OECD Committee for Scientific & Technological Policy: Declaration on Access to Research Data from Public Funding

From: Prof Bruce Royan <bruce.royan_at_concurrentcomputing.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2004 20:42:28 +0000

Part of the Final Communique of the Meeting of the OECD Ministerial
Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (29-30 January 2004)
is the following declaration, which underlines points I suggested should
be in CILIP's submission to Select Committee Inquiry into Scientific

Prof B Royan www.concurrentcomputing.co.uk
Concurrent Computing Ltd, 41 Greenhill Gardens
Edinburgh, EH10 4BL United Kingdom
+44 1314 4731 51 +44 77 1374 4731

-----Original Message-----

adopted on 30 January 2004 in Paris

The governments of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, the Czech
Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland,
Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands,
New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, the Slovak
Republic, the Republic of South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey,
the United Kingdom, and the United States

o Recognising that an optimum international exchange of data, information
and knowledge contributes decisively to the advancement of scientific
research and innovation;

o Recognising that open access to, and unrestricted use of, data promotes
scientific progress and facilitates the training of researchers;

o Recognising that open access will maximise the value derived from public
investments in data collection efforts;

o Recognising that the substantial increase in computing capacity enables
vast quantities of digital research data from public funding to be put to
use for multiple research purposes by many research institutes of the
global science system, thereby substantially increasing the scope and
scale of research;

o Recognising the substantial benefits that science, the economy and
society at large could gain from the opportunities that expanded use of
digital data resources have to offer, and recognising the risk that undue
restrictions on access to and use of research data from public funding
could diminish the quality and efficiency of scientific research and

o Recognising that optimum availability of research data from public
funding for developing countries will enhance their participation in the
global science system, thereby contributing to their social and economic

o Recognising that the disclosure of research data from public funding may
be constrained by domestic law on national security, the protection of
privacy of citizens and the protection of intellectual property rights and
trade secrets that may require additional safeguards;

o Recognising that on some of the aspects of the accessibility of research
data from public funding, additional measures have been taken or will be
introduced in OECD countries and that disparities in national regulations
could hamper the optimum use of publicly funded data on the national and
international scales;

o Considering the beneficial impact of the establishment of OECD
Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal
Data (1980, 1985 and 1998) and the OECD Guidelines for the Security of
Information Systems and Networks (1992, 1997 and 2002) on international
policies for access to digital data;


* Work towards the establishment of access regimes for digital research
data from public funding in accordance with the following objectives and

o Openness: balancing the interests of open access to data to increase the
quality and efficiency of research and innovation with the need for
restriction of access in some instances to protect social, scientific and
economic interests.

o Transparency: making information on data-producing organisations,
documentation on the data they produce and specifications of conditions
attached to the use of these data, available and accessible

o Legal conformity: paying due attention, in the design of access regimes
for digital research data, to national legal requirements concerning
national security, privacy and trade secrets.

o Formal responsibility: promoting explicit, formal institutional rules on
the responsibilities of the various parties involved in data-related
activities pertaining to authorship, producer credits, ownership, usage
restrictions, financial arrangements, ethical rules, licensing terms, and

o Professionalism: building institutional rules for the management of
digital research data based on the relevant professional standards and
values embodied in the codes of conduct of the scientific communities

o Protection of intellectual property: describing ways to obtain open
access under the different legal regimes of copyright or other
intellectual property law applicable to databases as well as trade

o Interoperability: paying due attention to the relevant international
standard requirements for use in multiple ways, in co-operation with other
international organisations.

o Quality and security: describing good practices for methods, techniques
and instruments employed in the collection, dissemination and accessible
archiving of data to enable quality control by peer review and other means
of safeguarding authenticity, originality, integrity, security and
establishing liability.

o Efficiency: promoting further cost effectiveness within the global
science system by describing good practices in data management and
specialised support services.

o Accountability: evaluating the performance of data access regimes to
maximise the support for open access among the scientific community and
society at large.

* Seek transparency in regulations and policies related to information,
computer and communications services affecting international flows of data
for research, and reducing unnecessary barriers to the international
exchange of these data;

* Take the necessary steps to strengthen existing instruments and - where
appropriate - create within the framework of international and national
law, new mechanisms and practices supporting international collaboration
in access to digital research data;

* Support OECD initiatives to promote the development and harmonisation of
approaches by governments adhering to this Declaration aimed at maximising
the accessibility of digital research data;

* Consider the possible implications for other countries, including
developing countries and economies in transition, when dealing with issues
of access to digital research data.


To develop a set of OECD guidelines based on commonly agreed principles to
facilitate optimal cost-effective access to digital research data from
public funding, to be endorsed by the OECD Council at a later stage.


The Full communique
is available from the OECD's website www.oecd.org.

Received on Wed Feb 04 2004 - 20:42:28 GMT

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