomics, RNA, proteomics, behavior, environmental exposures, social and cultural milieus, etc. – this is a VERY big data play. I think the delivery of precision medicine will happen incrementally, in stages – with ever increasing degrees of precision as our understanding of the various contributing areas increase. Open science and data sharing are essential to generating the best data inputs from a multitude of sources to create a big data repository that serves as the basis for analytics.

Open innovation enables us to create products from a platform (repository) of information, which is freely available to everybody. For instance, having unrestricted access to scientific literature enables a company to develop their own algorithms for novel prognostic and diagnostic genomic screens – they could, for example, figure out which patients are sensitive/resistant to various drugs. Algorithms “learn” — the more patient data tested, the more an algorithm is refined and hence clinically informative. If, however, a company develops a screening or diagnostic test and patents it, thus excluding its use by others, it is no longer “open”.

The case of Myriad Genetics Inc. is interesting. They recently lost a lawsuit contesting the exclusivity of their BRCA test for breast cancer. The company used patient sequence information to develop and patent their screening test. Myriad claimed that they had exclusive rights to patients’ sequence information and to the test they derived from it. For several years Myriad was able to build a very profitable business by excluding others from duplicating their test, even though the actual sequence information the company used belonged to patients (http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/36076/title/Gene-Patents-Decision–Everybody-Wins/). Myriad’s claims were overturned and patent law is the US changed such that naturally occurring sequences can no longer be patented. I am in favor of this outcome as it greatly benefits patients who can now access BRACA tests from several companies at a much lower price.

I am excited about the concept of open innovation because it is a major step toward improving patient care. That being said, in a capitalist society, this has to be tempered by providing sufficient incentives to industry (on whom we are dependent unless we innovate a new model) to produce drugs, diagnostics, etc. I am confident that the “new normal” will result in better health care for society and the ability of industry to adapt and innovate novel and more productive business models.

I thank Dr. Anula Jayasuriya for the fascinating insights into the world of drug discovery and the role open innovation can play.

In:  Other  

How to turn an idea into reality? An interview with Dr. Raphael Hofstein, President and CEO of MaRS Innovation

Raphael crop 6073

Across the street from the venerable University of Toronto, at the intersection of College Street and Elizabeth Street in downtown Toronto, you will find the heart of Toronto’s commercialization activity across the sciences: MaRS Innovation.

If you share the values of Marc Andreessen, the American entrepreneur, investor and software developer who revolutionized a very small part of San Francisco to become the world famous Silicon Valley, you will appreciate learning about the contemporary Canadian version of biomedical Silicon Valley. MaRS Innovation was founded in 2008 and began operations in 2009 to turn Toronto’s leading research and sciences into successful start-up companies and license deals.

I really love this part of Toronto. I used to tackle my research on zebrafish heart development on the 11th floor of the MaRS building’s East Tower (MaRS Innovation’s offices occupy part of the 4th floor on the West Tower). So, I am no stranger to Toronto’s life sciences scene. But the story of how MaRS Innovation landed in Toronto and found its home is worth sharing.

Prior to the 8th Charité Entrepreneurship summit in Berlin, Germany, I spoke to Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation about his vision for open access and open innovation models. Here is what he had to say.

Q1: What is MaRS Innovation: an innovation hub, a medical and health care technology accelerator/incubator or all of that together?

RH: We are the outcome of the Government of Canada’s fairly tenacious campaign to close the gap between Canada’s highly-qualified scientific research and its commercialization success. So, we really try to help start-ups bridge the “valley of death” and we do that in a very distinct way. Particularly, every new exciting research idea coming out of the 15 institutions in and around the Toronto area is disclosed to MaRS Innovation. As the agency of these 15 member institutions, we have to select the ideas with the best chances of successful commercialization in the shortest possible time. That is essentially what MaRS Innovation is: a research and innovation pipeline.

Every year, scientific organizations disclose between two and 15 intended projects; we select approximately 15 per cent of what we see. Since 2009, we have seen about 1500 ideas, which we successfully converted under our management into over 100 technologies. Some of them turned into start-up companies, or options/licenses to a third-party or private sector entity. Other inventions are blended or packaged together and to be more appealing to the market.

Untitled

Source: MaRS Innovation One Pager May 2015

Q2: How do you see a role of open access and open innovation processes in life sciences?

RH: To highlight open innovation models in life sciences, I would like to emphasize that there are different understandings of this process. So, I need to specify an invisible margin where life sciences research should be open, and where interaction with business should not be transparent. Personally, I am for open access and open data sharing, which should benefit scientists, medical doctors, and entrepreneurs, especially at the initial stage of discovery. Later on, the research becomes industry-driven and requires a proper investment from the private sector, including big pharma and life sciences industry. Let me give you one most recent example.

Due to a successful partnership with Quebec-based Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM), MaRS Innovation founded a company named Encycle Therapeutics, a University of Toronto biotechnology start-up. Interestingly, being a start-up venture, Encycle has two sub-divisions. One addresses the basic essence of all CQDM activities and represents an open innovation part; using the chemistry of peptides to develop an approach to synthesizing small, drug-like macrocycles. Encycle is creating a library of cyclic peptides, called nacellins, which are small macrocycles or cyclic peptidomimetics. This library is completely open and freely available to every pharma outlet who is interested in testing or developing orally bioavailable modulators of proteins, including small-cell permeable systems. That approach fits well positioned into a concept of open access. The other Encycle subdivision is commercially focused and working with industry partners to create proprietary technologies.

Another example is the adoption of embryonic stem cell lines for medical repair. Such cell lines should serve as a foundation for the further development of cell-based technologies and the public should have free access to it. As soon as it concerns further derivation and differentiation of stem cell lines for specific medical indications, it becomes part of proprietary ownership to the developer/investor since it requires a substantial investment into research and development. That part should be closed for public use.

As we can see, a major issue of open innovation remains on where we have to draw a borderline between the public and private use. In terms of the drug discovery process, I believe it could be at phase 1 stage of clinical development.

In Toronto, we have a very strong advocate of open access and open innovation, Dr. Aled Edwards. Aled Edwards leads the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), a private-public open collaborative network of researchers from the University of Toronto, the University of Oxford, UK and the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) in Brazil working together with nine global pharmaceutical companies and several research funding agencies. This is a unique, first open science international institution that offers completely free access and use of research results focused on unrestricted drug discoveries. I think it is a great example of open innovation in practice. However, in later stages, clinical development requires appropriate investments and, in reality, cannot be supported through open access. Therefore, I see managing this process as the technologies develop as quite challenging in its practical realities.

Q3: Do you think that big data, open science, and a worldwide network could in the future precisely tailor therapies to each patient’s individual requirements?

RH: I am a big proponent of big data. I think an open innovation model in big data science may play a greater role. At MaRS Innovation, we engage with IBM and several venture capital groups working on harnessing big data for medical purposes. Also, pharma companies expressed strong interest in having access to medical records which represent a high-value ‘big data treasure’ within our member institutions. However up to now, it has not been easy to fulfil our dreams of turning big data into a big practical opportunity. It is obviously a work in progress! Finally, it is my expectation that mining through big data collections of patient medical records (contingent on strict patient privacy!) will significantly accelerate the development of precision medicine (aka personal medicine). The global medical community should be prepared to address the trend.

In:  Collections  

Update for the growing number of Collection Editors – spiffy new features!

before
Before and after, Jennifer Donley, Flickr, CC-BY

At ScienceOpen, we’re pretty pleased with how Collections, which uniquely feature articles from multiple OA publishers chosen by a researcher based on their interests, are shaping up.

We have published eight so far and many more are in the works. Thanks to all of you who took the plunge and got involved. Leading by example is so important if we are to bring real and lasting change to scientific communication.

Here are a few enhancements to make life as a Collection Editor that bit easier. Naturally you can still use our search engine (powered by elastic, not literally!) of over 1.5 million OA articles to find relevant content and add it to the Collection. Although now the process of selecting what goes into your Collection has been improved by the addition of Altmetrics to all articles. In terms of giving you more control, we’ve also introduced a drag and drop feature so that you can arrange your article choices in whatever order you like.

In terms of the more fun parts of being a Collection Editor, you can still visually customize the look and feel of your Collection and publish an accompanying Editorial with DOI (free) to explain why you published it and what behaviors you hope to encourage by demonstrating change to your peers. For those of you who go to the lengths of adding comments to each article with a note of the reasons why you chose it, we’ve rewarded that effort by making the comments immediately visible on your Collection page and others can reply to you right there too.

Co-founder Alexander Grossmann’s Collection, entitled “Perspectives in Scholarly Publishing” (partially shown below), showcases these spiffy new features really well. As does the International Union of Crystallography Collection which also has some rockin Altmetrics!

AGC

And as a final touch to the all important effort:reward factor (a little ego boost if you will, when things go right anyways!), your Collection Statistics are also visible. Alex is doing quite nicely on this front!

AGCC

Although we’re delighted at the number of Collection Editors who have stepped up, we welcome more. If you want to join us, then please review this page and send us an email.

As ever, a shout-out to our Boston based dev team for helping Collections to flourish.