At its December 7, 1992, meeting, the DOE-NIH Joint
Subcommittee on the Human Genome approved the following sharing
guidelines, developed from the DOE draft of September 1991.
The information and resources generated by the Human Genome
Project have become substantial, and the interest in having
access to them is widespread. It is therefore desirable to have a
statement of philosophy concerning the sharing of these resources
that can guide investigators who generate the resources as well
as those who wish to use them.
A key issue for the Human Genome Project is how to promote
and encourage the rapid sharing of materials and data that are
produced, especially information that has not yet been published
or may never be published in its entirety. Such sharing is
essential for progress toward the goals of the program and to
avoid unnecessary duplication. It is also desirable to make the
fruits of genome research available to the scientific community
as a whole as soon as possible to expedite research in other
Although it is the policy of the Human Genome Project to
maximize outreach to the scientific community, it is also
necessary to give investigators time to verify the accuracy of
their data and to gain some scientific advantage from the effort
they have invested. Furthermore, in order to assure that novel
ideas and inventions are rapidly developed to the benefit of the
public, intellectual property protection may be needed for some
of the data and materials.
After extensive discussion with the community of genome
researchers, the advisors of the NIH and DOE genome programs have
determined that consensus is developing around the concept that a
6-month period from the time the data or materials are generated
to the time they are made available publicly is a reasonable
maximum in almost all cases. More rapid sharing is encouraged.
Whenever possible, data should be deposited in public
databases and materials in public repositories. Where appropriate
repositories do not exist or are unable to accept the data or
materials, investigators should accommodate requests to the
The NIH and DOE genome programs have decided to require all
applicants expecting to generate significant amounts of genome
data or materials to describe in their application how and when
they plan to make such data and materials available to the
community. Grant solicitations will specify this requirement.
These plans in each application will be reviewed in the course of
peer review and by staff to assure they are reasonable and in
conformity with program philosophy. If a grant is made, the
applicant's sharing plans will become a condition of the award
and compliance will be reviewed before continuation funding is
provided. Progress reports will be asked to address the issue.
Text from Human Genome News, 4(5):4, January