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Posted
December 15, 2008

Science Commons, the Video

Jesse Dylan produces video-primers explaining Science Commons and Creative Commons

Science has never been jazzier. Director Jesse Dylan – the director of the Emmy- award winning Yes We Can Barack Obama campaign video – has teamed up with Science Commons to produce a short video explaining why science is the ultimate remix. It’s a great primer on the special challenges facing scientists in sharing and collaborating, and it’s licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Watch the video here.

Surprisingly enough, it is easier for the layperson to find obscure things by using Google than it is for scientists to find out more about “signal transduction genes in pyramidal neurons.” Today, that search turned up 137,000 hits, a universe of undifferentiated material that is too large to be easily searched and used by most scientists. Scientific knowledge, unlike many other realms of information, exists in some very specialized structures that make it more complicated to browse and organize it.

This is a representative problem in science. Key data can be strewn across dozens of separate databases, many of which may be closed and unable to communicate with each other using shared protocols. So even though science was among the earliest users of the Internet – and even though science is generating a gusher of new literature every day – the protocols for sharing research remain fairly rudimentary.

Science Commons is an offshoot of the Creative Commons licensing project that aims to address these and other problems. It is leading a number of projects to help scientists more readily share their research data, articles and physical test specimen.

If you’re checking out Science Commons, you may want to check out the other informative video that Jesse Dylan has produced, A Shared Culture, which explains the rationale for Creative Commons licenses.