Scientists tout 'open source' drug discovery


There are numerous barriers to the adoption of the model, Todd said, all of which he argues are psychological.

"One is that in academia we are rewarded for our publications and the things we put in journals and we have to be in charge of our own publications and produce things from our own private lab because we're competing with each other and we need to be graded in competition with the people around us.

"In an open sharing model it's more difficult to work out who has done what and who is in charge of a certain project and so it goes against the model of academic publishing a because you end up with papers that lots of people have contributed to."

Another issue is the potential for the theft of ideas, he said, with the absence of patents enabling anybody to exploit the work academically or commercially.

"One of the misconceptions about doing work like this is that you can't publish in an academic journal but we've shown that's not the case," he said. "Also in academia in general, you don't publish negative results but we're publishing everything which we think is important and much better for the discipline I think."