BCNGroup Charter
First published on February 5, 1997


1) Mission Statement

Our mission is to create an international communications forum for the understanding, discovery and dissemination of knowledge for the common good.

To create new technologies that synergistically applies computational systems to the automated investigation of artificial and natural systems.

To provide protection for knowledge wealth created by primary scientific investigation.

To hold in trust intellectual property for the common benefit of BCNGroup members and third party developers.

2) Motivation

The mechanisms currently available to fund basic science are excessively slow and are wholly inadequate to address the complex time-critical problems we are likely to face in the 21st century.

This inadequacy arises from an enigma. On the one hand, the very notion of treating scientific knowledge as property is not compatible with the spirit of scientific investigation.

On the other hand, international intellectual property rights are essential to the free market development of technology.

Without such protection, intellectual property may be exploited without due compensation or acknowledgment to its author.

3) Knowledge Capital Formation

The BCNGroup intends to generate and manage wealth to the greatest extent possible given the above constraints.

This wealth will consist of two distinct types of knowledge capital:

(i) Public knowledge wealth and

(ii) The BCN inventory of intellectual capital.

3a) Public Knowledge Wealth:

Public wealth is created by placing the results of investigations of contributing scientists into a knowledge base. Practitioners may apply this knowledge in whatever manner they deem appropriate. Such knowledge will be secured for the purpose of insuring complete public access to basic discoveries..

Common law states that when results from a scientific investigation are publicly disclosed, previous to filing a government application to recognize private ownership of the intellectual property, the results are forever made part of the public domain. In this case, no one has legal authority to restrict the use of this property and the application for private ownership should be denied. In simple terms this means that if knowledge is published at a time when no legal protection exists for individual ownership of that knowledge, then that knowledge is owned in common by the public body.

This principle in common law is being constantly eroded. To insure that this common law principle is not further degraded, the BCNGroup will follow each BCNGroup public disclosure of new scientific knowledge with specific procedures that are designed to clarify what are allowable targets for the creation of private intellectual property.

The BCNGroup will help identify well-defined access points for third party development of new technologies. A consortium relationship will be maintained that is designed to transfer scientific work into technology, but with reasonable attribution to the origins of the scientific work.

3b) The BCN Inventory of Intellectual Capital:

The BCNGroup will establish a new independent science funding process that will generate wealth by entering into agreements with its member scientists and third party developers. In this way, BCNGroup scientists will work with entrepreneurs in migrating theories from a scientific investigation (proof of principle) phase to a development (proof of product, or prototyping) phase.

The resulting financial wealth will provide an increasing flow of capital to the science community and will be held in trust by the BCNGroup. The Scientific Council of the BCNGroup will manage the redistribution of this wealth in part by contributing to the health of the science community in the form of yearly prizes for Research Excellence and Technology Innovation.

Regardless of how much scientific data the BCNGroup publishes, the proof of product phase resides in the personal abilities of an individual or team of scientists.

To ensure that maximal benefit of a discovery is extended to society, third party agreements will stipulate a time threshold for product introduction (this condition is frequently applied in technology transfer agreements between government and industry). Under the agreement, if a product is not introduced within a specified time frame, the non-disclosure and non-compete restrictions are lifted and the scientist(s) are free to enter into agreements with other third parties to commercialize the technology. The same agreements can be made with respect to specific market sectors.

4) Responsibilities

The BCNGroup assumes certain responsibilities commensurate with its role in holding a public trust. These responsibilities are implicitly defined by the BCNGroup Mission Statement and are interpreted by the Founding Committee to include the following:

4a) To freely share knowledge capital through public disclosure of basic research and proof of principle results, except in special cases where prohibited by law.

4b) To contract with third parties to develop specific applications of knowledge capital.

4c) To identify opportunities for BCNGroup-mediated projects that transforms value from knowledge capital built upon scientific principles to privately owned items of intellectual property.

4d) To identify and configure the resources for responding to technology transfer opportunities.

In order to successfully carry out these responsibilities, the BCNGroup will:

4e) Build and maintain a knowledge base that allows rapid identification and access to the knowledge resources of the group.

4f) Provide a communications, legal and social infrastructure that enables the rapid creation and dissemination of knowledge.

