and that “preservation of digital scientific data is both a government and private sector responsibility and benefits society as a whole.” To provide reliable management of digital scientific data, the working group calls for “a comprehensive framework of transparent, evolvable, extensible policies and management and organizational structures that provide reliable, effective access to the full spectrum of public digital scientific data.”

The goals and recommendations of the working group are complementary to those of our committee. The working group recommends that federal agencies “promote a data management planning process for projects that generate preservation data.” These plans should identify the types of data and their expected impact, specify relevant standards, and outline provisions for protection, access, and continuing preservation. The working group’s report points out that not all digital scientific data need to be preserved and not all preserved data need to be preserved indefinitely. Stakeholders that should be involved in decisions about which data to preserve include research communities, data professionals, data users, entities such as professional organizations and governments, and preservation organizations.

In addition, the working group calls for the creation of a subcommittee on digital scientific data preservation, access, and interoperability under the National Science and Technology Council that would track and recommend policies on such issues as national and international coordination; education and workforce development; interoperability; data systems implementation and deployment; and data assurance, quality, discovery, and dissemination.

At the nongovernmental level, in fall 2008 the National Research Council established a new Board on Research Data and Information. The board is engaged in planning, program development, and administrative oversight of projects dealing with the management, policy, and use of digital data and information for science and the broader society. The board’s primary objectives are to:

  1. Address emerging issues in the management, policy, and use of research data and information at the national and international levels.

  2. Through studies and reports of the National Research Council, provide independent and objective advice, reviews of programs, and assessment of priorities concerning research data and information activities and interests of its sponsors.

  3. Encourage and facilitate collaboration across disciplines, sectors, and nations with regard to common interests in research data and information activities.

  4. Initiate or respond to requests for consensus studies, workshops, conferences, and other activities within the board’s mission, and provide oversight for the activities performed under the board’s auspices.

  5. Broadly disseminate and communicate the results of the board’s activities to its stakeholders and to the general public.



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