Skip to content
for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

GM Freeze Welcomes Commons Call to Make Science Data Public

Immediate release (1 Aug 2011)

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065

GM Freeze today welcomed the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report recommendation that data used in peer reviewed scientific publications should be made public.

The presumption must be that, unless there is a strong reason otherwise, data should be fully disclosed and made publicly available. In line with this principle, where possible, data associated with all publicly funded research should be made widely and freely available. Funders of research must coordinate with publishers to ensure that researchers disclose their data in a timely manner. The work of researchers who expend time and effort adding value to their data, to make it usable by others, should be acknowledged as a valuable part of their role. Research funders and publishers should explore how researchers could be encouraged to add this value. (Paragraph 203) [1]

GM Freeze wants this recommendation extended to cover data submitted by industry in support of their applications for approval of pesticides and GMOs. Such data is often classed as “commercially confidential” and never made available in a form that facilitates further analysis. For example, data often needs to be re-entered into databases by researchers pursuing further study, a time consuming process. This was the case with CRIIGEN’s 2007 re-analysis of Monsanto’s safety data submitted in support of their application to market MON863 maize [2], which was only released after a legal challenge by Greenpeace in the German courts. [3]
Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

We very much welcome the Committee’s recommendation on making raw data available.

It is important that data is released in a form that can easily be re-analysed by other scientists in the same field. We would therefore like to see this recommendation apply to data submitted by industry in support of their applications for pesticides and GM crops, which is peer reviewed by the government’s scientific advisors. Interpretation of data can vary between scientists, so making it fully available would enable it to be scrutinised by others. This would reinforce the peer review process in a positive way and help ensure we get the right decisions.

ENDs

Notes

[1] House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Peer Review in Scientific Publications, Eighth Report of Session 2010–12. See www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmsctech/856/856.pdf

[2] Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, Report on MON 863 GM Maize Produced by Monsanto Company. See www.criigen.org/SiteEn/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=106&Itemid=47

[3] Greenpeace, “The MON863 case – a chronicle of systematic deception”. See www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/mon863_chronicle_of_deception.pdf