‘The concept of Free Software, wherein knowledge is created bythe community for the community, without being driven by commercialinterests, must be extended to research to solve problems in healthcare, agriculture, energy and safe drinking water,’ aldus Kalam inde Indiase pers. U leest zijn interview met ScienceGuideover zijn Werdegang als scholier, wetenschapper,ruimtevaartexpert en staatshoofd
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He was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day NationalConvention for Academics and Research on ‘Computing freedom fortechnology, education and research,’ organised by the Free SoftwareMovement of India (FSMI), a national coalition of regional freesoftware movements, on the Mahindra Satyam campus.
Mr. Kalam implored scientists, researchers and academics toembrace the ‘open source philosophy’ in their respective fields,and work towards building ‘open source networks’ that can help pooltalent, research and know-how from around the world. Such aplatform can help evolve scientific solutions to problems,particularly those relevant to developing countries. “Why don’tFree Software movements come together to create a network ofexperts to work on providing free drinking water,” he asked theaudience.
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A valuable open source movement initiated in the Indian healthcare sector is the Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD), a consortiumled by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. In thewake of the failure of market forces in this sector, the OSDD isexploring new models of drug discovery and looking at innovativepatent regimes, Mr. Kalam said. “Market forces discourageresearch-based pharmaceutical companies from developing drugs forinfectious diseases such as tuberculosis or malaria thatpredominantly affect the developing world. It would be naive toexpect drug discovery for infectious diseases to become a lucrativestandard business model,” he explained.
So where the existing patent-driven models have failed, the OSDDprovides an alternative way of looking at Intellectual Property asa tool of research. “It is currently working on optimising apatented molecule as a drug. OSDD plans to use this patent toensure the drugs are affordable in the market, by ensuringnon-exclusive licensing. This is an innovative way of using patentsto the benefit of poor patients,” Mr. Kalam said.
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