Open Source for Neglected Diseases: Magic Bullet or Mirage?
Hassan Masum and Rachelle Harris
Open source research, or methods to support innovation by sharing knowledge and ideas, is a fixture in information technology (IT) and is gaining momentum in health R&D. Within the biomedical field, the term “open source” is used to describe a variety of R&D models and programs. The Center’s report, “Open Source for Neglected Diseases: Magic Bullet or Mirage?” provides an overview of important open source initiatives in global health and suggests what open source could really mean for neglected disease R&D.
This landscaping report points out how open source models in health depart from their IT predecessors and lays out practical steps for moving the global health community toward a knowledge commons for neglected disease R&D. The authors, Results for Development consultants Rachelle Harris and Hassan Masum, interviewed dozens of experts and describe the experiences of some existing open source or related programs to paint a picture of the potential role of open source approaches in tackling neglected diseases. In addition, this report identifies key questions for further analysis and the need for more evaluative data of existing open source programs.