Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 15
2 Stakeholder Viewpoints The five primary stakeholder groups concerned with environmental data and inflation are scientists, private-sector organizations, gov- ernment agencies, policy makers, and the general public. Each of these stakeholder groups generates and/or uses environmental data for different purposes, according to different methodologies, and processed to different levels (see Box I.~. This chapter describes the motivations, rewards, and mode of operation of the five environmental stakeholder groups and identifies the data policies that enhance or detract from their ability to achieve their goals. SCIENTIST VIEWS The goal of scientists is shared understanding among their peers. Most environmental scientists are also motivated to some degree by an ideal that shared understanding will improve the Tot of all human beings and the health of the planet. Tangible rewards to scientists (e.g., tenure, salary increases, and continued research support) all derive directly from their reputation among peers for creativity, scholarship, and integrity and indirectly from the significance, productivity, and relevance to society of the field in which they work (see Appendix A). Achieving the goal of shared understanding begins with obtaining the relevant observations, synthesizing them with information from other sources, and performing the quality control and cross-validation nec- essary to ensure that the resulting information product is reliable and credible. Scientific knowledge comes from challenges by other scientists that test the strength of the evidence, both during peer review in the publication process, and afterwards as the data are used in other 15
OCR for page 16
16 The Privatization of Environmental Data syntheses or research purposes. Such uses require that data be available without restriction, at reasonable prices (see Box 2.1~. The nature of scientific understanding is such that it is not possible to predict reliably what data will be needed in the future. Data from unex- pected sources can turn out to be very important. For example, when atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements were beginning to be taken in the late l950s, no one realized that ice cores would provide a means of extending that climate record back in time.) Science is a collective enterprise in the sense that the work of one set of specialists serves as input to the work of other specialists.2 Nowhere is this more Due than in the environmental sciences, because researchers are driven by practical reasons to collaborate. The environmental sciences are observational in nature and require a wide range of data from a diverse array of disciplines, taken at different temporal and spatial scales, often repeatedly over time. Controlled experiments are difficult or even impossible and existing data are often reanalyzed with new scientific objectives in mind. This puts a premium on the quality of data and surrounding information, which goes beyond the immediate purpose of data collection. Because nature is complex, no single instrument or observer can adequately describe the phenomena being studied. Many of these phenomena cross national borders and cannot be studied without parkers in other countries.3 Although ice cores have been drilled since the 1950s, collecting ice cores to address questions of climate change and global warming did not begin until the Danish-Swiss-U.S. Greenland Ice Sheet Project in 1981. See R.B. Alley, 2000, The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Changes, and Our Future. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 240 pp. 2G. Franck, 1999, Scientific communication A vanity fair? Science, v. 286, p. 53-55. Environmental scientists have had a long history of international collaboration. Weather data have been exchanged around the world for nearly 100 years. The International Geophysical Year of 1957-58 led to the collection and exchange of a wide variety of earth, ocean, atmosphere, polar, and solar terrestrial data among the United States, Europe, the Soviet Union, and Japan. It also launched the World Data Center System, which archives and disseminates environmental data to the global scientific community. More recently, programs such as the World Climate Research Program and the International Geosphere
OCR for page 17
Stakeholder Viewpoints 17 · The observations are expensive because they involve the design and deployment of specialized instruments in networks of ground stations, or on aircraft, ships, or satellites. As a result, data collectors seek to avoid duplicating the efforts of others and collaborate to save time, money, and other resources. Many environmental research questions require the use of all available data, past and present. Retrospective data are available through an extensive network of data centers (e.g., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center), although scientists commonly obtain data directly from colleagues when it is easier or faster. Collections of reliable data are irreplaceable resources that are used repeatedly for purposes that are often unforeseen at the time of acquisition.4 . The environmental sciences also differ Tom other branches of science in that they require access to continuous records to detect and monitor changes in the environment. Gaps in the Tong-term record may make some variations go undetected and others difficult to interpret. Biosphere Program were established to document and understand the changes in the environment that are becoming apparent on a global scale. 4In many fields, data usage peaks immediately after data collection, then grows again as the data become part of the historical record of the condition of the environment. Such retrospective data are useful for a wide variety of scientific and public-policy purposes. Examples of the importance of long-term archives in the scientific enterprise are given in USGCRP, 1999, Global Change Science Requirements for Long-Term Archiving, Report from a workshop, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, October 28-30, 1998, 78 pp.
