James Boyle confirmed as IRF Symposium 2010 keynote speaker

2010 | 02 | 03

James Boyle, co-founder of Creative Commons and Science Commons, and one of the most influential creative thinkers and expert of Intellectual Property (IP) in the information society is the keynote speaker at the 3rd IRF Symposium 2010 in Vienna, Austria.

He will address an audience of leading academics, Information Retrieval and Intellectual Property experts, asking: "What If the Web Really Worked for Science?" and inviting to "Reimagining Data Policy and Intellectual Property".


The World Wide Web was invented for science. It was invented to help spread scientific research, to connect researchers, to make information search and retrieval global and easy. It has worked, to some extent. But the irony today, is that it is easier to use the Web to search for shoes, books, or porn, than to use it for scientific research. The kinds of capabilities we take for granted in e-commerce - multiple methods of retrieval, easy tagging, annotation and reviewing by users, the emergence of semantic web technologies, standardized data formats integrated in ways that the user never has to think about -- have lagged in the sciences. I can Google a book title, go to a site that compiles all the reviews about it, click through to see what readers who bought this also bought, compare that to my own library, and buy it with one click. Imagine a similar process for science. Imagine reading an article about a particular inflammation process. Imagine clicking a phrase to find all the articles that wrote about the same process, in whatever field of medicine, and whatever terminology they used for the relevant gene or disease. Imagine clicking the name of the cell line used in the experiment, going immediately to a page that makes it available to me from a centralized repository under a standard license for a low fee, and being able to cross reference it with all the patents that deal with that cell line or that inflammation process. But buying the book is reality. The process of scientific research I just described is fantasy. To make that fantasy a reality will require changes in the way we think about research policy, intellectual property, and the competitive norms of science. This keynote will explore them all.

James Boyle, brings a historically well grounded and positive perspective to ongoing cultural and legal IP debates with his numerous, successful publications, including “The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind and Shamans, Software and Spleens: Law and the Construction of the Information Society”. He writes widely on issues of intellectual property, internet regulation and legal theory, and is a regular columnist for the Financial Times' New Economy Policy Forum. Boyle is William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law at Duke Law School and co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

He acted as founding board member of Creative Commons, which aims at facilitating the free availability of art, scholarship, and cultural materials by developing innovative, machine-readable licenses that individuals and institutions can attach to their work. He was also a co-founder of Science Commons, which targets to expand the Creative Commons mission into the realm of scientific and technical data, and of ccLearn, which works to promote the development and use of open educational resources. Professor Boyle is also a member of the academic advisory boards of the Electronic Privacy and Information Center, the Connexions open-source courseware project, and of Public Knowledge.

Go to the Programme of the IRF Symposium 2010