Embarrasing Development in Biology Services! New models needed...

doelz at urz.unibas.ch doelz at urz.unibas.ch
Thu Feb 13 07:10:52 EST 1992


After having listened to all the information and rumors on the genbank -> ? 
migration, I start to worry about the following: 


Five questions to be answered, quick version for flaming: 

1) Future services only if profitable? 
2) How to avoid copyrights? 
3) Quality/quantity/accesibility control? 
4) How to do accounting for getting grants? 
5) Continuation of 'small services'? 
6) Networking lobby - where? 

Long version, with explanations and examples: 

1) At what time do 'official' institutions start to work only on these 
   problems where they get the most credit for, and leave the other 
   stuff in the mud
   EXAMPLE: biosci/bionet (dis)continuation, GOS online disappears, etc.

2) Which control machinery will take care that the information published 
   by 'official'ly blessed institutions is still public domain and can be 
   reused, copied, etc. without copyright violation
   EXAMPLE: copyrighted starter disk of NLM copies established databases 
   published elsewhere and puts copyrights on it.

3) Which lobby do end-users have to express their satisfaction and/or 
   concerns about accessibility, volume and qality of the data made available
   by the 'official' institutions ? 
   EXAMPLE: Europeans suffering from US commerce regulations 

4) Which criteria can be used to qualify an institution as 'fundable' if it 
   provides services to the community locally or regionally? 
   EXAMPLE: National centers in Europe count tapes, diskettes, login attempts
   etc to justify their funding which must not be representative for the 
   work achieved or the service quality provided. 

5) Provided the given development where niche markets need to be filled 
   by small efforts rather than officilally blessed institutions, who 
   ensures that these services will be a) permanently funded b) kept up-to-
   date 3) are properly acknowledged ? 
   EXAMPLE: F.Pfeiffer's VECBASE: All use it, all offer it, but poor Friedhelm
   never received real money to make it updated or continue this well-received
   database. 

6) Biologists start to use real bandwidth on international networks. What 
   lobby will promote the essential nature of the network connectivity and 
   performance needs to national agencies in order to stimulate (non-bio) 
   funding there ? 
   EXAMPLE: HEPNET (High Energy Physics Net) is a worldwide lobby, but 
   Internet is not exlusively used by biologists...  



Hope for a nice and smashing discussion here... 

Regards 
Reinhard


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