Data Sharing and Intellectual Property in Bioinformatics


A scenario meant to stimulate discussion about how to share intellectual property in order to stimulate research.


You have been working in computational genomics and seen your field grow rapidly in recent years. Because of the potential for profit from research, many investigators have become unwilling to share their data. Even a few officials at your university have suggested that you should clear data sharing with the intellectual property officer before sharing your data with investigators at other institutions. You deeply enjoy the free exchange of ideas. This was one of the factors that led you to stay in an academic institution rather than respond to the overtures you have gotten from industry.

What, if anything can you do?


Caroline Whitbeck introduced methods and modules for discussing numerous issues in responsible conduct of research at a Sigma Xi Forum in 2000. Partial funding for the development of this material came from an NIH grant.

You can find the entire sequence on the OEC at Scenarios for Ethics Modules in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Some information in these historical modules may be out-of-date; for instance, there may be a new edition of the professional society's code that is referred to in an item. If you have suggestions for updates, please contact the OEC.

Caroline Whitbeck. . Data Sharing and Intellectual Property in Bioinformatics. Online Ethics Center. DOI: