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After a five-year effort, the National Institute of Health late last week released its final policy for managing and sharing publicly funded scientific data. But some critics say the approach falls short, because the language may still make it possible for researchers to withhold their data.

The new policy, which replaces one issued in 2003, reflects an ongoing push for transparency by academics and scientists who maintain that, without access to scientific data, research cannot be easily replicated. For this reason, they have argued a lack of information inhibits greater scientific understanding that can adversely affect research decisions and, eventually, treatments and health care costs.

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