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WITNESS: DR. J. HERBERT HOLLOMON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF COMMERCE FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.
A. Highlights of statement
1. Brief explanation of why standard reference data are important: (a) Important in dealing with national problems: space vehicle design, transportation, pollution, corrosion, safety, health, contamination. (b) Problems if standard reference data is not available:
(1) Duplication of work, with no guarantee of greater accuracy. (2) Overdesign to compensate.
(3) Uncertainty and inaccessibility are costly; they waste money, time and manpower. The present lack of a comprehensive, effective standard reference data system costs the Nation hundreds of millions of dollars a year. This is because the work that an integrated, comprehensive system could do is already being done in a piecemeal, uncoordinated, usually less effective manner by every member of the technical community. A standard reference system could return an estimated $20-200 for each dollar spent on it.
2. Why we are seeking this legislation to expedite the național program of production and dissemination of standard reference data.
(a) Existing mechanisms for producing critically evaluated compilations have not been able to keep up with the flood of new data appearing in the literature.
(b) Lack of coordination and standardization of numerous data compilations and the high cost of failing to meet the need for a better mechanism to produce critically evaluated date are reasons behind the establishment of the Standard Reference Data System in 1963, to be administered by NBS.
(c) The Standard Reference Data System is considered to be one of the components of a broad national scientific and technical information system now being developed by the Committee on Scientific and Technical Information of the Federal Council for Science and Technology.
(d) During the three years that NBS has served as administrator of the SRDS, a good start has been made. These years have revealed the need for additional authority from Congress to increase effectiveness.
(e) The proposed legislation provides mechanisms for the necessary funding of the program through a combination of Congressional appropriations and user charges.
(f) Penalties for unauthorized publication and sale of compilations bearing the symbol would serve to maintain its integrity as well as to protect the system of user charges.
WITNESS: DR. ALLEN V. ASTIN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS
A. Highlights of statement
Dealing with the way the NBS plans to implement the proposed legislation. 1. Some time ago, COSATI and the Federal Council for Science and Technology endorsed a policy calling for NBS to assume responsibility for the administration of the standard reference data system.
2. The goal of SRDS is to provide to the technical community of the United States optimum access to critically evaluated quantitative data on the physical and chemical properties of substances and their interactions.
3. Since FY 1964, NBS has conducted SRDS activities along the following plan of operations:
(1) The planning and implementation of a series of data compilation activities organized according to technical scope.
(2) An information systems design and research activity.
(3) A variety of specialized information services to be provided to the technical community.
4. Continuing efforts have been initiated to establish and promote effective working relationships with program officers in other government agencies in order that NBS programs might be responsive to the needs of these agencies.
5. NBS present estimate of the level of expenditures required to satisfy the high-priority needs of U.S. science and technology is 4-5 times the present level of $4 million for all participants in the program and $1.5 million for NBS.
6. The proposed SRD Act would enable NBS to apply user charges to the costs of the program-estimated as a significant, but not large, fraction of the total cost of operation.
7. Alternatives in the development of SRDS:
(a) Continue present system: Hundreds of millions of dollars will be unnecessarily spent in the achievement of those goals unless SRDS is effectively implemented.
(b) Set narrower goals: The goals of the SRDS have been circumscribed by the definition of the technical scope of the program-extending only to cover intrinsic properties of well-defined substances and their interactions. The goal of the five year program is to achieve 90 to 95 percent coverage of all the properties which are determined to be of high priority by surveys and consultations with specialists.
(c) Set broader goals: To include other types of data would double or triple the resources in money and manpower required. Thus, no plans have been made within NBS to enlarge the program.
(d) Rely on other approaches to the scientific information problem: It is unlikely that the work of these organizations can make any significant contribution to the numerical data problem for 5 to 10 years.
B. Highlights of questioning (of both Dr. Astin and Dr. Hollomon)
1. The numerical data information effort is complementary to the broader information effort. It has more immediate benefits and should be gone ahead with.
2. Wish to recover by user charges the significant part of the cost of the materials, the printing, and the reproduction, and some part of the editorial and compilation costs-on the average, 20 to 25 percent, ranging from 20 to 60 percent on a given volume. Under the present authority, NBS has the ability to recover substantial direct costs and some of the associated costs. If the costs were not recovered, the more services rendered, the less money would be available to develop new methods and projects. The charge also helps to determine the user need. Thinks there would be no difference in charges to nonprofit institutions.
3. The charge would not be what the market would bear, but would be based on a judgment as to the degree to which this data were critically needed, and, to some degree, how many possible customers there are. In a special service for one customer, the user would be expected to pay full cost. In no case, does NBS intend to recover more than the costs.
