Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 16:11:52 CST From: Ellen Johnson Subject: sharing data for free on internet I'm not really clear on how all this will affect linguists, but it is a warning that we may not be able to share our data over the internet if proposals in Congress to privatize access are passed. Ellen ______________________________ Forward Header __________________________________ Subject: More on CODATA "Bits of Power" study Author: Julian Humphries at INETGW Date: 4/11/97 11:14 AM A little more info on the Bits of Power study. What follows are the introductory remarks to the press provided by the chair of the study committee, Steve Berry. Anybody with additional questions about CODATA or its activities should feel free to contact me for information. ********************************************** Public Briefing April 10, 1997 OPENING STATEMENT R. Stephen Berry James Franck Distinguished Service Professor Department of Chemistry and the James Franck Institute The University of Chicago and Chair, Committee on Issues in the Transborder Flow of Scientific Data National Research Council Good morning. I welcome you today as we release the report Bits of Power: Issues in Global Access to Scientific Data. This report represents the work of a National Research Council committee that I have chaired during the past two years. At the behest of the U.S. National Committee for CODATA (Committee on Data for Science and Technology of the International Council of Scientific Unions), our study group has investigated the changing environment for the international exchange of data in the natural sciences. We have completed our study and now offer our conclusions and recommendations in this report. I shall assume that we all share the view that research in the natural sciences is a necessary component of our society, and that maintaining the health of this enterprise is something we all consider important. Scientific data are essential to that health; without ready access to data, scientists could not conduct their research. Fostered by the tools of modern electronic communication, the nature of science today is perhaps the most truly international of all human activities. In carrying out our research, we scientists exchange ideas and data as readily with colleagues in Tokyo or Sydney or Berlin as we do with those in our own universities or federal laboratories. A fundamental principle underlies our report which embodies this characteristic in the context of data: Full and open exchange of scientific data -- the "bits of power" on which the health of the scientific enterprise depends -- is vital for the nation's progress and for maximizing the social benefits that accrue from science worldwide. This principle of "full and open exchange" means that data and information derived from publicly funded research should be available with as few restrictions as possible, on a non-discriminatory basis, for no more than the cost of reproduction and distribution. This principle -- sometimes called "the Bromley principle" -- was first enunciated in the context of global change research, in a statement of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in July, 1991. Two trends, sometimes in conflict, are challenging the attainment of full and open sharing of scientific data across national boundaries. One is the rapid increase in volume of data that stems from technical advances such as computers, networks, and remote sensors. The other is a global trend toward imposing economic and legal restrictions on access to scientific data derived from publicly funded research. The first trend forces scientists to re-examine how they carry out their own work, and the second, to involve themselves in the formation of public policies that will affect their capabilities for doing research. One manifestation of these trends acting in concert is the growing congestion of the Internet. This stems from the simultaneous needs of scientists to exchange ever-larger volumes of data, and the evolution of the primary role of the Internet from a medium of scientific communication to a medium of commerce and entertainment. The committee is particularly concerned about possible changes to treaties and laws covering intellectual property, which would have adverse effects on the conduct of science. The problem reached a crux with current attempts, both national and international, to establish a new legal framework that threatens to subordinate the needs of scientists and others working in the public interest, to the interests of entrepreneurs in the business of selling databases. Put in perspective, the challenge of the underlying issue is finding a balance between the protection of public goods and the protection of individual intellectual property. Unfortunately, the concerns of the scientific and educational communities went unheard in the dialogue until very recently. The committee believes that it is imperative for the scientific community to have a part in formulating the structures that will suitably balance the public and private interests. This is especially important now because the World Intellectual Property Organization is considering a new treaty on database protection, and related proposals to enact domestic legislation protecting databases are under consideration for Congressional action. We view proposals that have appeared thus far as extremely threatening to the conduct of scientific research. They would remove the "fair use" exemptions which have long allowed scientists and educators to use copyrighted materials free or at very reduced costs, specifically for purposes such as research and teaching. These proposals would create exclusive, monopolistic