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Cover of Designing the Microbial Research Commons

Designing the Microbial Research Commons

Proceedings of an International Symposium

; Editor: Paul F Uhlir.

Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); .
ISBN-13: 978-0-309-21979-2ISBN-10: 0-309-21979-5


The Board on Research Data and Information held an International Symposium on Designing the Microbial Research Commons at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC on 8–9 October 2009. Organized by a separately appointed Steering Committee, this symposium expanded on prior international discussions on the same topic at a conference in June 2008 in Ghent, Belgium (see: The October 2009 symposium addressed topics such as models to lower the transaction costs and support access to and use of microbiological materials and digital resources from the perspective of publicly funded research, public-private interactions, and developing country concerns. The overall goal of the symposium was to stimulate more research and implementation of improved legal and institutional models for publicly funded research in microbiology.

The International Symposium on Designing the Microbial Research Commons focused on accomplishing the following tasks:

  1. Delineate the research and applications opportunities from improved integration of microbial data, information, and materials and from enhanced collaboration within the global microbial community.
  2. Identify the global challenges and barriers—the scientific, technical, institutional, legal, economic, and socio-cultural—that hinder the integration of microbial resources and the collaborative practice of scientific communities in the microbial commons.
  3. Characterize the alternative legal and policy approaches developed and implemented by other research communities, such as common-use licensing for scientific data and information, standard-form material transfer agreements, open access publishing, and open data networks that could be applied successfully by the microbial research community.
  4. Define the contributions of new information and communication technology (ICT) tools in building federated information infrastructures, such as ontologies, data and text mining, and web 2.0.
  5. Discuss and evaluate the institutional design and governance principles of data and information sharing among information infrastructures, drawing upon and analyzing successful and failed case studies in the life sciences.
  6. Identify the range of policy issues that need to be addressed for maximizing open access to materials, data and literature information in an integrated microbial research commons.


This study was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OCI-082173 and by the Department of Energy Grant No. DE-SC0002579. This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States government. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States government or any agency thereof.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

Copyright © 2011, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK91499PMID: 22593950DOI: 10.17226/13245


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