CRE Analysis of Public Comments to OMB on Proposed Revision to Circular A-110
The following are the major issues that public commenters raised with OMB. CRE recommends that each of these issues be addressed to ensure the smoothest possible implementation of the new Data Access law. CRE's position on these issues is subject to change in response to comments submitted to the Interactive Public Docket.
1. Scope -- What government activity should trigger Data Access?
2. Do existing exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) still apply, and are they adequate to protect the data in question?
3. What is the scope of the data that can be reached under the revised Circular A-110?
4. Will the new Data Access law be applied retroactively?
5. Potential for misinterpretation of data.
6. Will the proposed OMB revision to Circular A-110 be able to protect intellectual property rights?
7. Potential for breach of patient/subject confidentiality.
8. The term "published" leaves open to question exactly what data must be released under the new law.
9. Won't the Data Access provisions place considerable administrative burdens and costs upon grantee researchers?
10. How long would the grantee institution need to maintain research records?
11. The proposed revisions to OMB Circular A-110 would have a negative impact upon industry-university-government partnerships.
12. The proposed OMB revision does not define the term "data."
13. The proposed revision does not define the term "used" when providing for release of information "used" by the government in developing policies or rules (or regulations).
14. What type of enforcement mechanism is warranted in the event a grantee is unwilling to provide to the agency the data necessary to fill a FOIA request?
15. Potential Harassment of Researchers
16. Interface with State Privacy Laws
17. Won't the new Data Access provisions discourage researchers from accepting federal funds in conducting cutting-edge research?