Based on the areas of concern discussed above, the committee makes the following recommendations for improving technical support for the international flow of scientific data and information.

  1. The principal scientific societies and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) should begin a long-term planning effort to assess the carrying capacity and distribution capability of the Internet, using projections of storage and transmission capacity and of demand and taking into account the next generation of Internet protocols. Scientific societies should encourage their publication committees to maintain contact with the IETF and keep their members abreast of advances in technologies useful for scientific information management. One option that science societies and government science agencies should evaluate is the creation of dedicated international science networks, such as the Internet II now being developed.
  2. To improve the technical organization and management of scientific data, the scientific community, through the government science agencies, professional societies, and the actions of individual scientists, should do the following:
    1. Work with the information and computer science communities to increase their involvement in scientific information management;
    2. Support computer science research in database technology, particularly to strengthen standards for self-describing data representations, efficient storage of large data sets, and integration of standards for configuration management;
    3. Improve science education and the reward system in the area of scientific data management. Provide incentives and recognition for papers dealing with data representation standards, archiving strategies, data set creation, data evaluation, data directories, and service to users.
    4. Encourage the funding of data compilation and evaluation projects, and of data rescue efforts for important data sets in transient or obsolete forms, especially by scientists in developing countries where substantial cadres of highly educated scientists exist who are underemployed and relatively inexpensive to support.
  1. U.S. government science agencies, working with their counterparts in other nations, should improve data authentication and apply security safeguards more vigorously. They should implement the means to protect data, including safe storage of data copies, and support policies that make it easier to exchange encryption technology.35

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