The expression ‘Possession is nine-tenths of the law’, derived from the Roman law, ‘Uti possidetis, ita possideatis’ (‘as you possess, thus may you possess’), is applicable in many spheres of life. When it comes to ownership of research data, however, the matter is more complex and warrants, in our opinion, careful examination. The issue is clearly a crucial one. As Fishbein aptly points out, ‘The importance of resolving the ownership issue lies in the fact that whoever owns also controls dissemination, especially the timing of dissemination, publication, and propriety rights… [and] their preservation and destruction’

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