Whose Commons? Data Protection as a Legal Limit of Open Science


Mark Phillips and Bartha M. Knoppers in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics: “Open science has recently gained traction as establishment institutions have come on-side and thrown their weight behind the movement and initiatives aimed at creation of information commons. At the same time, the movement’s traditional insistence on unrestricted dissemination and reuse of all information of scientific value has been challenged by the movement to strengthen protection of personal data. This article assesses tensions between open science and data protection, with a focus on the GDPR.

Powerful institutions across the globe have recently joined the ranks of those making substantive commitments to “open science.” For example, the European Commission and the NIH National Cancer Institute are supporting large-scale collaborations, such as the Cancer Genome Collaboratory, the European Open Science Cloud, and the Genomic Data Commons, with the aim of making giant stores of genomic and other data readily available for analysis by researchers. In the field of neuroscience, the Montreal Neurological Institute is midway through a novel five-year project through which it plans to adopt open science across the full spectrum of its research. The commitment is “to make publicly available all positive and negative data by the date of first publication, to open its biobank to registered researchers and, perhaps most significantly, to withdraw its support of patenting on any direct research outputs.” The resources and influence of these institutions seem to be tipping the scales, transforming open science from a longstanding aspirational ideal into an existing reality.

Although open science lacks any standard, accepted definition, one widely-cited model proposed by the Austria-based advocacy effort openscienceASAP describes it by reference to six principles: open methodology, open source, open data, open access, open peer review, and open educational resources. The overarching principle is “the idea that scientific knowledge of all kinds should be openly shared as early as is practical in the discovery process.” This article adopts this principle as a working definition of open science, with a particular emphasis on open sharing of human data.

As noted above, many of the institutions committed to open science use the word “commons” to describe their initiatives, and the two concepts are closely related. “Medical information commons” refers to “a networked environment in which diverse sources of health, medical, and genomic information on large populations become widely shared resources.” Commentators explicitly link the success of information commons and progress in the research and clinical realms to open science-based design principles such as data access and transparent analysis (i.e., sharing of information about methods and other metadata together with medical or health data).

But what legal, as well as ethical and social, factors will ultimately shape the contours of open science? Should all restrictions be fought, or should some be allowed to persist, and if so, in what form? Given that a commons is not a free-for-all, in that its governing rules shape its outcomes, how might we tailor law and policy to channel open science to fulfill its highest aspirations, such as universalizing practical access to scientific knowledge and its benefits, and avoid potential pitfalls? This article primarily concerns research data, although passing reference is also made to the approach to the terms under which academic publications are available, which are subject to similar debates….(More)”.

When Patients Become Innovators


Article by Harold DeMonaco, Pedro Oliveira, Andrew Torrance, Christiana von Hippel, and Eric von Hippel: “Patients are increasingly able to conceive and develop sophisticated medical devices and services to meet their own needs — often without any help from companies that produce or sell medical products. This “free” patient-driven innovation process enables them to benefit from important advances that are not commercially available. Patient innovation also can provide benefits to companies that produce and sell medical devices and services. For them, patient do-it-yourself efforts can be free R&D that informs and amplifies in-house development efforts.

In this article, we will look at two examples of free innovation in the medical field — one for managing type 1 diabetes and the other for managing Crohn’s disease. We will set these cases within the context of the broader free innovation movement that has been gaining momentum in an array of industries1 and apply the general lessons of free innovation to the specific circumstances of medical innovation by patients….

What is striking about both of these cases is that neither commercial medical producers nor the clinical care system offered a solution that these patients urgently needed. Motivated patients stepped forward to develop solutions for themselves, entirely without commercial support.4

Free innovation in the medical field follows the general pattern seen in many other areas, including crafts, sporting goods, home and garden equipment, pet products, and apparel.5 Enabled by technology, social media, and a keen desire to find solutions aligned with their own needs, consumers of all kinds are designing new products for themselves….(More)”


Co-Creating e-Government Services: An Empirical Analysis of Participation Methods in Belgium


Paper by Anthony Simonofski, Monique Snoeck and Benoît Vanderose: “As citizens have more and more opportunities to participate in public life, it is essential that administrations integrate this participation in their e-government processes. A smarter, more participatory, governance is a well-recognized and essential part of any city that wants to become “Smart” and generate public value. In this chapter, we will focus on the impact of this participatory approach on the development of e-government services by the city. Therefore, the goal of this chapter is to identify which methods administrations can apply to co-create their egovernment services with citizens and to understand the gap between the methods used in practice and citizens’ preferences.

As citizens have more and more opportunities to participate in public life, it is essential that administrations integrate this participation in their e-government processes. A smarter, more participatory, governance is a well-recognized and essential part of any city that wants to become “Smart” and generate public value. In this chapter, we will focus on the impact of this participatory approach on the development of e-government services by the city. Therefore, the goal of this chapter is to identify which methods administrations can apply to co-create their e-government services with citizens and to understand the gap between the methods used in practice and citizens’ preferences.