4. Section 7(b) makes it illegal to copy any data compilation bearing the mark, and Dr. Hollomon suggests that the word "copy" be changed to "reproduce for sale."
5. The bill would permit private organizations to publish and use the mark at the consent of the Secretary so long as they meet the required standards.
6. Would like to use user charges as a means of encouraging private publication where possible, perhaps asking for bids from private publishers.
7. (Mr. Farrar) Thinks that the only thing that the Government "guarantees" is the fact that the data has been critically evaluated. Doesn't think the Government could be sued. Would not be opposed to the inclusion of an exculpation clause in the publication.
8. New capability included in the bill are section 4 that allows the Secretary to provide criteria for the publication by anybody else of standard reference data and section 5 which provides for user charges and printing outside of GPO.
9. There are two reasons to print outside the GPO :
1. to recover user charges.
2. to permit private publication of compilations in some cases.
10. If something is printed in GPO, the government can charge up to 150 percent of the cost of printing. The funds would go to the treasury.
11. Thinks that the bill prohibits the republication of data compilations with the mark but not without the mark.
12. There is precedent for the authority granted under the bill relating to the adoption of a symbol or mark by the Secretary, the imposition of civil penalties for its unauthorized use, and obtaining an injunction to prevent and restrain violations of the Act.
13. Intends to recover evaluation costs under some circumstances, but not research costs.
14. The decision to make compilations will be based on the need for the information rather than on the basis of how many people will buy it.
15. Thinks that, in special cases, NBS could furnish a request for one customer at full cost without depleting the appropriations.
16. Believes that over a 4- or 5-year period the level of the expenses to operate the system will be on the order of $20 million a year.
17. Thinks that this bill is an exception to the copyright law by statute. 18. Would not object to limiting the time for which the mark would be valid. Intends to use a mark which contains a date.
JUNE 30, 1966.
WITNESS: DR. FREDERICK SEITZ, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES A. Highlights of statement.
(a) An effort to provide critical tables of standard reference data, International Critical Tables of Numerical Data of Physics, Chemistry, and Technology, was determined impossible to repeat in 1955 due to
(1) Expanse in size of scientific fields and in data requirements (2) Need for increased preciseness of data.
(3) Estimated task at 100-200 times the size of the original task (4) Need for continuity
(5) Other data-compiling projects involving annual expenditures of about $1 million.
(b) Recognizing the need for central planning, NAS-National Research Council created in 1957 the Office of Critical Tables. It was assigned among other things, the stimulation of new compilation projects. It failed in this one aim because no agency was able to provide the necessary funding. (c) The establishment in 1963 of SRDS at NBS was the beginning of a strong central coordination and management center which would, hopefully, receive adequate funding.
2. Evaluation of data is an international problem. NAS has helped to create an International Coordinating Committee for Data in Science and Technology to stimulate programs in other countries.
3. NAS and the scientific and technical community it represents are in full agreement with the overall purposes of the bill.
(a) Stresses that SRDS is a cooperative program. Non-government laboratories, both university and industrial, are included.
(b) Expresses concern about 7(b) which could, if not watched, serve as a deterrent to a free flow of scientific data.
(c) Is in accord with fair remuneration for sale of some of NBS work. Is concerned about the possibility that charges might become so great that individuals of organizations might be prevented from having the volumes. (d) Is concerned about section 6. Thinks Government may be subjecting itself to criticism if erroneous data should find its way into compilations bearing the mark. Thinks that debate concerning correctness of data should be a continuing process, and a mark should not be allowed to stop this.
B. Highlights of questioning
1. Does not think it is necessary to have a symbol associated with the data compilations. Feels that the fact the compilations come from these volumes, whose quality is well known, will serve the same purpose.
2. Thinks the material should be made available at a reasonable fee.
3. Thinks the data compilation project would be ideally handled by NBS.
WITNESSES: CURTIS G. BENJAMIN, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, MCGRAW-HILL BOOK Co., INC., AND W. BRADFORD WILEY, PRESIDENT, JOHN WILEY AND SONS, PUBLISHERS
A. Highlights of statement
1. Support the general purpose of the bill.
2. Are in accord with the idea that those who make use of special services for standard reference data should make a contribution to the cost. 3. Believe the Committe should consider the following questions:
(a) Think it is possible to include the private sector quite heavily. (b) Question whether it is proper for the government to put what is in effect an official imprimatur, the mark, on any scientific data. Feel that the publication of the data under the auspices of the Bureau will be well known and that the mark will be unnecessary.
(1) Is the mark a guarantee?
(2) Is it a trademark? If so, is use of a Federal trademark legal? (3) Does it establish a precedent for a U.S. Government "seal of approval"? Will all other Government information be considered "Grade B"?
