Desired Characteristics

In order to successfully meet the national needs identified in this report, the organization should be capable of certain desired characteristics.

  1. Effecting partnerships

    • The organization should be adept at coordinating, enabling, and fairly representing the full dynamic range of public and private contributions, large and small.

    • Issues such as ownership of data, cost and pricing of datasets, and redistribution rights need to be addressed in a flexible, consistent and equitable manner.

    • National strategies on building networks versus buying datasets need to be evaluated across the full spectrum of potential solutions.

  1. Economic scale

    • The organization needs to be large enough to make economic sense and to achieve certain economies of scale (e.g, large enough to coordinate and to provide core essential services), but small enough that it can remain flexible and adaptive to both users and providers needs.

  1. Sustainability

    • The organization must be stable and have a basis for longevity in order to attract both users and providers.

    • The organization needs to offer incentives of various types, including but not limited to remunerative incentives, to shape an optimal and efficient NoN.

    • The organization must offer added value to users, who may face costs for conditioning and ease of access to certain datasets. User-valued services include consolidated datasets, uniform and complete metadata, and data quality-checking measures.

Categories of Models Considered

At least eight broad categories of organizational models may be considered for a NoN. When we refer to these models the frame of reference is focused on those facilities and services that are required to implement the added value of the NoN, not the facilities and services currently provided by hundreds of organizations to support the current collection of largely independent networks. Implicit in this assumption is that all members will continue to serve their specific mission needs with individual networks and related infrastructure in a manner similar to current practice, but subject to new standards and practices, as previously described, to derive the collec-

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