This chapter contributes to research and practice in different ways. First, the literature review allows the identification of eight participation methods to co-create e-government services. Second, we further examine these methods by means of 28 in-depth interviews, a questionnaire sent to public servants and a questionnaire sent to citizens. This multi-method approach allows identifying the barriers and drivers of public servants regarding the co-creation of e-government services but also the citizens’ perception of these methods. By contrasting the identified methods with their implementation, we better understand the discrepancies between literature and practice. At the same time, this chapter will give practitioners a repository of participation methods as well as information about the perception public servants and citizens have of them. Finally, we expect the insights provided in this chapter will stimulate research on the practical use of all these different methods…(More)”

Innovation Contests: How to Engage Citizens in Solving Urban Problems?


Paper by Sarah Hartmann, Agnes Mainka and Wolfgang G. Stock: “Cities all over the world are challenged with problems evolving from increasing urbanity, population growth, and density. For example, one prominent issue that is addressed in many cities is mobility. To develop smart city solutions, governments are trying to introduce open innovation. They have started to open their governmental and city related data as well as awake the citizens’ awareness on urban problems through innovation contests. Citizens are the users of the city and therefore, have a practical motivation to engage in innovation contests as for example in hackathons and app competitions. The collaboration and co-creation of civic services by means of innovation contests is a cultural development of how governments and citizens work together in an open governmental environment. A qualitative analysis of innovation contests in 24 world cities reveals this global trend. In particular, such events increase the awareness of citizens and local businesses for identifying and solving urban challenges and are helpful means to transfer the smart city idea into practicable solutions….(More)”

Harnessing Digital Tools to Revitalize European Democracy


Article by Elisa Lironi: “…Information and communication technology (ICT) can be used to implement more participatory mechanisms and foster democratic processes. Often referred to as e-democracy, there is a large range of very different possibilities for online engagement, including e-initiatives, e-consultations, crowdsourcing, participatory budgeting, and e-voting. Many European countries have started exploring ICT’s potential to reach more citizens at a lower cost and to tap into the so-called wisdom of the crowd, as governments attempt to earn citizens’ trust and revitalize European democracy by developing more responsive, transparent, and participatory decisionmaking processes.

For instance, when Anne Hidalgo was elected mayor of Paris in May 2014, one of her priorities was to make the city more collaborative by allowing Parisians to propose policy and develop projects together. In order to build a stronger relationship with the citizens, she immediately started to implement a citywide participatory budgeting project for the whole of Paris, including all types of policy issues. It started as a small pilot, with the city of Paris putting forward fifteen projects that could be funded with up to about 20 million euros and letting citizens vote on which projects to invest in, via ballot box or online. Parisians and local authorities deemed this experiment successful, so Hidalgo decided it was worth taking further, with more ideas and a bigger pot of money. Within two years, the level of participation grew significantly—from 40,000 voters in 2014 to 92,809 in 2016, representing 5 percent of the total urban population. Today, Paris Budget Participatif is an official platform that lets Parisians decide how to spend 5 percent of the investment budget from 2014 to 2020, amounting to around 500 million euros. In addition, the mayor also introduced two e-democracy platforms—Paris Petitions, for e-petitions, and Idée Paris, for e-consultations. Citizens in the French capital now have multiple channels to express their opinions and contribute to the development of their city.

In Latvia, civil society has played a significant role in changing how legislative procedures are organized. ManaBalss (My Voice) is a grassroots NGO that creates tools for better civic participation in decisionmaking processes. Its online platform, ManaBalss.lv, is a public e-participation website that lets Latvian citizens propose, submit, and sign legislative initiatives to improve policies at both the national and municipal level. …

In Finland, the government itself introduced an element of direct democracy into the Finnish political system, through the 2012 Citizens’ Initiative Act (CI-Act) that allows citizens to submit initiatives to the parliament. …

Other civic tech NGOs across Europe have been developing and experimenting with a variety of digital tools to reinvigorate democracy. These include initiatives like Science For You (SCiFY) in Greece, Netwerk Democratie in the Netherlands, and the Citizens Foundation in Iceland, which got its start when citizens were asked to crowdsource their constitution in 2010.

Outside of civil society, several private tech companies are developing digital platforms for democratic participation, mainly at the local government level. One example is the Belgian start-up CitizenLab, an online participation platform that has been used by more than seventy-five municipalities around the world. The young founders of CitizenLab have used technology to innovate the democratic process by listening to what politicians need and including a variety of functions, such as crowdsourcing mechanisms, consultation processes, and participatory budgeting. Numerous other European civic tech companies have been working on similar concepts—Cap Collectif in France, Delib in the UK, and Discuto in Austria, to name just a few. Many of these digital tools have proven useful to elected local or national representatives….

While these initiatives are making a real impact on the quality of European democracy, most of the EU’s formal policy focus is on constraining the power of the tech giants rather than positively aiding digital participation….(More)”

Creating and Capturing Value through Crowdsourcing


Cover

Book edited by Allan Afuah, Christopher L. Tucci, and Gianluigi Viscusi: “Examples of the value that can be created and captured through crowdsourcing go back to at least 1714 when the UK used crowdsourcing to solve the Longitude Problem, obtaining a solution that would enable the UK to become the dominant maritime force of its time. Today, Wikipedia uses crowds to provide entries for the world’s largest and free encyclopedia. Partly fueled by the value that can be created and captured through crowdsourcing, interest in researching the phenomenon has been remarkable.

