Governance of a global genetic resource commons for non-commercial research: A case-study of the DNA barcode commons

Authors : Janis Geary, Tania Bubela

Life sciences research that uses genetic resources is increasingly collaborative and global, yet collective action remains a significant barrier to the creation and management of shared research resources. These resources include sequence data and associated metadata, and biological samples, and can be understood as a type of knowledge commons.

Collective action by stakeholders to create and use knowledge commons for research has potential benefits for all involved, including minimizing costs and sharing risks, but there are gaps in our understanding of how institutional arrangements may promote such collective action in the context of global genetic resources.

We address this research gap by examining the attributes of an exemplar global knowledge commons: The DNA barcode commons. DNA barcodes are short, standardized gene regions that can be used to inexpensively identify unknown specimens, and proponents have led international efforts to make DNA barcodes a standard species identification tool.

Our research examined if and how attributes of the DNA barcode commons, including governance of DNA barcode resources and management of infrastructure, facilitate global participation in DNA barcoding efforts. Our data sources included key informant interviews, organizational documents, scientific outputs of the DNA barcoding community, and DNA barcode record submissions.

Our research suggested that the goal of creating a globally inclusive DNA barcode commons is partially impeded by the assumption that scientific norms and expectations held by researchers in high income countries are universal. We found scientific norms are informed by a complex history of resource misappropriation and mistrust between stakeholders.

DNA barcode organizations can mitigate the challenges caused by its global membership through creating more inclusive governance structures, developing norms for the community are specific to the context of DNA barcoding, and through increasing awareness and knowledge of pertinent legal frameworks.

URL : Governance of a global genetic resource commons for non-commercial research: A case-study of the DNA barcode commons

Alternative location : https://www.thecommonsjournal.org/articles/10.18352/ijc.859/

Historicizing the Knowledge Commons: Open Access, Technical Knowledge, and the Industrial Application of Science

Author: Shawn Martin

How does open access relate to scholarly communication? Though there are many modern definitions stressing the accessibility of knowledge to everyone, sharing scientific knowledge has a much longer history.

What might the concept of ‘open access’ have meant to scientists and knowledge practitioners over the past several hundred years? This paper poses some relevant questions and calls for better historicization of the idea of the knowledge commons at different periods of time, particularly the era of the ‘Republic of Letters’ and the ‘Modern System of Science.’

The concept of open access as it relates to academic publishing has been very nuanced, and hopefully, understanding the history of ‘open access’ in relation to scholarly communication can help us to have more informed debates about where open access needs to go in the future.

URL : Historicizing the Knowledge Commons: Open Access, Technical Knowledge, and the Industrial Application of Science

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/kula.16

The Unfolding of the Knowledge Commons This…

The Unfolding of the Knowledge Commons :

“This piece reports on some of the significant research and activities within the knowledge commons arena since the publication of Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom’s co-edited book Understanding Knowledge as a Commons in 2007. Hess uses this overview to identify major lacunae in the study of the knowledge commons. First, the relationship between local, indigenous knowledge and more globalised forms of knowledge is poorly understood. Second, the principles of local commons have not yet been tested against global commons, which may be characterised by regional inequalities. In both regards, careful case studies are needed to enrich our understanding of the knowledge commons.”

URL : http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/stair/stair/2012/00000008/00000001/art00003

From Lobsters to Universities The Making of the…

From Lobsters to Universities: The Making of the Knowledge Commons :

“Philosophers and social scientists from Hobbes to Hayek have debated the necessary and sufficient conditions for the making of states and markets, but there has been a remarkable lack of interest in the making of commons. This terra nullius of discourse is especially problematic when considering the making of the all important knowledge commons. In this paper I explore the making of a functioning commons off the coast of Maine (“the lobster commons”) and draw lessons from this process in exploring what would be the conditions for the making of the knowledge commons and the role universities can play in this making.”

URL : http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/stair/stair/2012/00000008/00000001/art00004

Evolution and Future of the Knowledge Commons Emerging…

Evolution and Future of the Knowledge Commons: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges for Less Developed Societies :

“This article addresses the emerging field of the knowledge commons in relation with the challenges of international development. It reviews the history of academic knowledge since the Enlightenment, its evolution and current trends, with the purpose of exploring the future of the knowledge commons. Assuming that knowledge is the most important resource in the twenty-first century, the intention of this article is mapping the conditions for taking advantage of this resource. Which are the barriers to access and use common pool of knowledge that is being generated currently? The supply and the demand sides of the knowledge sharing equation are reviewed to understand their particularities and trends. Particular attention is given to the demand side of this equation to identify the barriers that are preventing people from less developed countries taking full advantage of this fast growing resource.”

URL : http://dgroups.org/file2.axd/92ae83c6-0b31-4879-9032-d0bae8ca1683/Knowledge%20Commons%2011.08.16.docx