rights of virtually unlimited duration for database owners, and would make it extremely difficult in many cases for competitive data-suppliers to enter the market. The committee recommends, as a general principle, that full and open access be adopted as the international norm for scientific data derived from publicly funded research. More specific recommendations fall into four categories: legal issues, economic issues, technological issues, and, of course, data issues internal to the natural sciences. The five recommendations concerning legal issues are directed toward the Office of Science and Technology Policy, science agencies and professional societies including CODATA, and all others concerned with sustaining the health of the scientific enterprise. First, these bodies should advocate and explain to all relevant legislative forums the principle of full and open exchange of scientific data. Second, they should demand that national and international legislative processes now in progress allow the scientific and educational communities to participate in the dialogue and present their views. This must be done to achieve a balance between concerns for public goods and for private intellectual property. Third, these groups should advocate the incorporation of fair use principles into any legislation or regulation structure applying to scientific data on electronic media. Fourth, these bodies and individuals should work with Congress and the U.S. representatives to the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization to resist measures that could weaken the nation's preeminence in science and technology. Finally, these issues should be pursued not only within the United States but also internationally, through international scientific organizations and U.S. foreign policy channels concerned with intellectual property. The dominant economic concerns of the report stem from the ways and means by which scientific data are generated, archived and distributed, and with the trend toward commercialization of increasing quantities of data. Some of this commercialization is privatization of activities that were previously done by governments, and some is entry of governments into commercial vending of data. One might initially suppose that privatizing the distribution of scientific data would be desirable. However, a careful analysis shows that the market for scientific data is very different from those of ordinary commerce, and that privatization may, in many situations, be undesirable for the society as a whole. The committee recommends a set of economic criteria for structuring facilities and institutions for the distribution of scientific data generated by public funding. Within the sciences, relevant scientific organizations should examine the development of better coordinated networks of data centers. Planning is needed now to find stable ways to maintain the effectiveness of the Internet or some variant thereof for exchange of scientific information. Scientists who generate data through publicly funded research should make their results available as soon as possible. If they wish to hold a data set for some period in order to explore its consequences, the duration of that period should be established by the particular scientific communities, and adherence should be monitored by the appropriate funding agency. The Office of Science and Technology Policy should develop an overall policy for the long-term retention of scientific data. Finally, a variety of efforts, including aid in the form of computers and networks, is needed to assist developing countries to participate fully in electronic data management and exchange for research and education--for their benefit and ours. Thank you all. We would like to begin now to take your questions. Would you come to one of the standing microphones and state your name and affiliation before you begin your question? Received: from by INETGW.WKU.EDU (SMTPLINK V2.11 PreRelease 4) ; Fri, 11 Apr 97 11:14:10 CST Return-Path: Received: from cmsa.Berkeley.EDU by (MX V4.3 Alpha) with SMTP; Fri, 11 Apr 1997 11:14:02 CDT Received: from CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU by cmsa.Berkeley.EDU (IBM VM SMTP V2R3) with BSMTP id 4362; Fri, 11 Apr 97 09:10:21 PDT Received: from CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU (NJE origin LISTSERV[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UCBCMSA) by CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU (LMail V1.2a/1.8a) with BSMTP id 6414; Fri, 11 Apr 1997 09:10:13 -0700 Received: from CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU by CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU (LISTSERV release 1.8b) with NJE id 7987 for TAXACOM[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU; Fri, 11 Apr 1997 09:10:08 -0700 Received: from UCBCMSA (NJE origin SMTPSERV[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UCBCMSA) by CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU (LMail V1.2a/1.8a) with BSMTP id 6388; Fri, 11 Apr 1997 09:08:16 -0700 Received: from by cmsa.Berkeley.EDU (IBM VM SMTP V2R3) with TCP; Fri, 11 Apr 97 09:08:11 PDT Received: from [] by; (5.65v3.2/ id AA06552; Fri, 11 Apr 1997 11:09:44 -0500 X-Sender: julian[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Pro Version 3.0.1 (16) MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" Message-ID: <[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]> Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 11:10:07 -0400 Reply-To: Julian Humphries Sender: Biological Systematics Discussion List From: Julian Humphries Subject: More on CODATA "Bits of Power" study To: Multiple recipients of list TAXACOM In-Reply-To: