for making an exception in the first place. Considering that databases could be made available to different users under an array of terms outside the context of publication (one example is a subscription to Celera’s Discovery System™), it is not altogether clear that compromising the quid pro quo will be offset by a gain in published research results that could not be made available by other means.
It may not be feasible to exert property rights in data that allow them to be published, verified by the scientific community, and provided in “dynamic” format without also facilitating commercial competitors. However, placing restrictions on the use of the data, charging an access fee, or making it difficult to compare with other datasets defeats the purpose of publication, because the data cannot be verified and the ability to build on it is diminished. These are factors that reviewers should consider when evaluating whether a submitted paper is important for the community.
As described in Chapter 2, however, companies do benefit from publishing, so it is not likely they will make all their data available only by subscription. It is also possible for a company to publish some data (without restricting access) that would increase interest in a more comprehensive database that is made available by subscription, as Celera has done (See Box 3–2, paragraph 3).
In its exploration of sharing publication-related data and software, the committee identified the following principles of publication:
Principle 1. Authors should include in their publications the data, algorithms, or other information that are central or integral to the publications—whatever is necessary to support the major claims of the paper and to enable someone skilled in the art to verify or replicate and build on the paper’s claims.
Principle 2. If central or integral information cannot be included in a publication for practical reasons (for example, because a dataset is too large), it should be made freely (without restriction on its use