providing requestors with detailed protocols and advice regarding their synthesis, or with information on how they were obtained. Stock centers and repositories (such as museum collections and herbaria, the Jackson Laboratories and the American Type Culture Collection) constitute another appropriate alternative for distribution or maintenance of certain materials and are standard for systematic and evolutionary biology, including paleontology.

Because large-scale data assemblies can be extremely expensive to produce initially, authors should not have to make them available free.

Part of the responsibility of publishing is to share what is integral or central to the findings of a publication in exchange for credit and acknowledgment of research achievements. The commercial market has mechanisms other than publishing for making data available by subscription. The costs associated with distributing and updating a publication-related dataset might reasonably be charged to users if no public archive is available, but it is not appropriate to impose a charge to recoup the original costs of production. In the future, National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded scientists might be able to request supplemental support to an existing grant to help distribute data (NIH, 2003).

It is not always possible to distribute materials or freely share data because of prior contractual agreements made with a research sponsor.

If a contractual agreement (for example, between an academic researcher and an industrial sponsor of the research) prohibits such sharing, the researcher should not publish. Researchers who wish to publish should avoid entering into contractual agreements that prevent unconstrained sharing of publication-related data or materials.

Researchers should have an exclusive right to analyze, or “mine,” the data they produce for a specified period after publication. The delayed release of full datasets in some disciplines should be permitted.

Science moves forward most rapidly when the research community has the ability to view and use all the data integral to a published research

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