Sponsors and supporters of the Research Works Act keep claiming that it doesn’t cover “the raw data generated by government-funded research”  or “raw data outputs” . That’s not what I get from a direct reading of the bill. The relevant sentence reads:
“Such term does not include progress reports or raw data outputs routinely required to be created for and submitted directly to a funding agency in the course of research.”
This doesn’t say it excludes raw data. It says some complicated thing about it excluding raw data that is routinely required to be submitted directly to the funding agency. There aren’t many NIH or NSF program officers I know who want me to routinely sent them all my raw data, and many data repositories are not hosted at funding agencies.
This means that practically all “published” research datasets (including those in tables, supplementary information, and presumably non-federal data archives) are subject to the Research Works Act. On purpose or because of poor sentence structure? I don’t know, but the effect is the same.
Read the bill again with data in mind [comments added]:
No Federal agency may adopt, implement, maintain, continue, or otherwise engage in any policy, program, or other activity that–
(1) causes, permits, or authorizes network dissemination of any private-sector research work [government-funded investigator dataset] without the prior consent of the publisher of such work [who would be considered publishers? publishers of the articles that describe the data collection? data archives too?]; or
(2) requires that any actual or prospective author, or the employer of such an actual or prospective author, assent to network dissemination ["distributing, making available, or otherwise offering or disseminating a private-sector research work through the Internet or by a closed, limited, or other digital or electronic network or arrangement"] of a private-sector research work [government-funded investigator dataset].
Insane. The government can’t *permit* (let alone require) the *making available* of data *on a closed digital network* (let alone the internet) without the publisher’s approval? Data they funded collecting?
ok I think writing that down has disgusted me so much that I’m done thinking about the Research Works Act for now. It is just insulting.
Stand up against the AAP and everyone who supports this.