in the Human Genome Project, which is determining the sequence of the approximately 109 nucleotides (the combining form of the nucleic acid bases) contained in human chromosomes.13 It is expected that by the time this effort is complete in less than 5 years, it will have a great impact on the development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools for many human diseases that are currently not treatable or whose symptoms only are amenable to mitigation.

Currently, there are no intellectual, political, or proprietary barriers limiting international access to and use of these data. The barriers are technical and economic. The most important technical barrier involves equipment and infrastructure limitations on potential end users' capability to access and then make use of the wealth of information available. These data and their free availability to researchers in the life sciences are contributing to the rapid development of new concepts and applications, and there is a great desire and consequent pressure by academic and industrial institutions to keep the data freely accessible internationally in the future.

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE ARCHIVE

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is an example of a science program with significant international participation and open access to the data. HST was developed by NASA with the participation (nominally 15 percent) of the European Space Agency (ESA) under a memorandum of understanding negotiated between NASA and ESA. ESA also participates in its operation. HST is available for use by the international astronomy community. All science data are archived, kept proprietary (to the astronomer who proposed the observation) for 1 year, and then made available to other astronomers. The archive is accessible to the public via the Internet.14

Science operations for HST are centered at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), a university consortium, under contract to NASA. AURA has international affiliates and incorporates ESA representatives in its oversight of the STScI. ESA also contributes staff to the STScI; they are integrated into the total operation. ESA astronomers participate in HST committees and advisory structure. In addition, ESA operates a small Space Telescope (HST) European Coordinating Facility (the ST-ECF) in Garching, Germany, in collaboration with the European Southern Observatory.

HST observing is open to all astronomers worldwide via a peer review system. Under the memorandum of understanding, astronomers from ESA member countries are entitled to 15 percent of the observing time on average. In practice, they receive at least this amount through the normal peer review system.

All HST data are received by the STScI. They undergo routine processing and calibration, and both the calibrated and uncalibrated data and the engineering and other ancillary data are archived. The primary archive for HST data at the



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement