money into data management frequently would provide a better return on our investment than collecting more data. On a broad level, the federal government should examine priorities for additional funding of data management and archiving.
It is essential that policies on long-term archiving be fully coordinated between NARA and the operating divisions of the government collecting and utilizing large quantities of atmospheric data, including NOAA, NASA, DOD, and DOE. Cooperation from smaller producers of atmospheric data also will be useful. NARA's role should be supervisory or consulting to make sure that the agencies that are the actual custodians of data at the working level follow all the relevant federal laws and guidelines in taking care of the data. Scientific information should go to NARA's physical possession only as a last resort. As a basic operating principle, scientific data should be maintained by the agency most knowledgeable about those data as long as there is any regular active use, even if that use is not part of the regular activity of the holding agency. Agencies have a positive obligation to keep their holdings of scientific data in usable condition, even if they are not using them, until agreeing on disposition of those data with NARA or another agency.
The panel has relied heavily on the varied and rather extensive experience of its members in dealing with atmospheric data, as well as on the numerous studies conducted over the last two decades—studies that are referred to in this report and in which some of the members participated. However, the panel wishes to acknowledge the diverse and substantial inputs provided by the following individuals, many of whose observations, analyses, and recommendations have been incorporated into this report: Larry Baume of NARA, Thomas Boden of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Dean Bundy of the Naval Research Laboratory, Donald Collins of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Richard Davis of the National Climatic Data Center, P. C. Hariharan of Johns Hopkins University, Trudy Peterson of NARA, Gerald Stokes of Pacific Northwest Laboratories, Kenneth Thibodeau of NARA, and Helen Wood of NOAA. The panel also wishes to thank the National Center for Atmospheric Research for hosting its second and final meeting in October 1993. Finally, the panel is especially grateful to Mark Handel of the National Research Council's Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate staff for his extensive and substantive contributions to this report.
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