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  Washington Highlights Association of American Medical Colleges, Jordan J. Cohen, M.D. - President

January 19, 2001

Spending Bill Contains Provision for "Data Quality"

A little noticed provision within last month's consolidated appropriations legislation (P.L. 106-554) requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) this year to issue guidelines for "ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity" of data, statistics, and other information released by federal agencies.

The trade newspaper Chemical and Engineering News Jan. 8 reported that the provision, inserted by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), is related to the 1999 Shelby Amendment requiring access to data generated under federal grants to universities and other non-profit research institutions. According to the Chemical and Engineering News report, both measures were supported by industry groups seeking broader powers to contest the accuracy of data supporting environmental and other regulations.

Specifically, the Treasury-Postal section of P.L. 106-554 requires OMB, working with other federal agencies, to issue guidelines for enhancing the quality of data disseminated by these agencies and to provide better mechanisms for review and correction. There are no indications at this time how the OMB will proceed with this requirement or if the resulting guidelines could affect federally supported university-based research cited in federal policy or regulation.

Information: Steve Heinig, AAMC Division of Biomedical and Health Sciences Research, 202-828-0488.

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30 April 2002