Open source software vendor Red Hat is teaming up with North Carolina research and education establishments in an attempt to encourage the adoption of open source development policies in other areas.
The Raleigh, North Carolina-based company is teaming up with the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Research Campus to advance open collaboration in areas such as biotechnology, bioinformatics, public policy, and healthcare research.
As part of the plan, Red Hat will establish a presence at the research campus in Kannapolis and work with public and private sector organizations on the use of open source technology and processes.
With our partners, we will identify specific projects where the sharing of information will lead to better, more accurate research, said Joanne Rohde, executive vice president of operations at Red Hat. The history of open source has taught us that the more broadly and transparently information is shared and re-used, the faster and stronger the results.
It is not the first time the company has tried to extend its promotion of open source beyond technology. In 1999 it formed a non-profit organization called the Red Hat Center for Open Source, which focused on public policy issues. That effort was short-lived, however.
There are all manner of non-technological projects to which the open source model has been applied, from vehicles to beer, but clinical research is one of the industries most regularly promoted as a potential beneficiary of open source development policies. Even Bill Gates has become a proponent, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announcing in July 2006 that it was delivering 16 grants totaling $287m to HIV vaccine development projects, as long as recipients agreed to collaborate on their research. Outside such philanthropic efforts, clinical research is big business, however, and the greatest likelihood of open source gaining a hold in clinical research is probably via university and research environments, just as was the case for open source software.