Sequence Data Submission Policy Discussion

Dave Kristofferson kristoff at NET.BIO.NET
Mon Dec 4 19:30:49 EST 1989

Unfortunately just after I posted a message to BIONEWS a few weeks
back I went out of town first on business and then on vacation, so I
did not get a chance to follow up on my posting about sequence data
submission policy.

The discussion received only two public comments directed to the
question(s) that I posed and then veered off into a discussion of
methods for on-line submission of data and what GenBank and EMBL
currently think about these methods.  [My original questions were: (1)
How long should people involved in large scale sequencing projects be
allowed to sit on finished data, and its corollary, (2) how will they
get credit for their work if they must submit immediately?]

I would like to try once again to bring the question back to the
original topic and solicit more response.  Unfortunately one of the
more interesting suggestions was made to me in private, and the author
was apparently hesitant to go public with it.  Therefore I am going to
pass the suggestion on anonymously for further public comment:

Message from unnamed reader:

I have a databank practicality question concerning your Wolftrap Sequencing

The groups that are doing the sequencing will certainly want and deserve some
holding time, in order to look for the jewels/gold in their hard mined ore. 
This is to be balanced against the benefits to anyone/all, of a knowledge that
a sequence just obtained is already being analyzed in another lab.  

Hence.  Could GenBank have a "privileged section" in which data could be
deposited for some maximal agreed upon time period, without being publically
available. It should however be available for online similiarity searchs. When
a hit is scored (after elimination of high copy number sequences), the first
depositors of the sequence would then be alerted.  This would stimulate group
one to make their data public before group two outpaced them.

Obviously, more complicated release/communication protocols could be
considered.  This is just a first thought. 

I have also read a proposal from the NLM to deposit the data in a
similar privileged section and automatically notify *both* parties
involved if a hit is found, i.e., tell them nothing more than that a
hit has been scored and give them information to contact each other
(of course, if one knows what your colleague's research area is ...

How about some comments or better yet, improvements on this?  Surely
with all of the collected wisdom accessible over the network, we have
the potential for a fruitful exchange.  At least I hope everyone out
there isn't excessively shy or embarassed about their typing, etc.
Heck, I'll blush to admit that even I often run things through
spelling checkers, and my IQ must be at least 100!!  

We'd really like to hear from some of the top minds in the scientific
world on these issues, but I keep getting told that they don't use
computers.  Hmm ... 8-)!  (For those who don't know what 8-) means,
look at it by tilting your head to the left.)

Please send your replies to bionews at and NOT to me
personally as I am just going to ask you if I can post them!


				David Kristofferson, Ph.D.
				GenBank On-line Service Manager

				kristoff at

P.S. - If you would like to get on the BIONEWS newsgroup mailing list,
please drop me a note and I'll sign you up and/or provide you with
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