When Universities Sell Patents to Trolls, Publicly Funded Research Is Compromised
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the state of publicly funded research. Many, including EFF, have long called on Congress to pass a law requiring that publicly funded research be made available to the public.
With strong support for FASTR (the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act) in both parties, Vice-President Biden making open access a major component of his Cancer Moonshot initiative, and presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton including access to research in her platform, signs are looking good that Congress will finally pass an open access mandate. It’s just a matter of when.
Even if we pass an open access law this year, though, there’s still a major obstacle in the way of publicly funded research fully benefiting the public: patent trolls.
Universities and Patent Trolls: A Twisted Romance
Wait, patent trolls? Those obscure companies that just amass patents and sue people instead of actually making or selling anything? What do they have to do with publicly funded research? Quite a lot, it turns out.
Medical researchers explore how open access publications could help moderate and reduce the vast waste of global medical research.
Subscription-based academic journals make money by through copyrights assigned by authors to publishers who lock the articles behind paywalls. Open access models, in which journals charge a publication fee and then make research and related content fully and immediately available to all, stand to aid the dissemination of knowledge and to improve its quality, experts say.