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That is true in general.

However, it is possible to patent a use for an algorithm, and that
gets a bit scarier, at least for folks doing data analysis.  It's
already happened for the analysis of gene expression data as well as
for statistical algorithms related to prediction for cancer screening
(Steve Skates and/or Mass General Hospital is the holder).

One could imagine (hopefully unthinkable) worst case scenario, where
the originators of various centrality measures recieved patents on
their application to understanding friendship networks (again, have to
be "specific"), and used them to block publication in journals which
require per-page fees where the articles are required to be mentioned
as "advertisements", since there was a payment for publication (not
sure if they exist in the social sciences, but they in biology and
medicine).

Again, I'm stretching a bit to make this e, but you probably can
understand the concern.

best,
-tony

Bienenstock Elisa <[log in to unmask]> writes:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****
>
> I remembered one more point my friend made: It is not possible to patent
> an algorithm. For that reason I am not sure that we have anything to
> worry about.

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