ment. These achievements highlight some of China’s ability for innovation. Science and technology are playing important roles in agricultural advancement, industrial technology upgrades, socially sustainable development, and the evolution of China’s advanced-technology industries.

In 2002, the Chinese government established a new initiative with the central objective of building an affluent society throughout the country. In 2003, the Third Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party formulated and adopted five scientific development goals that collectively direct the national economic and social development. A large gap still exists, however, between the requirements for economic and social development in China and the capacity of its science and technology to meet these requirements. For example, insufficient investment in science and technology infrastructure, lack of world-class research teams, and an outdated research management system greatly constrain China’s innovation and international competitive ability in science and technology. Among these constraining factors, the inefficient use of scientific and technological resources and the repetitiveness and duplication of research efforts have been prominent bottlenecks to China’s advancement in innovation.

In 2002, the State Council authorized the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) to initiate a pilot project of the national science and technology infrastructure platform in coordination with 16 other ministries and departments. Based on reforms that strengthen data sharing and scientific resource system integration, this project focuses on increasing China’s international competitiveness and science and technology innovation potential. China will use modern information technology and international resources to construct the public, fundamental, and strategic science and technology infrastructure platform. The primary objective is to create an environment that fosters scientific and technological innovation by providing the necessary infrastructure that best enables advancements in science and technology, and that best supports long-term developments that are the cornerstones of discovery and innovation. The sharing of scientific data is the core component in this project.

MoST regards scientific data sharing as a national science and technology infrastructure platform, considers it of national interest, and treats it as an important research component based on several factors. Scientific data are the most active and innovative resource in the information era. Scientific data have remarkable research and application possibilities, and decision-making potential. They are fundamental for meeting the needs for the

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