I write regarding the February 4 notice regarding the proposed amendment to Circular A-110. This amendment proposes regulations
regarding the release of scientific data by researchers who receive federal support. These regulations are of direct interest
to the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Our institution carries out fundamental research in astrophysics, planetary and
earth science, and biology. The work of the Institution's scientists is generously supported by grants from the NIH, NASA,
NSF, DOE, and USDA.
The Carnegie Institution welcomes the efforts of the OMB to develop proposed
regulations that would reduce the negative impact of the recent legislation by requiring that under the FOIA, federally-funded
scientists release "data relating to published research findings produced under an award that were used by the Federal
Government in developing policy or rules." Nevertheless, we are concerned that even the proposed OMB regulations will
have a damaging effect on the efforts of our scientific staff. Our most serious concern is that the regulations may force
scientists to release preliminary data before the scientists are satisfied of the data's integrity and reproducibility.
None of us can predict the ways in which aggressive individuals may pursue the opportunities afforded by the proposed regulations,
but many possible scenarios suggest that the damage to the enormously productive U.S. research enterprise can be significant.
Therefore, we urge the OMB to revise the proposed regulations so that they do not invite unanticipated and damaging requests
but rather limit the possible FOIA