The Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy (JSC), a coalition of four basic biomedical research societies whose mission is to advocate federal funding for basic biomedical research, has asked scientists to respond to a recently proposed Fiscal Year 1999 Freedom of Information Act provision. The seemingly minor addition to last year's omnibus budget bill threatens to have a negative impact on scientific research (E. Russo, "Does accountability legislation threaten integrity of U.S. research enterprise?" The Scientist, 13[4]:1, Feb. 15, 1999).

By requiring federal agencies to publicly release all data generated in federally funded biomedical research, even if prior to peer review or publication, the legislation could endanger confidentiality of research subjects in clinical trials, and jeopardize relations between academic institutions and private businesses. Despite attempts by the government's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reduce the potential negative impact of the proposed regulations in a...

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