Despite this – or perhaps because of it – research into crowdsourcing has been conducted in different research silos, within the fields of management (from strategy to finance to operations to information systems), biology, communications, computer science, economics, political science, among others. In these silos, crowdsourcing takes names such as broadcast search, innovation tournaments, crowdfunding, community innovation, distributed innovation, collective intelligence, open source, crowdpower, and even open innovation. This book aims to assemble chapters from many of these silos, since the ultimate potential of crowdsourcing research is likely to be attained only by bridging them. Chapters provide a systematic overview of the research on crowdsourcing from different fields based on a more encompassing definition of the concept, its difference for innovation, and its value for both private and public sector….(More)”.

The Public Mapping Project: How Public Participation Can Revolutionize Redistricting


Book by Micah Altman and Michael P. McDonald: “… unveil the Public Mapping Project, which developed DistrictBuilder, an open-source software redistricting application designed to give the public transparent, accessible, and easy-to-use online mapping tools. As they show, the goal is for all citizens to have access to the same information that legislators use when drawing congressional maps—and use that data to create maps of their own….(More)”.

Translating science into business innovation: The case of open food and nutrition data hackathons


Paper by Christopher TucciGianluigi Viscusi and Heidi Gautschi: “In this article, we explore the use of hackathons and open data in corporations’ open innovation portfolios, addressing a new way for companies to tap into the creativity and innovation of early-stage startup culture, in this case applied to the food and nutrition sector. We study the first Open Food Data Hackdays, held on 10-11 February 2017 in Lausanne and Zurich. The aim of the overall project that the Hackdays event was part of was to use open food and nutrition data as a driver for business innovation. We see hackathons as a new tool in the innovation manager’s toolkit, a kind of live crowdsourcing exercise that goes beyond traditional ideation and develops a variety of prototypes and new ideas for business innovation. Companies then have the option of working with entrepreneurs and taking some of the ideas forward….(More)”.

‘To own or not to own?’ A study on the determinants and consequences of alternative intellectual property rights arrangements in crowdsourcing for innovation contests


Paper by Nuran Acur, Mariangela Piazza and Giovanni Perrone: “Firms are increasingly engaging in crowdsourcing for innovation to access new knowledge beyond their boundaries; however, scholars are no closer to understanding what guides seeker firms in deciding the level at which to acquire rights from solvers and the effect that this decision has on the performance of crowdsourcing contests.

Integrating Property Rights Theory and the problem solving perspective whist leveraging exploratory interviews and observations, we build a theoretical framework to examine how specific attributes of the technical problem broadcast affect the seekers’ choice between alternative intellectual property rights (IPR) arrangements that call for acquiring or licensing‐in IPR from external solvers (i.e. with high and low degrees of ownership respectively). Each technical problem differs in the knowledge required to be solved as well as in the stage of development it occurs of the innovation process and seeker firms pay great attention to such characteristics when deciding about the IPR arrangement they choose for their contests.

In addition, we analyze how this choice between acquiring and licensing‐in IPR, in turn, influences the performance of the contest. We empirically test our hypotheses analyzing a unique dataset of 729 challenges broadcast on the InnoCentive platform from 2010 to 2016. Our results indicate that challenges related to technical problems in later stages of the innovation process are positively related to the seekers’ preference toward IPR arrangements with a high level of ownership, while technical problems involving a higher number of knowledge domains are not.

Moreover, we found that IPR arrangements with a high level of ownership negatively affect solvers’ participation and that IPR arrangement plays a mediating role between the attributes of the technical problem and the solvers’ self‐selection process. Our article contributes to the open innovation and crowdsourcing literature and provides practical implications for both managers and contest organizers….(More)”.

Open innovation and the evaluation of internet-enabled public services in smart cities


Krassimira Paskaleva and Ian Cooper in Technovation: This article is focused on public service innovation from an innovation management perspective. It presents research experience gained from a European project for managing social and technological innovation in the production and evaluation of citizen-centred internet-enabled services in the public sector.

It is based on six urban pilot initiatives, which sought to operationalise a new approach to co-producing and co-evaluating civic services in smart cities – commonly referred to as open innovation for smart city services. Research suggests that the evidence base underpinning this approach is not sufficiently robust to support claims being made about its effectiveness.

Instead evaluation research of citizen-centred internet-enabled urban services is in its infancy and there are no tested methods or tools in the literature for supporting this approach.

The paper reports on the development and trialing of a novel Co-evaluation Framework, indicators and reporting categories, used to support the co-production of smart city services in an EU-funded project. Our point of departure is that innovation of services is a sub-set of innovation management that requires effective integration of technological with social innovation, supported by the right skills and capacities. The main skills sets needed for effective co-evaluation of open innovation services are the integration of stakeholder management with evaluation capacities.”