establishing such policies is the collective responsibility of the researchers in each field.

Recommendation 10: As part of the development of standards for the management of digital data, research fields should develop guidelines for assessing the data being produced in that field and establish criteria for researchers about which data should be retained.

Researchers need a supportive institutional environment to fulfill their responsibilities toward the stewardship of data.

Recommendation 11: Research institutions and research sponsors should study the needs for data stewardship by the researchers they employ and support. Working with researchers and data professionals, they should develop, support, and implement plans for meeting those needs.

The problem of paying for long-term stewardship of research data and other digital scholarly work is difficult, and solutions need to be developed over time. It is important that requirements for improved data management practices not be imposed as unfunded mandates. In the digital age, data management needs to be integrated into research program funding as an essential component of the conduct of research. Where appropriate, grant applications should include costs for data stewardship.

Many issues regarding the integrity, accessibility, and stewardship of research data are common across the research enterprise. Bodies that oversee multiple fields of research should disseminate lessons learned and help to foster interdisciplinary cooperation. Within the U.S. federal government, a recent report by the Interagency Working Group on Digital Data explores the needs for preservation and dissemination of publicly funded research data.4 At the nongovernmental level, the National Research Council recently established a new Board on Research Data and Information that will address emerging issues in the management, policy, and use of research data at the national and international levels.


Interagency Working Group on Digital Data. 2009. Harnessing the Power of Digital Data for Science and Society. Washington, DC: National Science and Technology Council, Executive Office of the President.

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