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PROCEEDINGS OF THE WORKSHOP ON PROMOTING ACCESS TO SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL DATA FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST: AN ASSESSMENT OF POLICY OPTIONS 1 Introductory Remarks Robert Serafin Let me welcome you all and thank you for agreeing to be part of the National Research Council's Workshop on Promoting Access to Scientific and Technical Data for the Public Interest: An Assessment of Policy Options. The workshop is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Federal Geogaphic Data Committee, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. I would also like to thank Jean Schiro-Zavela of NOAA and Justin Hughes of the Patent and Trademark Office for helping to make arrangements for the meeting. The National Research Council (NRC) is the operating arm of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. Its job is to provide advice on science and technology and issues related to health, primarily to the federal government. A word about myself. I am Bob Serafin, the director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. NCAR is a not-for-profit, university-based organization operated by 62 universities in this country. NCAR's work is heavily dependent on very diverse data sets, involving both having access to those data sets as well as generating complex and large data sets, which are ultimately added to the body of knowledge and disseminated to the research community. The purpose of this NRC workshop is to develop a better understanding of existing and proposed technical, legal, and policy options for protecting proprietary rights, as well as promoting access to scientific and technical data, particularly for public interest uses, including research, education, availability in libraries, and so forth. We have assembled a broad and diverse group of well-informed participants for this workshop. It is my opinion that the success of any workshop, any activity of this type, depends on the quality of the people involved. I noticed that during our breakfast session there have already been a number of good, active discussions; and that is one of the things that we are really trying to accomplish here. The design of the workshop is to build on a series of discussions. The workshop will begin with an examination of four types of scientific and technical S&T data: geographic data, genomic data, chemical and chemical engineering data, and meteorological data. These data presentations should essentially provide examples and context for the discussions we will have later this afternoon concerning the economic, technical, legal, and policy issues related to the protection of S&T data. That essentially sets the stage for the discussion sessions that will begin in the evening, and then continue again tomorrow. We will have a summary session tomorrow morning, a second set of breakout sessions later in the day, and then a final summary tomorrow afternoon.
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