Why Open Source Isn't The Same As Free

Matthew Todd and Abdi Ismail | The Guardian | August 14, 2013

In this week's letters, the science lead at Open Source Malaria explains the semantics of collaborative drug discovery

I'd like to respond to Richard Stallman's comment on Jeremy Burrows' article about open source drug discovery for malaria.

I'm the current science lead in the Open Source Malaria project, one of those mentioned in the article. The issues about patents Richard mentions are very interesting and need addressing. Boldrin and Levine published some historical perspectives on patenting molecules in a recent article. They describe how the patenting of a molecule (rather than its method of manufacture) is quite a recent invention, and has had an impact on the rate at which companies need to innovate. Let me emphasise that in the OSM project we will not seek any patents, the default licence is creative commons.