4g) Establish and manage contractual agreements with member scientists and third parties in order to quickly respond to business opportunities.

5) Organizational Structure

In order to maintain the ability to evolve and quickly adapt to unforeseen events and outcomes, the BCNGroup will configure itself to operate as a virtual enterprise.

Its members will work together to seek out opportunities, to make discoveries and to freely share basic results. Its members will form contracts with third parties to develop specific products in a way that does not limit but rather enhances public access to basic scientific discoveries.

The BCNGroup itself will be a testbed for the formation, operation and reconfiguration of virtual enterprise. It has formally incorporated as a non-profit organization, and will seek maximum freedom in making decisions regarding its activities.

The BCNGroup will create new concepts on how scientific research can be independently funded and how knowledge can be disseminated.

The BCNGroup will strive to serve as a prototype for how business and science communities interact in the 21st century.

One aspect of the testbed will be the implementation of a multilingual-shared knowledge base. This will make the BCNGroup's corporate knowledge available to members and subscribers via the worldwide web.

The knowledge base will initially consist of a gray literature collection hyper-linked to a multilingual (language independent) concept space.

This resource will be maintained at a central facility for the collection and dissemination of new and existing research in the fields of Behavioral and Computational Neuropsychology (BCN), and Applied Semiotics and Intelligence Systems (ASIS).

Additional fields for supported investigations will be specified in the future.

6) The BCN Prime Directive

All projects undertaken by the BCNGroup, without a third party, will be for the sole purpose of proof of principle and will not be targeted at the development of a commercial product.

Projects undertaken for the purpose of a proof of product will require a formal contractual agreement with an independent third party.

The purpose of the BCN Prime Directive is to encourage both the widespread dissemination of new knowledge and the development of new technology by third parties.

7) Projects

As a virtual enterprise, the BCNGroup will configure itself to respond to selected opportunities as they are presented.

The BCNGroup will also create opportunities proactively by finding new ways to discover, archive and disseminate knowledge, particularly through the aggregation of heretofore disparate and seemingly unrelated disciplines.

Proposed initial projects include:

7a) The development of a theoretical foundation and systems architecture based upon the so called "Pribram-Hameroff-Penrose Viewpoint" (PHPV) about biological intelligence.

7b) The initiation of a Joint Russian/American Project in Applied Semiotics and Intelligence Systems (ASIS).

7c) The development of a gray literature collection supporting targeted areas of investigation.

7d) The development of basic technology supporting machine readable ontologies, automated document understanding and knowledge processing.

7e) A web-enabled multilingual knowledge management system.

8) Management

The BCN Scientific Council has two duties to perform.

The first is to appoint the BCNGroup Management Team to serve for a period of one year. Members of the Management Team will be contract employees of the BCNGroup Inc.

The second duty is to establish the BCN Trust Fund and to distribute excess financial wealth from the fund to members of the science community.

The distribution of this financial wealth will be in the form of individual Prizes for Research Excellence and individual Prizes for Technology Innovation.

9) Membership

The BCNGroup Founding Committee consists of three individuals. Each of these individuals appoints his or her replacement. Governing Council membership is honorary and appointments, by the Founding Committee, are generally made for life.

The non-management membership is composed of individual scientific members. Membership rules are to be determined by the BCNGroup Governing Council. The Governing Council will meet only once in a five year period.

Non-voting Corporate Sponsorship will be accepted based on a yearly renewal and a fee structure determined by the BCNGroup Management Team.

On a yearly basis, the BCNGroup scientific members will select five members to the Scientific Council.

The election will be conducted by allowing each member of the BCNGroup to nominate up to twenty scientists. The nomination process will be through secret ballot by BCNGroup members in good standing.

Although membership in the BCNGroup is not required for nomination, each valid nominee must have an earned Doctoral degree and must have published a scientific paper during the previous five years.

The five scientists with the largest nomination count will be invited to serve a three-year term. If a selected nominee declines, or if there is a vacancy on the Scientific Council, a new nominee will be selected to serve based on the nomination count of the prior election.

If adequate funds are available, seated members of the Scientific Council will receive an honorarium equaling up to 100% of their previous year's salary.