Paleonet: A reply to an Open Letter in Support of Digital DataArchiving

Gilles Cuny Gilles at
Tue Mar 29 07:02:39 GMT 2011

Indeed, this is the case in Thailand for example where the Fossil Protection Act makes the publicly accessible archiving of locality data illegal prior to written authorization from the Department of Mineral Resources in Bangkok, an authorization which is extremely difficult to get.
Scientifically, this is indeed not a good thing, but one has to respect the Laws of the country where he/she is working.
All the best,

Dr. Gilles Cuny 
The Natural History Museum of Denmark 
Øster Voldgade 5-7 
1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark 
Tel: (+45) 3532 2364, fax: (+45) 3532 2325 
Mobile: (+45) 2026 4436 

-----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
Fra: paleonet-bounces at [mailto:paleonet-bounces at] På vegne af Martin Farley
Sendt: 29. marts 2011 01:45
Til: PaleoNet
Emne: Re: Paleonet: A reply to an Open Letter in Support of Digital DataArchiving

I think many issues have been commented that a one-size-fits-all disclosure policy won't work. There are a couple I want to mention.

1) Archiving of all data may be illegal in some circumstances. At the Portland GSA (2009), we heard a report about new law and regulations governing collecting of fossils on public lands in the U.S. regardless of who funds the work. (For those outside the U.S., I'll mention that much land west of the Mississippi River is public, which greatly simplifies
access.) Under these regulations, it is apparently illegal to disclose specific locality information. This is part of a misguided (in my opinion) effort to restrict fossil collecting on public lands, based on the notion that all fossils are rare.  As I have not needed recently to do fieldwork on public lands, I haven't followed any modifications in the proposed regulations since Fall 2009, so the situation may not be quite as I describe. Still, for US public land, no funding agency or journal has authority to contravene laws and regulations of the U.S. Dept. of Interior.

2) Although Mike Styzen didn't comment on this specifically, there are significant issues associated with data generated in the oil industry that leads to publication. For example, to release all data (whatever that might mean; well logs? seismic lines?) associated with some industry work would require not only agreement of all the partner companies in the area involved (and sometimes service companies, for seismic data), but often the approval of the host government. This is often not forthcoming for nationalistic or idiosyncratic reasons. (I have heard of cases where one arm of a national oil company didn't want another arm to know the precise depths of the samples used to construct a published biostratigraphic

Truly yours,

Martin Farley (mbfarley at
Dept. of Geology & Geography
Pembroke, NC

On Mon, March 28, 2011 2:08 pm, Jere Lipps wrote:
> I think it's fine to talk about these things.  Most of us can hit 
> delete when we get tired of it.  In the meantime, it is a critical 
> issue of major importance, and fully worth discussing by someone.

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