Open PHACTS is a public-private partnership between academia, publishers, small and medium sized enterprises and pharmaceutical companies. The goal of the project is to deliver and sustain an 'open pharmacological space' using and enhancing state-of-the-art semantic web standards and technologies. It is focused on practical and robust applications to solve specific questions in drug discovery research. OPS is intended to facilitate improvements in drug discovery in academia and industry and to support open innovation and in-house non-public drug discovery research. This paper lays out the challenges and how the Open PHACTS project is hoping to address these challenges technically and socially. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.