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A BILL TO PROVIDE A STANDARD REFERENCE
TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 1966
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:15 a.m., in room 25, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Emilio Q. Daddario (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. DADDARIO. This meeting will come to order.
We are happy to have as our first witness this morning Dr. Donald F. Hornig, who is the Director of the Office of Science and Technology, Today we begin hearings on H.R. 15638, a bill to provide for the collection, compilation, critical evaluation, publication, and sale of standard reference data.
This is an administration proposal which will set up a comprehensive Standard Reference Data System within the Department of Commerce to be administered by the National Bureau of Standards. This bill represents, to a degree, a continuation and expansion of work which is already going on within the Bureau of Standards.
Back in 1963 the Federal Council for Science and Technology, based upon the work of its Committee on Scientific Information, recommended the establishment of a National Standard Reference Data System within the Bureau of Standards, which was in fact created in June 1963 through the efforts of the Office of Science and Technology.
In essence, the program seeks to deal with one aspect of the broad science information problem by producing and disseminating compilations of critically evaluated, quantitative data on the physical and chemical properties of materials. It seeks to make data of known reliability conveniently available for use by scientists and engineers, thereby relieving them of the time-consuming necessity of searching the available literature and attempting to evaluate data in fields in which they may not be expert.
Dr. Hornig, we are always happy to have you here, and would like the benefit of your advice on the bill which is before us. We realize that you are not only the Director of the Office of Science and Technology, but also the Chairman of the Federal Council for Science and Technology, although I am not asking you to testify in that latter capacity.
(H.R. 15638 follows:)
[H.R. 15638, 89th Cong., 2d sess. ]
A BILL To provide for the collection, compilation, critical evaluation, publication, and
sale of standard reference data
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
DECLARATION OF POLICY
SECTION 1. The Congress hereby finds and declares that reliable standardized scientific and technical reference data are of vital importance to the progress of the Nation's science and technology. It is therefore the policy of the Congress to make critically evaluated reference data readily available to scientists, engineers, and the general public. It is the purpose of this Act to strengthen and enhance this policy.
SEC. 2. For the purposes of this Act
(a) The term “Standard Reference Data” means quantitative information, related to a measurable physical or chemical property of a substance or system of substances of known composition and structure, which is critically evaluated as to its reliability under section 3 of this Act.
(b) The term "Secretary” means the Secretary of Commerce.
SEC. 3. The Secretary is authorized and directed to provide or arrange for the collection, compilation, critical evaluation, publication, and dissemination of Standard Reference Data. In carrying out this program, the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, utilize the reference data services and facilities of other agencies and instrumentalities of the Federal Government and of State and local governments, persons, firms, institutions, and associations, with their consent and in such a manner as to avoid duplication of those services and facilities. All agencies and instrumentalities of the Federal Government are encouraged to exercise their duties and functions in such manner as will assist in carrying out the purpose of this Act. This section shall be deemed complementary to existing authority, and nothing herein is intended to repeal, supersede, or diminish existing authority or responsibility of any agency or instrumentality of the Federal Government.
SEC. 4. To provide for more effective integration and coordination of Standard Reference Data activities, the Secretary, in consultation with other interested Federal agencies, shall prescribe and publish in the Federal Register such standards, criteria, and procedures of the preparation and publication of Standard Reference Data as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.
SEC. 5. Standard Reference Data conforming to standards established by the Secretary may be published by the Secretary or by a person or agency designated by him without regard to the provision of section 11 of the Act of May 1, 1919 (ch. 86, 40 Stat. 1270; 44 U.S.C. 111), and may be sold by the Secretary or a person or agency designated by him at a price established without regard to the provisions of section 1 of the Act of May 11, 1922 (ch. 189, 42 Stat. 541 ; 44 U.S.C. 72), as amended, and section 307 of the Act of June 30, 1932 (ch. 314, 47 Stat. 409; 44 U.S.C. 72a). To the extent practicable and appropriate, such prices may reflect the cost of collection, compilation, evaluation, publication, or dissemination of such data, including administrative expenses and shall be subject to the Act of March 3, 1901 (ch. 872, 31 Stat. 1449 ; 15 U.S.C. 271–278e), as amended.
SEC. 6. The Secretary of Commerce shall adopt a symbol or mark which he may use, or may authorize to be used, in connection with the term “Standard Reference Data” on the data compilations provided for in this Act. Such symbol or mark shall be published in the Federal Register upon adoption.
SEC. 7. No person shall, without prior written authorization from the Secretary or his designee
(a) use the Standard Reference Data symbol or mark adopted pursuant to section 6 of this Act or any colorable imitation thereof, or
(b) copy any data compilation bearing the Standard Reference Data symbol or mark adopted pursuant to section 6 of this Act.
