The Francis Crick Institute has signed the Hague Declaration

The Hague Declaration is an important manifesto that aims to provide guidelines for how to "best enable access to facts, data and ideas for knowledge discovery in the Digital Age". Although signatories to the declaration include large scientific research institutes, you can also sign the declaration as an invididual. The five main principles of the declaration are summarized as follows:

  1. Intellectual property was not designed to regulate the free flow of facts, data and ideas, but has as a key objective the promotion of research activity
  2. People should have the freedom to analyse and pursue intellectual curiosity without fear of monitoring or repercussions
  3. Licenses and contract terms should not restrict individuals from using facts, data and ideas
  4. Ethics around the use of content mining techniques will need to continue to evolve in response to changing technology
  5. Innovation and commercial research based on the use of facts, data, and ideas should not be restricted by intellectual property law

These principles are obviously of huge relevance for the field of genomics which seems to be generating tools and data at an ever increasing rate. So I was happy to read today that the new Francis Crick Institute in London is one of the Declaration's latest signatories:

"The large amounts of data and information that are now becoming available represent an extraordinary resource for researchers. By signing the Hague Declaration the Francis Crick Institute is expressing its support for the idea that researchers should be able to mine such content freely, thereby to advance knowledge and to promote Discovery without Boundaries."

Jim Smith, Director of Research at the Francis Crick Institute