sharing, the committee assigns no value judgment to either end of the continuum of possible actions; that a continuum exists, however, must be recognized and dealt with. The priority that phase 1 projects place on establishing collaborative groups will dictate that attention be paid to data-sharing mechanisms. As part of this effort, phase 1 projects should explore methods to ensure that preliminary data are clearly labeled and that proper credit will be given to those who contribute data for sharing. The committee also encourages examination of the effects of policies already in place—those developed by the journals devoted to gene mapping and protein and gene sequencing —that require data deposit as a condition of publication. In addition, the committee supports the concept that university tenure committees should begin to consider which kinds of data sharing should be viewed as evidence of professional competence, comparable to journal publication and teaching evaluations.

If electronic resources are to be accepted and utilized, scientists must trust the accuracy of the information contained within the resource. Therefore, phase 1 projects must begin to find ways to ensure such accuracy, especially of information included in reference databases, data banks, and registries. Mechanisms are needed to ensure the appropriate use of different levels of data and to permit the deletion of information that becomes obsolete. Such mechanisms may include management of the database by an editor (or group of editors) who is an expert in the field and whose function would be analogous to that of a journal editor.

Another important sociological issue facing phase 1 projects is the acceptance of standards for data representation, data entry, nomenclature, and methods of data annotation. Currently accepted methods of representing data lack the level of precision required for coordinated computer resources. The committee thus agrees with the views of task force and other study participants that such standards are needed but that they should evolve from experience and should be based on the needs of users, rather than imposed from some outside source.

In terms of the proposed complex's technical and architectural requirements, definition and specification are impossible in the absence of a concerted, hands-on effort to construct a usable computer resource. The committee received valuable advice from its members, from task force participants, and from other experts with experience in these kinds of efforts (see Chapter 5 ), and this advice is encompassed in a general framework in four areas that should be explored by phase 1 investigators. Database management technology is the first: in database planning, phase 1 investigators are encouraged to seek input from such resources as the National Center for Biotechnol-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement