This afternoon, Vice President Biden presented a comprehensive report on his Cancer Moonshot Initiative during an event at the White House. He noted that while the Moonshot has sparked a new sense of urgency in the cancer research arena, large challenges remain, including a lack of coordination among researchers, an outdated research funding culture, and (no surprise here) the continued slow communication of crucial information about the disease.
The report lists an impressive and growing set of commitments that have been made to date by both government and the private sector to support the initiative, and makes additional recommendations on accelerating progress towards cancer treatments and cures.
The report directly addresses recommendations to accelerate the open sharing of cancer research data as well as clinical trial results. In fact, “Unleashing the Power of Data” is the second of five primary strategic goals of the initiative. The report specifically calls for “enabling a seamless data environment for clinical and research data through shared policies and technologies,” as well as “developing a scientific workforce capable of using an open and connected data environment.”
While the report does give a nod to opening up access to research articles, highlighting the need to “unlock scientific advances through open publication and storage platforms,” it stops short of providing any concrete recommendations on requiring open access to research articles or to their underlying data.
The theme of opening and accelerating the sharing of basic research outputs is consistently woven throughout the report, as is the need to create an incentive structure that is better aligned with the key goals of the Moonshot Initiative. This provides us with clear, continued opportunities to press for and support additional progress in both the open data and open access fronts.
As President Obama has entered his last 100 days in office, this report will serve as an important blueprint for the incoming administration. We’ll continue to work with all relevant players – from the White House, to Federal Agencies to Congress – who are or who will be directly involved in the initiative’s implementation on additional strategies to advance our collective “open” agenda.