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Amid last year's frantic congressional deal-making to fund the U.S. government for the fiscal year 1999, Senator Richard Shelby (Republican from Alabama) slipped a small provision into the end-of-year omnibus appropriations bill that could have large implications for researchers. Now part of Public Law 105-277, Shelby's rider is intended “…to require Federal awarding agencies to ensure that all data produced under an award will be made available to the public through the procedures established under the Freedom of Information Act.” The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law enacted in 1966 that allows any citizen to request documents from federal agencies in the United States.