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Freedom of access to primary experimental data

> to IUBG

For science to progress it is critical that research results are disseminated as widely as possible, and in particular that primary experimental data are freely available in perpetuity. In 1998, as a result of concern amongst the scientific community over this issue, the International Council for Science (ICSU) set up an Inter-Union Bioinformatics Group (IUBG) to consider this and related matters with particular emphasis on bioinformatics. The issue of free access is particularly relevant just now in relation to the availability of data from genomic and proteomic studies.

The purpose of the group was defined as follows:

  • To monitor worldwide developments in bioinformatics
  • To take measures as required to ensure and facilitate inter-process communication, such as standardization of data formats
  • To act when the continuity or reliability of key informatics providers is endangered
  • To act when the free access to data in the public domain is endangered
  • To catalyse actions by the appropriate authorities in areas of the world where Internet access to servers and data providers is technically inadequate
  • To organize relevant educational activities.

The membership of the group's Steering Committee is as follows:

  • Herman J.C. Berendsen (former president IUPAB), Secretary
  • Helen M. Berman (IUCr)
  • Richard Cammack (IUBMB)
  • Charles Cantor (former IUPAB Council)
  • Jean Garnier (President IUPAB), Chairman
  • Arthur Lesk (representing CODATA)
  • Alan McNaught (IUPAC)
  • Richard Roberts (ICSU)
  • M. Vijayan (IUPAB, IUCr)

IUBG has recently produced a report covering many of the above topics, which was endorsed by ICSU in September 2002, and is available on the web site: http://md.chem.rug.nl/~berends/IUBG-FinalReport.html.

It contains a number of statements and recommendations to International Unions, to scientific societies, to funding agencies, to legislators, to for-profit organizations, to publishers and authors, to committees for nomenclature and standardization, and to educational institutions. These are reproduced below. In the coming months, the members of IUBG Steering Committee will be contacting the various bodies to whom the recommendations are addressed. To help with dissemination, IUBG would be grateful if IUPAC members would draw the attention of relevant bodies in their own countries to the report's contents.

Alan McNaught

> Link to Statements and Recommendations from the Inter-Union Bioinformatics Group (IUBG) <http://md.chem.rug.nl/~berends/IUBG-FinalReport.html>


> News to be published in Chem. Int.

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