Saturday, June 18, 2011


Universities and scientific institutions worldwide produce an avalanche of remarkable discoveries, insights and advances. However, their capacity to share this knowledge widely with the community, government and industry rarely matches their research skills. Their investment in communicating science is often only a fraction of their investment in discovery. Many invest 100 or even 1000 times more in R&D than they do in transmitting its results and ensuring these are well-adapted to society’s needs.

Some people justify this imbalance with the argument that they are research institutions, not communication or technology transfer institutions. In their eyes, their primary role is to discover, rather than to share. Where they do share, it is generally through the scientific literature and their educational activity, although this reaches only a tiny part of the populace. For the most part, scientific institutions are reluctant to invest resources in disseminating the fruits of science, either because they do not know how to or because they regard this as ‘a waste of money’, or because, bluntly, they cannot be bothered.

Because the public usually funds the science, these excuses are not acceptable. The withholding of knowledge generated with public funds is a form of theft from the people who paid for it, and it is time this moral issue was more widely acknowledged as a prelude to building a more open science.

Open Science, is about practical, basic and low-cost ways to share knowledge. It is about developing the awareness of scientific organizations about ways to deliver knowledge more effectively to the society they serve.

Open Science contends that we should be putting as much money, effort and creativity into communicating science as we do into discovery. We should regard those with the skills and abilities to transmit knowledge to where it is most needed as being of equal professional value with those who discover it, as it requires both for science to achieve its full value.

Source of Information : CSIRO-Open Science Sharing Knowledge in the Global Century 2010

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