The Scientific and Economic Benefits of Open Science

Conference Day: 
Day 3 - November 3rd 2017

Organized by: Arij Al Chawaf, Structural Genomics Consortium and Annabel Seyller, Tanenbaum Open Science Institute at The Montreal Neurological Institute

Speakers: Elizabeth Edwards, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, and Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto; Lizabeth Leveille, Associate Vice President and Head, Boston Innovation Hub BD&L, Merck Research Laboratories; Dr. Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec; Guy Rouleau, Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University

Moderator: Aled Edwards, CEO, Structural Genomics Consortium

Takeaways and recommendations: 

Open science is economically beneficial

  • People often intuitively feel that open science is socially beneficially but many don’t realize that it is also good for business.

  • There is no evidence that patents lead to innovation, unless “number of patents” is a legitimate metric for innovation.

  • Open science builds trust between industry and academia; it creates an opportunity for more brains to work on a problem; it helps data be more reproducible; and it allows knowledge to be rapidly taken up by a variety of industry players.


How can Canada lead and create impact from Open Science? 

  • Canada is already leading in many areas of open science.

  • Open science is a significant cultural shift for people in academia and industry; government needs to promote and reward it.

  • Subsidize researchers who want to publish in open access journals.

  • Government should fund science for the betterment of humanity, not for economic development.

  • Reconsider the emphasis research grants place on patent strength.


Working together means finding solutions faster

  • Industry should use open science to collaborate on problems they cannot solve on their own.

  • Academics are incentivized to innovate and there is less emphasis on reproducibility as industry would define it. Working together with industry strikes a good balance.

  • Open science is particularly useful for rare diseases no one is investigating; it’s important for industry to get involved because of their expertise in drug development.