Science has advanced in part because data and scientific methodologies have traditionally not been subject to intellectual property protection. In recent years, intellectual property has played a greater role in scientific work. While intellectual property rights may have a positive role to play in some fields of science, so does the public domain. This paper will discuss some of the positive functions of the public domain and ways in which certain legal developments may negatively impact the public domain. It suggests some steps that scientists can take to preserve the positive functions of the public domain for science.