broadly available the digital scientific data resources successfully today will provide great benefits for future generations; the costs of inaction are incalculable, but certain to be substantial. At the same time, it is important to recognize that even the most economically developed countries have encountered various difficulties with the preservation and open access issues. Careful consideration is needed to develop long-term plans for sustainable digital archiving in China, as in all other countries.
The international Workshop on Strategies for Preservation of and Open Access to Scientific Data was held on June 22-24, 2004, in Beijing. It built on the results of the four previous bilateral CODATA meetings and on the new Chinese scientific data access policy initiative noted above. The workshop explored in detail the various scientific and technical, legal and policy, institutional and economic, and management aspects that need to be addressed in successfully implementing sustainable and accessible archives of digital health and environmental data resources in China. It examined various models of open archiving that might be adopted or adapted for use within the Chinese context. It also provided much needed high-level attention to these typically under-appreciated problems by bringing together scientific information managers, digital archiving experts, national science policy and funding officials, and representatives of development organizations, who will be able to incorporate the results of this project into their future planning.4
The workshop was organized pursuant to the following statement of task:
Identify research areas in which preservation of and open access to digital scientific information require high-priority attention in China, and provide the underlying rationales for the areas chosen.
Identify and discuss the scientific and technical, institutional and economic, legal and policy, and management factors relevant to providing open access to digital scientific information resources (both the data and the literature), including an examination of different possible models and
See Appendix B for the biographical summaries of all the speakers at the workshop.