I have established a server for sharing of unpublished genomic data among the community using a portal called CamTools run by the University of Cambridge. The agreement is that anyone using the site agrees to share ‘genome’ scale data sets with other users. Currently this is primarily Genome Survey Sequences, BAC clone sequences and transcriptomic sequence, but could be extended to other kinds of data as they become available. The aim is to make such information available for comparative analysis to all groups prior to publication. Here is my take on how you should approach use of these data:
1) If you plan a genome-wide comparative analysis using a data set generated by another researcher, then you should contact that person ahead of time and discuss the project.
2) If you are interested in fishing someone else’s data set for a particular gene, then feel free to download the data onto your own PC and have a look to see what is there. However if you find what you are looking for and are interested in using that information to further your own work then please talk to the person who obtained the data. In general I think that everyone should be open to their sequences being used provided the proposed project doesnt directly overlap with a project currently underway in the lab of whoever owns the data (or their collaborators). Every file is identified by the person who uploaded it – so it should be easy to get in touch with the original owner.
Of course, this site isnt designed as a public portal for genomic data – there is no genome browsing or BLAST facility. Its just a secure way of sharing large files.
Anyway, thats my take on things – let me know if you disagree or have any further comments, or if you want to use/contribute to the site.