NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
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Support for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation (under grant no. OCE-9729508), the National Institutes of Health (under purchase order no. 467-MZ-801699), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (under contract no. 43NANB909028), the Department of Interior, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (through the aforementioned National Science Foundation grant no. OCE-9729508), and the Department of Energy (under contract no. DE-FG02-96ER30277).
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Copies of the study committee's report, A Question of Balance: Private Rights and the Public Interest in Scientific and Technical Databases, are available from
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Copyright © 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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COMMITTEE FOR A STUDY ON PROMOTING ACCESS TO SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL DATA FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST
Robert J. Serafin,
National Center for Atmospheric Research,
I. Trotter Hardy,
College of William & Mary, School of Law
Maureen C. Kelly,
Peter R. Leavitt,
Lee E. Limbird,
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Harlan J. Onsrud,
University of Maine
Harvey S. Perlman,
University of Nebraska, College of Law
Roberta P. Saxon, Skjerven, Morrill, MacPherson,
Franklin & Friel, LLP
University of California at Berkeley
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
Martha E. Williams,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
National Research Council Staff
Paul F. Uhlir, Study Director
Julie M. Esanu, Program/Research Associate
Pamela Gamble, Administrative Assistant
Barbara Wright, Administrative Assistant
COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS
Peter M. Banks,
ERIM International, Inc.,
W. Carl Lineberger,
University of Colorado,
William F. Ballhaus, Jr.,
Lockheed Martin Corporation
University of California at Davis
Marshall H. Cohen,
California Institute of Technology
Ronald G. Douglas,
Texas A&M University
Samuel H. Fuller,
Analog Devices, Inc.
Jerry P. Gollub,
Michael F. Goodchild,
University of California at Santa Barbara
Martha P. Haynes,
Wesley T. Huntress, Jr.,
Carol M. Jantzen,
Savannah River Technology Center
Paul G. Kaminski,
Kenneth H. Keller,
University of Minnesota
John R. Kreick,
Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company (retired)
Marsha I. Lester,
University of Pennsylvania
Dusa M. McDuff,
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Chevy Chase, Maryland
M. Elisabeth Paté-Cornell,
Nicholas P. Samios,
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Robert J. Spinrad,
Xerox Corporation (retired)
Executive Director (through July 1999)
MYRON F. UMAN,
Acting Executive Director (as of August 1999)
In response to a request from several federal science agencies, the Committee for a Study on Promoting Access to Scientific and Technical Data for the Public Interest see (Appendix A) undertook a study to identify and evaluate the various existing and proposed policy approaches (including related legal, economic, and technical considerations) for protecting the proprietary rights of private-sector database rights holders while promoting and enhancing access to scientific and technical (S&T) data for public-interest uses. Specifically, the sponsors asked the study committee to address the following issues:
Describe the salient characteristics and importance of scientific and technical databases in research, both in general categories and using specific examples.
Describe the practices of the production, dissemination, and use of S&T data in the federal, not-for-profit, and commercial contexts.
Identify the major incentives and disincentives in the production, dissemination, and use of S&T data in the federal, not-for-profit, and commercial contexts.
Review the key elements of existing and proposed intellectual property rights regimes for noncopyrightable databases and other “collections of information,” including technical protection measures, with specific emphasis on S&T databases. Also review the federal government policies regarding scientific data production, protection, dissemination, and use, particularly for data produced or disseminated by nongovernment entities under an agreement with government, including with government funding.
Consider the pros and cons of legal, policy, and technical options identified in response to item 4 above, with particular attention to balancing the interests of S&T database providers and disseminators in protecting their investments with the interests of promoting access to and use of S&T data for research and other public-interest uses.
Identify issues that require further analysis and resolution, and how to address them.
Provide conclusions and recommendations where possible, or otherwise provide an assessment of options.
In responding to its charge, the committee made significant efforts to obtain broad input from representatives of the main identified interest groups, primarily through a workshop that was held on January 14-15, 1999, at the main Department of Commerce building in Washington, D.C. (Appendix B gives the agenda and lists the participants). This publication is the proceedings of that workshop, which were taped, and then subsequently transcribed and edited. In addition, the committee also commissioned a paper, “Raw Knowledge: Protecting Technical Databases for Science and Industry,” for use at its workshop see (Appendix C). The views expressed in this Proceedings report are solely those of the individual authors and workshop participants. It does not provide conclusions or recommendations.
