Does anyone have any links to progressive projects in this area?
I'd really like to talk to guys in this field.
Tradition over ambition!
At any rate, the folks on PatientsLikeMe.com are sharing, and they have results to show for it:
Really inspiring stuff, because I assure you that the folks participating in these programs do not consider themselves hackers OR radicals.
Creative Commons has started an organization called Science Commons that has done some great work on getting scientists to share their data:
A promising step in this direction is Sage Bionetworks, which is attempting to use an open source style approach to drug development:
There are some very well known people behind Sage, and it's received backing from Merck (and Science Commons), among others. See, e.g., http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/19646, which states that Merck has backed them to the tune of 150 million dollars. At the moment they're just getting off the ground.
A much broader overview on open data and related issues can be found in Peter Suber's open access timeline: http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Timeline
Another interesting step is the Federal Research Public Access (http://www.arl.org/sparc/publications/articles/FRPAA-introdu... ), which would make most US-government sponsored research publicly available. It's not quite the same as open data, but is very consonant with it.
My company helps the labs and researchers share their data using a portal website geared toward researchers and labs. Here is some of the data they've shared (chosen at random):
Edit: Looks like we can't exactly just hack on this in our basement