Sec. 8. (a) Whoever violates any provision of section 7 of this Act shall be subject to a civil penalty by the Secretary of not to exceed $100 for each such violation. As used in this subsection, the phrase "each such violation” means each copy of a publication which violates any provision of section 7 of this Act.
(b) Any such civil penalty may be compromised by the Secretary. The amount of such penalty, when finally determined, as the amount agreed upon in compromise, may be deducted from any sum owing by the United States to the person charged.
SEC. 9. (a) The United States district courts shall have jurisdiction to prevent and restrain violations of this Act. Upon request of the Secretary, the Attorney General on behalf of the United States may institute proceedings to prevent and restrain such violation. Action may be brought where the violation occurs, where any defendant may be found, or where any defendant resides. In any such action, the summons and complaint, and subpenas for witnesses, shall be served as provided in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure except that delivery of a summons and complaint may be made by certified mail beyond the territorial limitations of the district of the State in which the action is brought.
(b) In all injunction proceedings for the enforcement or to restrain violations of this Act, subpenas for witnesses who are required to attend a court of the United States in any district may run into any other district in any such proceeding.
Sec. 10. There are authorized to be appropriated such amounts as may be needed for the purpose of this Act.
SEC. 11. This Act may be cited as the Standard Reference Data Act.
STATEMENT OF DR. DONALD F. HORNIG, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Dr. HORNIG. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, it is always a pleasure to appear before this committee.
Today's session is an opportunity for me to address a subject which I consider to be of national importance and very directly relevant to my job of coordinating Federal activities in science and technology, and assuring that science and technology are used most effectively in the interests of the national welfare.
I greatly appreciate this opportunity to discuss H.R. 15638 in the context of the Standard Reference Data System. My remarks will be addressed to the Standard Reference Data System itself, and secondly, to the relationship of that data system to the total national scientific and technical information program.
With respect to the Standard Reference Data System, let me first identify what is meant by the term "standard reference data." In the course of research, development, and testing, many measurements are made. These measurements describe the properties of matterthe mechanical properties of materials, the masses of atoms, the rates of chemical reactions, the wavelengths of light in emission spectra, and many others.
These measurements are then recorded and published in the scientific and technical literature for others to use. It is essential for the efficient conduct of the national research and development program that measurements of this sort published in widely separated places, be collected and made available to the roughly 2 million scientists and engineers employed in the research and development effort.
They need ready access to this data in their day-to-day work of research and designing components, selecting materials, and building systems, from space vehicles to oil refining. Failure to find data which the user can trust-now, I emphasize this phrase "which the user can trust”-results in either rerunning experiments to establish the data, overdesign of components, faulty and wasted products, or abandonment of the effort.
The collection and evaluation of measurement data from the literature is so important that many of our large industrial concerns and our Government laboratories have for years maintained their own groups of highly skilled scientists and engineers to produce compilations of measurement data for the use of the laboratory or firms on research and development effort. In many cases these compilations find their way into the general public use, but in many other cases they remain of proprietary interest.
As you will hear in subsequent testimony, this is not a new subject. The establishment of critical tables is a long-standing national and indeed continuing international activity. I have some examples with me to show the committee the kind of thing that is put out. This is the last edition of the International Critical Tables, compiled in 1929. And this is as you see compilations of numbers. The original numbers appeared in scientific papers, because they were measured one at a time in the course of elaborate research.
To find the measurements in the original literature would take a lot of work on the part of an engineer or scientist, but by using these tables, he finds the numbers all compiled where he can have ready access to them.
Mr. DADDARIO. What does it cost to buy that book?
Dr. HORNIG. I am afraid I don't know the cost of the International Critical Tables volumes. I don't think it is in print any longer. I know libraries have it. I am not sure you can buy it. But perhaps Dr. Astin can answer that for you.
Mr. CONABLE. Is the information still accurate!
Dr. HORNIG. Oh, no. That is—some of it is, and some of it isn't. I can tell you from firsthand experience that this is always one of the problems. You look things up under International Critical Tables and the last reference is in the 1920's and yet almost all the researching in the world has been done since 1920.
Mr. DADDARIO. That gets back to the point “data that the user can trust."
Dr. HORNIG. Precisely.
Another example I have here. This is a compilation of data on the structure of crystals, which is published by the American Crystallographic Association.
Mr. CONABLE. The deterioration of this information as further research continues is likely to be a matter for the future as well as for the past, is it not?
Dr. HORNIG. Yes; this is why it is important to have a continuing activity, and the reason the Critical Tables ran out of gas is that the amount to be published and collected got to be too big for their staff and finances and they simply couldn't continue it any more.
And we are not the only ones. I have here a Russian compilation of thermodynamic data. They have a Russian publication program in the same area. It is not much use for people like me who don't read Russian. And this is a Department of Commerce publication on atomic transition probabilities. It is typical of the kind of thing that comes out of the Department of Commerce.