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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, September 1991; 3(3)

DOE OHER Proposes Guidelines for Access to Its Human Genome Program Data and Material Resources

The information and resources generated by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Health and Environmental Research (DOE OHER) Human Genome Program have become sizeable, and the number of collaborations is growing steadily. Because of this, DOE OHER is planning to adopt the following guidelines to govern access to DNA mapping and sequencing data and the sharing of materials. It is expected that adoption of these guidelines will be an agenda item of the next DOE-NIH Joint Subcommittee on the Human Genome, which will meet in Irvine, California, in January 1992.

Although the desire of DOE OHER is to maximize outreach to the scientific community, there is also an acute awareness of the investigator's need to maintain an edge in the present competition-driven environment. Genetic materials and information are being accumulated rapidly, and much of it is deposited in and available through various repositories (American Type Culture Collection, Genome Data Base, GenBank®, etc.).

For materials and information not yet in repositories, the following sharing guidelines for DOE Human Genome Program awardees, contractors, and grantees have been developed. These guidelines are the result of much internal discussion and consultation with investigators at several laboratories dealing with these issues; these guidelines were carefully considered by the DOE Human Genome Coordinating Committee.

Published Data

Information and materials either developed by or provided to a DOE awardee, contractor, or grantee and published in the open literature should be made freely available to the scientific community. Reasonable requests for information and materials should be honored to the extent that the DOE investigator has the resources to accommodate them.

Recipients should abide by any donor laboratory's requirements pertaining to further distribution, nomenclature, or proprietary rights. Proper acknowledgement of the donor laboratory should be made by the recipient in any subsequent publications and reports. There may be exceptions to this sharing policy for materials not originating in the laboratory of the DOE awardee, contractor, or grantee and covered under a separate third-party agreement.


Collaboration between an awardee, contractor, or grantee and a requestor is encouraged as a means of advancing the science and protecting the proprietary rights of the laboratory originating the data. The awardee should provide to collaborators, upon request, those materials (clones, cell lines, probes, etc.) relevant to the region of mutual interest and information on the status of the corresponding region of the larger physical/genetic map.

Suitable Delay

Unpublished information and materials also should be made available to the scientific community after a suitable delay that will give the originating scientist(s) time to do follow-up work. Specifically, data generated internally by the awardee, contractor, or grantee or through external collaboration should be entered into a database once the information is felt to be useful to the scientific community. At the time of entry, these data should be encoded with a time stamp. Information stored in the database should be made accessible no later than 6 months after data entry. Materials (cell lines, clones, probes, etc.) associated with the data should also be made accessible no later than 6 months after data entry.

The DOE awardee, contractor, or grantee should endeavor to accommodate the desires of all requestors. It is understood that, at times when this cannot be done, exceptions will have to be made.

All information and material resources ultimately should be available in a public database and/or repository. In addition, data of value to collaborators and other investigators but too detailed to be stored in central archives should be translated into machine-readable form and made directly accessible using standard methods and data query protocols via Internet.

If there are any questions or if concerns arise about these guidelines, please contact

  • Daniel W. Drell
    Office of Health and Environmental Research
    U.S. Department of Energy
    Washington, DC 20585
    301/353-4742, FTS 233-4742
    Fax: 301/353-5051, FTS 233-5051


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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v3n3).

Human Genome Project 1990–2003

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international 13-year effort, 1990 to 2003. Primary goals were to discover the complete set of human genes and make them accessible for further biological study, and determine the complete sequence of DNA bases in the human genome. See Timeline for more HGP history.

Human Genome News

Published from 1989 until 2002, this newsletter facilitated HGP communication, helped prevent duplication of research effort, and informed persons interested in genome research.