OCR for page 18
18 The Privatization of Environmental Data
OCR for page 19
Stakeholder Viewpoints 19 PRIVATE-SECTOR VIEWS The goal of private-sector organizations is to sell information products or services on an ongoing basis in a commercial market. Their rewards are primarily monetary, but scientists within commercial companies may also share the same motivations and rewards of academic scientists (e.g., prestige, reputation). Likewise, many companies are motivated in part by considerations of public good, although such motivations may not be encouraged by the commercial reward system unless they can be achieved without reducing shareholder profits. For the private sector the revenue obtained from selling the product or service must be sufficient to at least cover the costs of generating it
OCR for page 20
20 The Privatization of Environmental Data and in the long run provide a reasonable rate of return on invested capita. Competition based on satisfying customer needs at an acceptable price is the mode of operation. Depending on customer need, a com~rAerciaiA vendor may operate an end-to-end information system or may specialize in a particular part of the information system. Under appropriate conditions, vertical integration, in which the same enterprise exercises control` over alar the steps from the raw material to the lanai product, can provide many advantages, such as exclusive rights to al,A data products and their subsequent uses. Such integration is particularly important when the product is something intangible like information. In a competitive environment it is in the interest of the private sector to treat sources and techniques as corAmrAercia,` secrets. The customer base for corAmrAercia,A data, services, and products is broad and includes entities in both the public sector (e.g., government, inter- and nongovernmental organizations, public administration, education, and research) and the private sector (e.g., agriculture, fishing, forestry, energy, natural resources, infrastructure, transportation, com- munications, fAnanciai`, and services industries). Government agencies (especiaiAiAy federal agencies) are currently the primary customers6 as welts as sources of data. Indeed, it is difficult to generate an adequate revenue stream from many environmental` markets unless the government pays for data co,`,Aection. In the view of many private-sector organizations, once the government has developed and demonstrated the techAno~Aogy for co,`,Aecting data, it should Wow the private sector to develop applications and to market them to the public (see Box 2.21. PriAvate-sector organizations are welts placed to provide products and services that are tuned to the needs of specific paying customers because they are usual highway specialized, use sophisticated market research tools, and are responsive to the price signals provided by the market. Many of these Products build upon government data (em.. a comrnercia~A weather A A ~ ~ in, 5A motivation of Orbital Sciences for entering a public-private partnership with NASA was to become a player in the Earth observations industry. SOURCE: Briefing to the committee by S. Kempler, Manager, Goddard Space Flight Center Distributed Active Archive Center, on March 20, 2000. 6In Europe the public sector accounted for 75 percent of the market for commercial data and 59 percent of the market for commercial value-added products in 1997. SOURCE: ESYS Limited, 1997, European EO Industry and Market. 1998 Snapshot - Final Report, Prepared for the European Commission, Guildord, United Kingdom, 82 pp.
OCR for page 21
Stakeholder Viewpoints 21 forecast), which usually have the advantage of being less expensive and more reliable than other sources of data, but the disadvantage of being available to competitors. A study commissioned by the Computer & Corornunications Industry Association suggested the following limits on U.S. government- provided online and information activities: . The government should exercise caution in adding specialized value to public data and information. The government should provide private goods only under limited circumstances, even if private-sector fimns are not providing them. The government should provide a service online only when private provision with regulation or appropriate taxation would be less efficient. . . . The government should exercise substantial caution in entering markets in which private-sector firms are active. . The government should generally not aim to maximize net revenues or take actions that would reduce competitions 7J.E. Stiglitz, P.R. Orszag, and J.M. Orszag, 2000, The role of government in a digital age, A report commissioned by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, 154 pp.
OCR for page 22
22 The Privatization of Environmental Data
OCR for page 23
Stakeholder Viewpoints 23 GOVERNMENT AGENCY VIEWS Government agencies (federal, state, local) implement public programs under the direction of policy makers. Their reward structure has two levels. For government as a whole, the reward is a populace that is better off because of a public program (e.g., the Clean Water Act) and is therefore supportive of the endeavor. For individual government agencies the reward comes from fulfilling their specific missions, the success of which is corroborated by continued funding from Congress. The U.S. government has three major roles in the environmental information enterprise: (1) it fulfills the public need for scientific understanding by funding basic research; (2) it collects and disseminates data through a network of observing systems, agency programs, libraries, and data centers; and (3) it creates information products related to health, safety, and human welfare. The relative importance of these tasks depends on the responsible agency, which sets priorities based on its specific mission. Thus, individual government agencies are likely to have a narrower view of priorities and choices in a particular situation than the government as a whole. Most government functions are carried out by the public sector either because of an overriding public interest in the outcome or because the potential for high risk or low payoff makes the task unattractive to the private sector. For example, federal agencies are responsible for collecting and disseminating information relevant to weather forecasting. Providing reliable data to the public requires long-term monitoring and the synthesis of current and retrospective data from around the world. The government is well placed to install and maintain the observing systems, negotiate data exchange agreements with other counties, and operate data centers that will hold the data in perpetuity.8 As a result, the general public can obtain a wide variety of environmental data, For example, Congress found that "it is in the best interest of the United States to maintain a permanent, comprehensive Government archive of global Landsat and other land remote sensing data for long-term monitoring and study of the changing global environment" (Public Law 102-555~. Similarly, various statutes direct NOAA to "acquire, maintain and distribute long-term databases, and to process and archive space-based data" (NASA/NOAA Memorandum of Understanding for Earth Observations Remotely Sensed Data Processing, Distribution, Archiving, and Related Science Support, July 1989~.
