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COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
Washington, January 20, 1950. B-88494. Hon. JOHN J. DEVINY, Public Printer.
MY DEAR MR. DEVINY: Reference is made to letter of this Office, B-88494, dated August 25, 1949, wherein you were advised that an investigation would be made into the propriety of certain contracts referred to in your letter of July 29, and that action would be taken by this Office in accordance with the results of such investigation.
Inasmuch as the Office of Scientific Research and Development, as such, no longer is in existence and because of the similarity of the contracts involved, the investigation was limited to the contract between the Atomic Energy Commission and the Trustees of Columbia University, and a related contract between the Atomic Energy Commission and the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.
Contract No. AT-30-1-GEN-72 between the Atomic Energy Commission and the Trustees of Columbia University provides for studies and investigations in the field of nuclear physics. By supplemental agreement No. dated October 15, 1947, such contract was amended to provide, in substance, that the contractor arrange for the publication of a technical series of declassified reports and possibly a technical series of classified reports concerning atomic energy research with the provision that the Atomic Energy Commission furnish, at its own expense, all copy in final form for photographic reproduction. Pursuant to such supplemental agreement, the Trustees of Columbia University, on May 24, 1948, by subcontract No. 4, contracted with the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., for the publication, sale and distribution of the “National Nuclear Energy Series” as approved for release to the public by the Atomic Energy Commission. The subcontract also sets forth that the Atomic Energy Commission shall provide the master copies of each volume with pages scaled according to specification; that the subcontractor will bear the expense of publication, sale, and distribution; will pay to the Treasurer of the United States specified royalties upon copies sold; will negotiate with the Atomic Energy Commission on the basis of actual cost for the delivery of copies of a restricted edition; and, as amended, by modification No. 1, will furnish 500 free copies of each volume to the Atomic Energy Commission.
Contract No. AT-40_1-GEN–209 between the Atomic Energy Commission and McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., provides that the latter will be reimbursed on a cost-without-profit basis for its expenses in furnishing the services of its employees in connection with the preparation for publication of the “National Nuclear Energy Series."
By letter of October 26, 1949, the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, was invited to furnish an expression of his views with regard to the propriety of securing the publication of the “National Nuclear Energy Series" in the manner outlined above. In reply thereto, the Chairman, by letter of November 14, 1949, outlined in detail the problems involved in producing the publication in question. It appears from a reading of said letter that, in pursuing such course, the Commission relied on the provisions of section 1(b) (2) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, approved August 1, 1946, 60 Stat. 756, wherein it is stated that one of the purposes of the act is to provide “A program for the control of scientific and technical information which will permit the dissemination of such information to encourage scientific progress," and section 10(a) (2) thereof which provides “That the dissemination of scientific and technical information relating to atomic energy should be permitted and encouraged so as to provide that free interchange of ideas and criticisms which is essential to scientific progress.” Also, it is pointed out by the Chairman that the furnishing to the Atomic Energy Commission of 500 copies of each volume, and publication, sale and distribution of the volumes is to be performed without cost to the Government and that plans to publish a classified series have been abandoned. It is further explained, in effect, that the services for which reimbursement was made to the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., were not reproduction or publication services such as your Office is prepared to furnish but were professional editorial services performed in the preparation of the manuscript. Also, it appears that the special composing typewriters used to arrange the manuscript in final form for photographing were
property of the Comimssion and constituted no part of the cost for which the contractor received reimbursement.
In view of the broad authority conferred upon the Atomic Energy Commission by the act of August 1, 1946, supra, and since the contracts in question do not involve an expenditure of Government funds for costs of actual printing and binding, it does not appear that this Office would be justified in taking any further action in the matter. Sincerely yours,
(Signed) LINDSAY C. WARREN,
Comptroller General of the United States. Mr. HALEY. Thank you for your time.
. (The analysis referred to by Mr. Haley follows:)
JULY 14, 1966. Hon. GEORGE P. MILLER, Chairman, Committe on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.O.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Reference is made to your letter dated July 1, 1966, relating to H.R. 15638, a bill to provide for the collection, compilation, critical evaluation, publication, and sale of standard reference data and specifically to Section 5 of this bill which would authorize the production and sale of the referenced material without having to comply with pertinent sections of U.S.C. Title 44.
In consonance with the understanding stated in your referenced letter, the Joint Committee on Printing is pleased to furnish its views on H.R. 15638, which are concurred in by the Public Printer and other interested officials in the Government Printing Office.
The stated purpose of H.R. 15638 is to strengthen and enhance the policy of Congress to make critically evaluated reference data readily available to scientists, engineers, and the general public. In order to achieve this objective, the Joint Committee on Printing is concerned regarding the language of the bill which would disregard the provision of section 11 of the Act of May 1, 1919 (ch. 86, 40 Stat. 1270; U.S.C. 111) and thereby permit printing to be done elsewhere than at the Government Printing Office.
The present capability of the Government Printing Office for type composition is already the largest and most varied of any single printing facility. With the addition of the Electronic Composing System, now being acquired by that office, the composition capability will be the most advanced in any printing facility in the world. The Electronic Composition System will accept information recorded on magnetic tape and output this information at a speed of up to 1,000 characters per second in the form of complete typeset pages on film ready for platemaking and printing. The system is part of a total Government-wide system of recording, storing, and retrieving information by the use of computers and associated devices. It is the fruit of four years of effort by the Federal Electronic Printing Committee, the membership of which includes a representative of the Department of Commerce. Since the Standard Reference Data compilations will almost certainly be produced from computer sources, the Electronic Composition System offers the capability of producing economically a printout of high graphic arts quality at high speed from computerized data. The speed and ability to update information offered by the system cannot be equalled by the employment of other composition methods.
Under the existing authority of sections 1152 and 1156 of Title 15, U.S.C., the Commerce Clearinghouse of the Department of Commerce can take the data produced by the Bureau of Standards and achieve effective publication and distribution by the following procedure whenever sale and distribution by the Superintendent of Documents is not desirable:
1. The Bureau of Standards can furnish manuscript and/or tape to the Government Printing Office.
2. The Government Printing Office can perform composition for and deliver reproducibles on film to the Bureau of Standards. (B.S. thus controls quality and format in presentation of data.)
3. The Bureau of Standards can sell reproducibles to any and all persons who will agree to publish the material using the reproducibles sold to them at Bureau of Standards price and who agree not to make alterations in the pages.
4. Publishers can print from reproducibles obtained from N.B.S. and sell books at a competitive price. (Each publisher to publish in whatever form his customers prefer. That is, all in one volume or in separates according to data desired by customers. Paper covers, hard bindings, loose leaf, and patent binders are possible forms that may be found desirable.) Publishers may add annotations to the data or include supplementary matter of their own, and copyright their part of the compilation.
The procedure outlined above suggests that GPO may be utilized to the best interests of the Government and the taxpayer; the Bureau of Standards may recover a substantial part of its cost or as much as has not already been contributed by the taxpayer ; commercial publishers perform their proper function; and users get the data they need at a reasonable price.
In assessing the testimony of witnesses who participated in the hearings on H.R. 15638 on June 28–30, it cannot be understood how benefit to the Government may be obtained by circumventing pertinent sections of U.S.C., Title 44, referred to in Section 5 of the bill. Sincerely yours,
Vice Chairman. Mr. DADDARIO. This subcommittee will adjourn to the call of the chairman.
(Whereupon, at 12:02 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the chairman.)
SUMMARY OF TESTIMONY
June 28, 1966.
WITNESS: DR. DONALD F. HORNIG, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY A. Highlights of statement
1. It is essential for the efficient conduct of the national research and development program that standard reference data measurements recorded in scientific literature be collected and made available to scientists and engineers.
(a) Failure to find data which the user can trust results in either rerunning experiments, over-design of components, faulty and wasted products, or abandonment of the effort.
(b) Many large industries and government laboratories have for years maintained their own scientific staff to produce compilations of measurement data.
(C) By using compilations, scientists and engineers have ready access to data and save time and effort. 2. In addition to the indicated effort both within and outside of the government, we still need a standard reference data program under the management of the National Bureau of Standards.
(a) No one group has undertaken to assess the total standard reference data needs of the national research and development community and to insure that these needs are being met. In some areas, compilation is inadequate or duplicated.
(6) The methods of making such information readily available have been overtaken by the advance of technology itself—increased complexity and volume of information and use patterns of data-need to up-date data.
(c) The task is to organize disparate efforts and apply modern techniques to an existing activity which is not being done well. 3. Complicating factors to making standard reference data readily available:
(a) Availability of scientists and engineers.
(c) More diverse and frequent use of standard reference data. 4. A closely coordinated program of government and private data collection, evaluation, compilation, and dissemination efforts is needed.
5. Background : In 1963 the NBS was given the responsibility for a governmentwide program, named the Standard Reference Data System, to develop critically evaluated data in the physical sciences and technology and to insure its ready access for the benefit of the scientific and technological community in the United States. To meet their needs, new activities are required of the Department of Commerce and these are provided for in the Standard Reference Data Act.
6. The Standard Reference Data Program is part of the national network of science and technology information systems. B. Highlights of the questioning
1. It is important that the publication of standard reference data be a continuing activity.
2. It is hard to estimate the returns. However, a research program cannot be carried out without this data. Returns have been estimated from 10 to 1 to 100 to 1.
3. Sees nothing in the bill to bar the private sector from participating in this program.
4. Does not think the government would be "guaranteeing" the information, but would be judging it as the most reliable information the best experts have been able to determine.
5. Thinks that as the private sector develops information, there is certain data which they would make available, and there is other data of a proprietary interest which would not be made available and should not be.
6. Thinks that the use of reasonable use charges is one of the best ways of determining the value of services performed. 7. The areas to be dealt with will be determined by two things :
(1) Precise data must be needed by someone.
(2) Data much better than what has already been attained must be needed. 8. The main reason that new legislative authority is required for the standard reference data program is that to make the program viable in terms of future funding, it is important to have the general expression of intent by Congress that this service should be performed.
9. Thinks the user should bear some cost of providing the services.
10. Thinks the effort is to get the widest possible dissemination of data. Thinks the bill provides authority to restrict under some circumstances—such as a compilation of data for one customer.
11. Thinks the word "copying” in 7(b) really should be interpreted as commercial republication.
12. The evaluation will be performed by a spectrum of people engaged people working in the scientific field all the time and primarily evaluating and people doing more mechanical compilations.
13. The Federal Council was unanimous in believing that the NBS ought to play the central role in setting standards and in coordinating the data gathering activities.
14. At present the SRD Program needs a much bigger and more comprehensive effort. Thinks that as long as there are significant and valuable needs not being met, it's time to expand.
June 29, 1966