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<nettime> OSS and the Natural Sciences
Soenke Zehle on Sat, 16 Aug 2003 12:24:44 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> OSS and the Natural Sciences

Felix' analysis might be (mis)read as suggesting that OSS needs to spread
beyond a single realm of origination, but a different way of looking at it
would be to trace where OSS once already existed but, for whatever reason,
(temporarily) disappeared, and reconnect (to) some of these multiple
points of emergence since the OSS 'commons-based peer production model'
appears to have multiple ancestors - too much emphasis on its apparent
'newness' might be misleading and obscure these alternative genealogies.

Until fairly recently, for example, many (natural) scientists used to be
OSS advocates/users[1]. Now, the aggressive spread of IPR is provoking
more and more coordinated responses in the area of OSS and the
reconstruction of (limited) scientific commons, often with explicit
reference to OSS/free software models and an emphasis on the parallels
between OSS and the traditional sharing ethos of the natural sciences [2,
also 3].

I am saying this as a media-theoretical newbie, of course, who has only
followed OSS stuff for a very short period and is probably talking about
stuff you already know. But it's something that struck me immediately:
contrary to the clichè of corporate science (so dear to many in the
humanities), many natural scientists are powerful allies in the struggle
against proprietarization.


[1] Orcero, David Santo. "The Crisis of Free Scientific Software." Free
Software/Open Source: Toward Maturity. Special Issue of CEPIS Upgrade 2.6
(Dec 2001). 57-9.

[2] Reichman, J.H., and Paul F. Uhlir. "A Contractually Reconstructed
Research Commons for Scientific Data in a Highly Protectionist
Intellectual Property Environment." Law and Contemporary Problems 66.3
(Winter/Spring 2003). 315-463.

[3] <http://cnx.rice.edu/licensing-workshop.html>

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