BOX 3.5 The "Bromley Principles" Regarding Full and Open Access to "Global Change" Data

The overall purpose of the policy statements is to facilitate full and open access to quality data for global change research. They were prepared in consonance with the goal of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and represent the U.S. government's position on access to global change research data.

  • The Global Change Research Program requires an early and continuing commitment to the establishment, maintenance, validation, description, accessibility, and distribution of high-quality, long-term data sets.
  • Full and open sharing of the full suite of global data sets for all global change researchers is a fundamental objective.
  • Preservation of all data needed for long-term global change research is required. For each and every global change data parameter, there should be at least one explicitly designated archive. Procedures and criteria for setting priorities for data acquisition, retention, and purging should be developed by participating agencies, both nationally and internationally. A clearinghouse process should be established to prevent the purging and loss of important data sets.
  • Data archives must include easily accessible information about the data holdings, including quality assessments, supporting ancillary information, and guidance and aids for locating and obtaining the data.
  • National and international standards should be used to the greatest extent possible for media and for processing and communication of global data sets.
  • Data should be provided at the lowest possible cost to global change researchers in the interest of full and open access to data. This cost should, as a first principle, be no more than the marginal cost of filling a specific user request. Agencies should act to streamline administrative arrangements for exchanging data among researchers.
  • For those programs in which selected principal investigators have initial periods of exclusive data use, data should be made openly available as soon as they become widely useful. In each case, the funding agency should explicitly define the duration of any exclusive use period.

SOURCE: Data Management for Global Change Research Policy Statements, U.S. Global Change Research Program, July 1991.

The committee believes that such an agreement would significantly improve the ability of researchers to develop an adequate scientific understanding of our natural environment and the human condition, to address major problems facing the world community, and to broaden and enrich the knowledge base of all humanity.

Given that scientific data in all the disciplines—not just the observational



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