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Progress

313 signed
687 more needed

Sign the Petition to

The Office of Science and Technology Policy

Opening public access to federally funded biological and health research is a fundamental right of taxpayers. This includes published articles, data, and (electronic) LAB NOTES.The problem of irreproducibility is one which covers the health sciences, as well as a variety of other sciences, and demands attention.

Unfortunately, it is often not enough to replicate or repeat the experiments based on cleaned data sets to independently verify published findings in articles. When these findings are used to initiate clinical studies, patients lives are put at risk. By asking the patent office to retain notebooks and encourage proof of reproducibility, the speed of medical innovations may be increased and the health of patients improved. The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and numerous science publications have drawn attention to this problem already. Now is the time for solutions to be put forward.

Access to (electronic) laboratory notebooks improves the processes of patenting, inventing & preserving U.S. scientific & medical history. In 2013, the OSTP mandated open access for federally funded research articles and data, but excluded laboratory notebooks. This petition requests an expansion of the 2013 mandate so that when federally funded research results in a (provisional) patent application, a digital copy of searchable, full-text notebooks should be required at filing.

Why?

Notebooks contain detailed thoughts, processes, methodologies, instrument names, and other relevant information supplied by scientists that may be needed to reproduce results. Electronic notebooks can also contain raw data and valuable metadata from instruments that may be essential for reproducibility. Without notebooks, recent studies were unable to reproduce journal findings, resulting in serious economic & health implications for products & processes (see articles cited below for details). Published articles and their cleaned data sets are often not enough to replicate or repeat the findings presented in scientific journals.

It makes sense for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to house digital notebook copies. Notebooks have historically been used as evidence in patent litigation, so funding USPTO storage helps to prevent fraud by protecting copies from alteration. The USPTO should aid in reducing the 'reproducibiilty crisis' by encouraging statements of independent verification of the reproducibility of the claims presented with the filings. To protect profitibility rights of the filers, after the life of the patent notebooks should become public domain with an exclusion allowing transfer of classified and export-restricted materials to NARA. Should any legal or reproducibility challenges arise during the life of the patent, the USPTO would have a copy of the notebooks on hand.

Please support mandating open access to digital copies of lab Notebooks created through publicly funded research leading to a US patent.

Related articles:

1) “Open access: Online repository for lab notebooks.” Nature 506.7487 (13 February 2014): 159. http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/506159e?locale=en.

2) "A Four Part Series on Open Notebook Science." Nature.com. http://www.scilogs.com/scientific_and_medical_libraries/a-four-part-series-on-open-notebook-science-part-4.

3) "Reproducibility." Science 353.616 (17 January 2014): 229. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6168/229.summary.

4) "Repeatability of published microarray gene expression analyses." Nature Genetics 41 (2009): 149-155. http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v41/n2/fig_tab/ng.295_T3.html.

5) "Deriving Chemosensitivity from Cell Lines: Forensic Bioinformatics and Reproducible Research in High-Throughput Biology." The Annals of Applied Statistics 3.4 (2009): 1309–1334. ttp://arxiv.org/pdf/1010.1092.pdf.

6) "Unreliable research: Trouble at the lab." Economist (19 Oct 2013). http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21588057-scientists-think-science-self-correcting-alarming-degree-it-not-trouble.

7) "Improving Scientific Reproducibility in an Age of International Competition and Big Data." President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). January 31, 2014. http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/pcast/140131/default.cfm.

Signed,

Shannon Bohle

How this will help

Opening public access to federally funded biological & health research is a fundamental right of taxpayers. This includes published articles, data & (electronic) LAB NOTES. 

Unfortunately, it is...

Opening public access to federally funded biological & health research is a fundamental right of taxpayers. This includes published articles, data & (electronic) LAB NOTES. 

Unfortunately, it is often not enough to replicate or repeat the experiments based on cleaned data sets to independently verify published findings in articles. When these findings are used to initiate clinical studies, patients lives are put at risk. By asking the patent office to retain notebooks and encourage proof of reproducibility, the speed of medical innovations may be increased and the health of patients improved. The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP )and numerous science publications have drawn attention to this problem already. Now is the time for solutions to be put forward. 

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