cies should enter such agreements, and describes complementary strategies, such as creation of a National Commons and Marketplace in Geographic Data, to maximize access to data for research and other uses. A careful examination of a field where access to private data is necessary for the advance of research. These guidelines may become applicable to other fields in the future.
Seeking Security: Pathogens, Open Access, and Genome Databases (2004)
Committee on Genomics Databases for Bioterrorism Threat Agents, National Research Council
Synopsis: Examines the security implications of access to genomic data, concluding that continued open access to genomic data is the best approach. Recommends that professional societies educate researchers about the risks of research results being misused. An example of a field in which open access is the best approach to ensuring security.
Sharing Publication-Related Data and Materials: Responsibilities of Authorship in the Life Sciences (2003)
Committee on Responsibilities of Authorship in the Biological Sciences, National Research Council
Synopsis: The publication of experimental results and sharing of research materials related to those results have long been key elements of the life sciences. Over time, standard practices have emerged from communities of life scientists to facilitate the presentation and sharing of different types of data and materials. But recently a concern has emerged that, in practice, publication-related data and materials are not always readily available to the research community. This report finds that the life sciences community does possess commonly held ideas and values about the role of publication in the scientific process. Those ideas define the responsibilities of authors and underpin the development of community standards: practices for sharing data, software, and materials adopted by different disciplines of the life sciences to facilitate the use of scientific information and ensure its quality. The report is a very clear and thorough exploration of standards and expectations for making data accessible in an important field. The principles developed—that authors are required to make data available as a quid pro quo for publication, that authors are obligated to provide data and other materials in a form on which scientists can build further with research, and that all members of the scientific community have equal responsibility for upholding community standards—are consistent with those recommended by this study, and represent something of a “gold standard” that other fields might try to emulate.