OCR for page 24
OCR for page 26
OCR for page 27
OCR for page 28
Representative terms from entire chapter:
24 The Privatization of Environmental Data sometimes going back 150 years and can be reasonably assured that this information will be available for future generations. Under U.S. policy most federal government data are in the public domain and cannot be copyrighted. By making data easy and inexpensive to obtain the U.S. government seeks to promote science, create a more informed public, and foster the development of a thriving commercial information industry. Governments in other countries have similar goals, but cultural differences and economic conditions have led to the development of different data policies.9 For example, the requirement that they recover part of their operating costs through data sales has led to the commercialization of environmental agencies in Europe and Canada. In addition, government agencies are transferring functions like environmental data collection to the private sector. As a result, data streams with economic potential (e.g., land cover, weather, geomagnetic field) are now likely to be sold rather than freely exchanged. Of greater concern, short-term private return rather than Tong-term social return may become the dominant criterion for selecting which observations to collect.~° Developing countries have yet a different perspective based upon their perceptions of the potential for economic domination by foreign monopolies. These different perspectives raise a potential conflict in international collaboration. 9P.N. Weiss and P. Backlund, 1997, International information policy in conflict: Open and unrestricted access versus government commercialization, in Borders in Cyberspace. Information Policy and the Global Information Infrastructure, B. Kahin and C. Nesson eds., MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, p. 300-321; Toward an Integrated Data Policy Framework for Earth Observations, Report of a workshop, Ottrott, France, July 22-24, 1996, International Space University, ISU/REP/97/1, 39 pp. i°A number of European government satellites have been launched with either commercial objectives (e.g., Systeme Probatoire pour ['Observation de la Terre tSPOT]) or with a mixture of commercial, scientific, and operational objectives (e.g., ENVIronment SATellite [ENVISAT]-1~. See Earth Observation Data Policy and Europe,
Stakeholder Viewpoints 25 POLICY MAKER VIEWS The goal of policy makers (elected officials and political appointees in government agencies) is to make informed judgments about what is in the best long-term interests of the communities they represent. Their rewards include a sense of satisfaction in work that benefits their community, as well as their reselection or continuation in a position of authority. in a democracy, policy makers are accountable to the general public, which includes the other stakeholder groups. However, concerns of the general public have to be weighed against specific tradeoffs with reg- ulation and acute local concerns. Balancing these conflicting interests for the benefit of the community as a whole is a major challenge for policy makers. Policy makers are responsible for looking after the "big picture," such as understanding the causes of global environmental change and dealing with its consequences. They seek policies that work and are capable of evolving in view of the uncertainties that dominate the long- term projection of both economic development and environmental change. Such policies must foster (1) negotiation, when there are competing interests; (2) competition, when there is an effective stimulant; and (3) consensus on basic goals and principles. Haunting thoughtful people everywhere is the prospect of a "tragedy of the commons," in which, for lack of an effective governance mechanism, an entire resource is annihilated by the collective rational actions of all the individuals who depend on it. The policies of a country take precedence over those of its individual government agencies. Similarly, in international settings, policies aimed at attaining a worldwide public good take precedence over those of individual countries (see Box 2.3~. In such cases, governments are themselves policy makers (see "Government Agency Views" above). 1248. '2G. Hardin, 1968, The tragedy of the commons, Science, v. 162, p. 1243-
26 The Privatization of Environmental Data
Stakeholder Viewpoints 27 GENERAL PUBLIC VIEWS The general public comprises all the members of the community, including the stakeholder groups discussed above. Because environ- mental information affects so many people, the community is very broad, indeed it is often global. It stands to reason that the general public hopes to increase its sense of well being through better information about its environment. Motivations are varied and range from "should ~ take an umbrella this morning?" to "what will the environment be like for my grandchildren?" Rewards arise from the economic benefits to them and their community from the wise use of environmental information. The general public's stake in environmental information is enormous, but it is difficult to adequately represent their individual
28 The Privatization of Environmental Data interests in decisions concerning information systems. Consequently, members of the general public must be represented by proxies, such as federal, state, and local government organizations, nongovernmental organizations, citizen advocacy groups, bade associations, congressional lobbyists, elected representatives, and scientific advisory committees. The mix of proxies will depend on the particular circumstances. For this stakeholder group, access to environmental information and knowledge in a useable and convenient fond is cntical. Public media, such as television, newspapers, and World Wide Web sites, play a key role in delivenng the information. The underlying sources of that information are and must be available on a full and open basis. Relevant policies guaranteeing full and open access to the general public include OMB Circular A-130 (see Box 2.~) and the Freedom of ~fo~ation Act. Under the U.S. Freedom of l~for~nation Act agencies must make records and policy statements available for public inspection and copying.~3 European public-sector information is considerably less accessible to European citizens, in part because few countries have strong freedom of infonnation laws.~4 i3. '4Public Sector Information: A Key Resource for Europe. Green Paper on Public Sector Information in the Information Society, European Commission Report COM (1998) 585, Luxembourg, Belgium, 1998, 28 pp.
OCR for page 26
OCR for page 27
OCR for page 28
Representative terms from entire chapter: