is likely to pay a large dividend when the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope comes on line in 2017. The National Science Board report Long-Lived Digital Data Collections: Enabling Research and Education in the 21st Century11 and the National Academies report Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age12 both recognized the growing importance of long-term curation, and the NSB report recommended that NSF develop a global strategy to address it. The NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure’s DataNet program (Sustainable Digital Data Preservation and Access Network Partners), which is partnering with research institutions to develop data preservation facilities of general utility to the research community and which includes participation by astronomers, is an important first step in the process.

RECOMMENDATION: NSF, NASA, and DOE should plan for effective long-term curation of, and access to, large astronomical data sets after completion of the missions or projects that produced these data, given the likely future scientific benefit of the data. NASA currently supports widely used curated data archives, and similar data curation models could be adopted by NSF and DOE.

The committee estimated the cost of achieving these data-archiving goals on the basis of an informal survey of existing archives. Data gathered by the survey’s Infrastructure Study Groups indicate that adding the data from a new survey similar to SDSS to the portfolio of an existing archive center would involve startup costs of about $0.4 million (approximately $0.15 million for personnel and $0.25 million for hardware) and an annual operating budget of about $0.2 million to $0.3 million ($0.15 million for personnel and the remainder for maintenance and upgrades). Starting a new archive from scratch would be significantly more expensive, and so it would be particularly cost-effective for NSF and DOE to coordinate with NASA to use existing archive and data distribution centers. An added scientific advantage would be having a core of resident astronomers, computer scientists, and technical support staff.13 Supporting additional archiving and long-term curation for a few existing observatories and instruments would cost roughly $15 million per decade. Numerical codes could also be curated.

11

National Science Board, Long-Lived Digital Data Collections: Enabling Research and Education in the 21st Century, NSB-05-40, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va.

12

National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2009.

13

National Research Council, Portals to the Universe, 2007.



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