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March 17, 2006

Hoarding H5N1 data for fun and profit

By all means read Revere's comments on "Unethical science by dedicated scientists" in Effect Measure. He's not just talking about those hoarding H5N1 sequencing data, when they should make it all absolutely public.

Revere also points out that some companies are treating their business-continuity plans as "proprietary," even as it becomes clear that many other businesses, slow to understand the problem, could benefit from such information. This is the kind of practice that gives a bad name to cut-throat competition.

I'll go one step further than Revere. He rightly approves of an editorial in Nature that attacks the data hoarders. But Nature and many other scientific and business journals reserve much of their best information to paid subscribers. I can understand why they do so. Still, it's in everyone's interest to have a highly informed, well-prepared public facing H5N1.

Last year Nature did everyone a favour by making their avian-influenza special issue freely available. All relevant H5N1 articles, news stories, and commentaries should be available—in Nature and every other scientific, medical, and business journal.

Posted by dymaxion at March 17, 2006 12:44 PM

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