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The Royal Society, the United Kingdom's leading scientific organisation, has called for freer access to scientific databases and is asking universities to stop aggressively seeking so many patents.

In its first ever report on the subject, the Society calls for a 'grassroots movement' for greater openness and data sharing, especially in fields such as genomics and computer science. Its findings are consistent with a recent report commissioned by the British government urging caution in implementing rigorous intellectual property rules in developing countries (see Patents 'could hinder poverty reduction').

The report also addresses concern about the accessibility of published data, and voices support for journals with 'liberal access policies'.

Link to Science news story

Link to full text of Royal Society report

Reference: Science 300, 406 (2003)