(4) How will it psychologically affect the ranking of similar nonapproved data issued by private groups?
(c) Sections 6 and 7 involve a bypass of the copyright law.
(1) Feel this will invite similar circumventions in the in-house production of other kinds of scientific and technical information generated by the Government.
(2) Feel that the data should be protected by copyright
(a) To protect interests of private and foreign contributors. (b) To allow commercial publication.
(c) To protect against foreign republication for sale.
(d) To protect use in computers.
4. Production of a federally supported SRDS by NAS would be more palatable to private publishing industry than would in-house production by the Bureau of Standards. NAS, as a contracting agency, could copyright the data.
5. Scientific and technical book publishers have been very concerned over what they consider unfair Government competition. Since such a large percentage of research is funded with Federal funds, the private sector should publish the results of these efforts in order to prevent what could become a Government monopoly of scientific and technical information.
6. The private sector procedure would lead to some recovery of costs, although it is too difficult to estimate how much of the recovery would be in the form of royalties paid by a private publisher. Some recovery would be in the form of cost savings in production, printing, and distribution.
B. Highlights of questioning
1. Thinks that the U.S. should recover 50 to 60 percent of any expense of preparing the material from foreign customers.
2. The only control over copying in foreign countries would be copyright protection.
3. The technical publishers would prefer to have everything possible done outside of Government agencies.
4. The private pubilshing industry is concerned about the possibility of government preemption of basic scientific and technical data publication.
5. Feels that the government should subsidize the low ability consumer rather than subsidize 90 percent of the market by charging a very low price to get it down to the level of the lower 10 percent of the market.
6. Thinks the private publisher would do a better job of disseminating the data to the customers.
WITNESS: JOHN F. HALEY, STAFF DIRECTOR, JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING A. Highlights of statement
Recommends that there be an assessment of the use of composition capabilities presently at the Government Printing Office.
PERTINENT COMMENTS OF WITNESSES ON H.R. 15638
Section 1. Dr. Hollomon states that this legislation is needed because existing mechanisms for producing critically evaluated data compilations have not been able to keep up with the flood of new data appearing in the literature, NAS and the scientific and technical community it represents are in full agreement with the overall purposes of the bill. Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Wiley support the general purpose of the bill.
Section 2. No pertinent comments.
Section 3. Dr. Hornig states that 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. Dr. Seitz thinks that the data compilation project would be ideally handled by NBS. Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Wiley would prefer for NAS to handle the project and to copyright the data. They consider the provisions of the bill unfair government competition.
Section 4. Dr. Hollomon and Dr. Astin state that this is new authority provided for the Secretary to provide criteria for the publication of compilations by anybody else.
Section 5. Dr. Hornig sees nothing in the bill to bar the private sector from participating in this program. He thinks that the use of reasonable use charges is one of the best ways of determining the value of services performed and that the user should bear some cost of providing the services.
Dr. Hollomon and Dr. Astin wish to recover by user charges a significant part of the cost of the materials, the printing, and the reproduction, and some part of the editorial and compilation costs-on the average 20 or 25 percent, ranging from 20 to 60 percent on a given volume. If the costs are not recovered, and the more services rendered, the less money would be available to develop new methods. The charge would be based on a judgment as to the degree to which this data were needed and, to some extent, how many possible customers there are. In a special service for one customer, the user would be expected to pay full cost. In no case does NBS intend to recover more than the costs.
Dr. Hollomon and Dr. Astin state that the bill would permit private organizations to use the mark with the consent of the Secretary so long as they meet the required standards. They state that this section provides a new authority to bypass GPO and to place user charges on the data. There are two reasons to bypass GPO: to recover user charges and to permit private publication of data in some cases.
Dr. Seitz agrees with fair remuneration for sale of some of NBS work but is concerned about the possibility that charges might become so great that some customers would be unable to purchase volumes.
Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Wiley agree that users of special services of the program should make a contribution to the cost. They feel that the government should subsidize the low ability consumer, rather than lower the price of all volumes within his reach. They feel that the private publishers would do a better job of disseminating the volumes.
Mr. Haley recommends that there be an assessment on the use of composition capabilities presently at GPO.
Section 6. Dr. Hornig does not think the government would be "guaranteeing" the information with a mark, but would be judging it as the most reliable information the best experts have been able to determine. Mr. Farrer states that the only thing the government "guarantees" is that the data has been critically evaluated. Dr. Seitz thinks that use of the mark may subject the government to criticism if erroneous data should find its way into compilations. He thinks that the mark may be a deterrent to continuing debate concerning correctness of data. He does not think the mark is necessary and feels that the reputation of the volumes will be sufficient to serve the same purpose. Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Wiley agree that the reputation of the volumes will suffice, and that the mark is unnecessary.