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Data Access

OMB Issues Proposed Revisions to Circular A-110 Pursuant to Data Access Law

In compliance with the Data Access Act, OMB issued a proposed rule to revise Circular A-110 and requested public comments on that rule in the Federal Register on February 4, 1999 ( 64 Fed. Reg. 5684). Comments are due to OMB by April 5, 1999.

Under the proposed rule, OMB sought to implement the statutory requirement for Data Access by amending section ___.36 of Circular A-110 (Grants and agreements with higher education institutions, hospitals, and other nonprofit organizations; uniform administrative requirements) in the following manner:

(c) The Federal Government has the right to (1) obtain, reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the data first produced under an award, and (2) authorize others to receive, reproduce, publish, or otherwise use such data for Federal purposes. In addition, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for data relating to published research findings produced under an award that were used by the Federal Government in developing policy or rules, the Federal awarding agency shall, within a reasonable time, obtain the requested data so that they can be made available to the public through the procedures established under the FOIA. If the Federal awarding agency obtains the data solely in response to a FOIA request, the agency may charge the requester a reasonable fee equaling the full incremental cost of obtaining the data. This fee should reflect costs incurred by the agency, the recipient, and applicable subrecipients. This fee is in addition to any fees the agency may assess under the FOIA.

The statutory language for Data Access and the subsequently proposed OMB rule for its implementation are succinct. In other words, they do not provide a significant amount of detail for the implementation of those provisions. Therefore, a number of significant issues must be resolved during the comment period to flesh out both the OMB and agency regulations. Thus, CRE urges interested parties to submit comments to OMB by the April 5th deadline.

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