The committee also met on two other occasions to gather information and to work on its study report, A Question of Balance: Private Rights and the Public Interest in Scientific and Technical Databases, which is available online via the National Academies Web site at <www.nap.edu> and in hard copy from the Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications and the National Academy Press.
It is our hope that these Proceedings, along with the committee's report, will help the sponsors of the study, the legislators examining database protection proposals, and the broader
The study committee wishes to express its sincere thanks to the many individuals who played significant roles in the completion of this study. The committee sponsored the Workshop on Promoting Access to Scientific and Technical Data for the Public Interest: An Assessment of Policy Options on January 14-15, 1999, at the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and it extends its thanks to the following individuals who made presentations during the January 14, 1999, plenary session: Q. Todd Dickinson, acting commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, Department of Commerce, gave the keynote address; Barbara Ryan of the U.S. Geological Survey and Barry Glick, formerly with GeoSystems Global Corporation, participated in the geographic data panel; G. Christian Overton of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioinformatics, James Ostell of the National Library of Medicine 's National Center for Biotechnology Information, and Myra Williams with the Molecular Applications Group participated in the genomic data panel; Richard Kayser of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, James Lohr of the American Chemical Society's Chemical Abstracts Service, and Leslie Singer of ISI, Inc., participated in the panel that discussed chemical and chemical engineering data; Kenneth Hadeen of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 's National Climatic Data Center (retired), David Fulker of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research's Unidata Program, and Robert Brammer of TASC participated in the meteorological data panel; Richard Gilbert of the University of California at Berkeley discussed economic factors in the production, dissemination, and use of scientific and technical databases in the public and private sectors; Stephen Maurer, attorney, submitted a commissioned paper for the study (reprinted as Appendix C of this Proceedings report); Teresa Lunt of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center provided an overview of the current situation and future prospects with respect to technologies for protecting and also for misappropriating digital intellectual property rights; Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights in the Library of Congress, provided a summary overview of the existing and proposed intellectual property rights regimes for databases; and Justin Hughes, of the Department of Commerce's Patent and Trademark Office, summarized the relevant federal government information law and data policies. The aforementioned data panelists also participated in the January 14, 1999, discussion sessions on not-for-profit-sector data, government-sector data, and commercial-sector data.
The committee would also like to thank those who participated as panelists in the January 15, 1999, discussion sessions on the potential impacts of legislation and assessments of policy options during the workshop. Jon Baumgarten of Proskauer Rose LLP, Peter Jaszi of the American University School of Law, James Neal of the John Hopkins University Library, and Ferris Webster of the University of Delaware joined Kenneth Hadeen, David Fulker, and Robert Brammer in discussing what would happen should Congress decide to enact a strong property rights model for protecting databases. Dennis Benson of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Jonathan Band of Morrison & Foerster, LLP, and Thomas Rindfleisch of Stanford University's Lane Medical Library discussed, with Chris Overton and Myra Williams, the possible scenarios should Congress enact an unfair competition model for protecting databases. Prue Adler of the Association of Research Libraries, Eric Massant of Reed Elsevier, Inc., Tim Foresman of the University of Maryland, and Kenneth Frazier of the University of Wisconsin Libraries joined Barry Glick in a discussion assessing legal and policy options in promoting access to and use of government scientific and technical data for the public interest. Finally, Jerome Reichman of the Vanderbilt University School of Law and R. Stephen Berry of the
University of Chicago discussed possible legal and policy options associated with promoting access to and use of not-for-profit-sector S&T data for the public interest with Richard Kayser, James Lohr, and Leslie Singer. The committee is also very appreciative of the contributions of more than 100 individuals who attended the workshop. In addition, it extends its gratitude to Jean Schiro-Zavela, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Justin Hughes, of the Patent and Trademark Office, for helping to make arrangements for the workshop.
These Proceedings have been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical and legal expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. The study committee would like to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of these Proceedings: George Annas of Boston University, Boie Carroll of Information International Associates, Inc., John Estes of the University of California at Santa Barbara, David Lide, Jr., publishing consultant, and Goetz Oertel of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy.
Finally, the committee would like to recognize the contributions of the National Research Council staff without whom this report could not have been completed: Paul Uhlir, director of International Scientific and Technical Information Programs of the Office of International Affairs, who served as study director and organized the workshop and other study committee meetings; Julie Esanu, who provided research and program assistance to the committee, as well as editorial work on the workshop Proceedings; Barbara Wright and Pamela Gamble for the staff support to the committee; and Susan Maurizi and Janet Overton, who edited the final committee report and the Proceedings.