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Monday, March 06, 2006

Open source science and commercial interests

It is always fascinating to observe self-organizing systems evolve. This happening now in open source science. Consider this example.

ChemRefer is a company that searches the literature to answer chemical questions for free, making money through advertising. They are subscribed to our UsefulChem blog, where I posted about a request made in the SynapticLeap for an improved synthesis of a drug for a tropical disease.

It turns out that ChemRefer finds a thesis with an alternative synthesis and contributes that without being asked.

I don't know if ChemRefer's model will be successful but, as those with similar motives try, the wheels of science move a little bit forward.

I talked a bit more about this in my Peer Review in the Google Age presentation.

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