Dec 2, 2007

Medicine 2.0 : Copyright or Creative Commons ?



AWiki is an useful tool in the Web 2.0 environment. We can use it to collaborate with our colleagues to create knowledge online. Some days ago I read a post about Wiserwiki, a new project launched by Elsevier. This is not the only medical wiki that exists. Actually exists a long list of medical wikis. What is different with this wiki is the fact that the information created here for the medical community belongs to the publisher that owns the wiki. It means that if you want to use the information that exist in this wiki, you have to ask permission to the owner in order to do that. This fact is not new, it is how the industry of information has been working since the invention of copyright. When we write a medical article, we sent our work to a medical journal. They review it, and if they think that the article is good, they publish it. They copyright our work, they become the owners of our work. But do we have to copyright everything that we create? is this the only option that we have? The answer is no. We can make our work under a creative commons license. For long time we have depended on publishers to diffuse, distribute, collect, circulate and propagate the information we create. But nowadays do we need publishers to do these? The answer is no. What we need it is to learn how to use the web 2.0 in medicine.
We have to work really hard to spread this concepts, it is still not widely known for the health care community and sometimes you feel lonely in a digital world. Finally what you are going to do with your work will depend on each one of us. We can do what ever we want with our work. Some people will prefer to reserve the rights of their work, while others will share their work without restrictions. What could be the consequences of this changes in the mentality of the people? Can you understand the possibilities it has? Karina Descartin says : " I understand the possibilities better than ever: broader knowledge, wider accessibility for medical students and professionals, and more exchange of vital information among peers than ever before". What do you think?