3515348126_4315caf417Peter Murray-Rust of OpenSource.com recently wrote, “Open is about sharing and collaboration. It’s the idea that ‘we’ is more powerful, more rewarding and fulfilling than ‘I’. I can’t promise jobs, but I do know that openis becoming very big. Governments and funders are pushing the open agenda, even though academics are generally uninterested or seriously self-interested. Some governments and some companies recognize the value of teams; academia and academics generally don’t. The false values of impact factor and the false values of academic publishing mean that open access is a poor reflection of open, or what you may recognize as the open source way.”

He goes on, “In 1994 Henry Rzepa and I had developed Chemical MIME—this was an openproject (though not formally labelled) where we generated a chemical meme that swept the web in six weeks. It relied on the open programs RasMol and Mage, which we could freely distribute to run in browsers. Chemical MIME was the ideal open project: open specs, open software, and enough open molecules to give it a WOW factor! That visibility gave me my first (part-time) consultancy job and kept me alive for some years after I left Glaxo. At the same time, Alan Mills and I ran the first multimedia course on the web (1995), Principles of Protein Structure. We ran it in a derivative of BioMOO and the Globewide Network Academy; they were all completely open projects stemming from LambdaMOO (Pavel Curtis, Xerox). PPS showed the value of community, and we had 250 volunteers/students (we didn’t distinguish) on the course. And, the PPS got me my second job, as a part-time Professor of Pharmacy at Nottingham, setting up virtual educations.”

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