"Solving the Problem of Problem Solving": How Open Access will Shift the Demographics of Innovation to Create a More Fair Society and More Resilient Global Economy.
Scholars and scientists often fancifully envision themselves as the lynchpin of modern science-enabled innovation, and their published works as the inspiration for social and economic progress. But the vast majority of effort to create and deliver products and services lies in neither the science, nor the research scholarship. Rather it is the navigation of the complex ecosystem of skills, capabilities, capital, legal and business knowledge that comprise the innovation system.
And yet open access to the right kind of knowledge is the key to making this system work more fairly, more efficiently and more inclusively.
The global patent system constitutes the largest non-copyrighted body of technical knowledge in history, comprising many tens of millions of detailed documents in many languages. Virtually every process or product that creates, or is hoped to create economic value is described in this massive literature. Unfortunately, these very documents are couched in byzantine, almost ecclesiastical language, requiring an expensive 'clergy' to interpret. And of course, they can confer legal rights to exclude others from practicing what they preach. Patents and other intellectual property rights thus present both real, potential and perceived constraints to innovation and investment that must be understood and accommodated to progress efficiently.
I will describe our work towards promoting a new meme of 'Innovation Cartography', and the creation of an open global cyberinfrastructure - The Lens - that merges worldwide patent knowledge with scholarly, business and legal knowledge, and most importantly, users' knowledge. This facility will allow more and different people and institutions to aggregate and expose knowledge, make better quality decisions, reduce the risks and improve the engagement in problem solving informed by science and technology. Finally, this facility is a critical imperative for evidence-based policy to guide the development of institutions, and an economy that can cope with the urgent needs of the world.
About the speaker
Professor Richard Jefferson is a prominent molecular biologist, agricultural scientist and innovation systems strategist, and the leading exponent of ‘Innovation Cartography’. He is the founder and CEO of Cambia, a Professor of Science, Technology and Law at the Queensland University of Technology and Rogue at National ICT Australia, where he is the Director of The Lens.
Professor Jefferson is a graduate of the University of California’s College of Creative Studies, with a PhD in Molecular Biology from University of Colorado. As a National Institutes of Health postdoc in Cambridge, he conducted the world’s first field release of a biotech crop and created the most widely cited and licensed enabling biotechnology distributed under open source principles. After becoming the first Molecular Biologist for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, he founded Cambia in 1991, an independent, global non-profit social enterprise to bring efficiency, effectiveness and equity to science-enabled innovation.
Cambia created the BiOS Initiative, the first open patent-based commons for science, and the Patent Lens, a leading global resource for patent transparency. This work has culminated in the current vision of a global digital public good — ‘The Lens’ — to disrupt and democratise the innovation system.
Profiled in diverse media ranging from The Economist, Newsweek, Nature, New York Times to Red Herring, he has been named to the Scientific American List of the World’s 50 most influential technologists. Professor Jefferson is an Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Schwab Foundation, a frequent Davos panellist and was a long-serving member of the Global Agenda Council on Intellectual Property of the World Economic Forum.