China asserts firm grip on research data

ScienceMag: “In a move few scientists anticipated, the Chinese government has decreed that all scientific data generated in China must be submitted to government-sanctioned data centers before appearing in publications. At the same time, the regulations, posted last week, call for open access and data sharing.

The possibly conflicting directives puzzle researchers, who note that the yet-to-be-established data centers will have latitude in interpreting the rules. Scientists in China can still share results with overseas collaborators, says Xie Xuemei, who specializes in innovation economics at Shanghai University. Xie also believes that the new requirements to register data with authorities before submitting papers to journals will not affect most research areas. Gaining approval could mean publishing delays, Xie says, but “it will not have a serious impact on scientific research.”

The new rules, issued by the powerful State Council, apply to all groups and individuals generating research data in China. The creation of a national data center will apparently fall to the science ministry, though other ministries and local governments are expected to create their own centers as well. Exempted from the call for open access and sharing are data involving state and business secrets, national security, “public interest,” and individual privacy… (More)”