subtle forms of professional isolation. Such cases may be well known to senior research investigators, but they are not well documented.

Some scientists may share materials as part of a collaborative agreement in exchange for co-authorship on resulting publications. Some donors stipulate that the shared materials are not to be used for applications already being pursued by the donor's laboratory. Other stipulations include that the material not be passed on to third parties without prior authorization, that the material not be used for proprietary research, or that the donor receive prepublication copies of research publications derived from the material. In some instances, so-called materials transfer agreements are executed to specify the responsibilities of donor and recipient. As more academic research is being supported under proprietary agreements, researchers and institutions are experiencing the effects of these arrangements on research practices.

Governmental support for research studies may raise fundamental questions of ownership and rights of control, particularly when data are subsequently used in proprietary efforts, public policy decisions, or litigation. Some federal research agencies have adopted policies for data sharing to mitigate conflicts over issues of ownership and access (NIH, 1987; NSF, 1989b).


Many research investigators store primary data in the laboratories in which the data were initially derived, generally as electronic records or data sheets in laboratory notebooks. For most academic laboratories, local customary practice governs the storage (or discarding) of research data. Formal rules or guidelines concerning their disposition are rare.

Many laboratories customarily store primary data for a set period (often 3 to 5 years) after they are initially collected. Data that support publications are usually retained for a longer period than are those tangential to reported results. Some research laboratories serve as the proprietor of data and data books that are under the stewardship of the principal investigator. Others maintain that it is the responsibility of the individuals who collected the data to retain proprietorship, even if they leave the laboratory.

Concerns about misconduct in science have raised questions about the roles of research investigators and of institutions in maintaining and providing access to primary data. In some cases of alleged misconduct, the inability or unwillingness of an investigator to provide

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