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    The Scientist: Free access costs money
    Submitted by Marcos Oliveira de Carvalho; posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003


    An article by Peg Brickley:

    ``Microarray researchers support data-sharing but still struggle to fund repositories.

    ``A recent National Academies of Science (NAS) report insisting that research data be shared openly was an easy sell to scientists. But convincing funding sources that they should help pay the freight for sharing huge loads of microarray data is not so easy, researchers say.

    ``Released in early February, the NAS study, `Sharing Publication-Related Data and Materials: Responsibilities of Authorship in the Biological Life Sciences,' concluded that scientists who publish findings have an ethical duty to allow free and open access to supporting data. Despite a policy of limiting access to specific `sensitive' data announced last week by a group of journal and author representatives, the principle of open data-sharing remains fundamental, say many researchers for whom the NAS report merely stated the obvious.

    ```That's a restatement of my own views, and probably the views of a majority of the community,' said Gavin Sherlock, director of microarray informatics at Stanford University.

    ``But if the ethics of data sharing are a given, the technology is a work in progress. Unlike genomic data, microarray expression data must be organized and labeled before researchers can work with it and communicate it to other scientists.''

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